Saturday, September 10, 2005

Running Back To Saskatoon

SASKATOON – Hello from the Paris of the Prairies! Sue, Natasha and I rolled in Saskatoon yesterday from Edmonton early in the evening. It was a day of good driving, except for the jerk in the eighteen-wheeler who played chicken with me around North Battleford. He did it with a bunch of other vehicles, too. Maybe it was just his way of staying awake.

The country is beautiful, though too green for this time of year. Too much rain through the growing season. There are people out in their combines, dotting the fields. Used to get a lot of mail from farmers who listened to CBC while they were out there. Wonder what they are listening to now?

We stay overnight with Kathy Fitzpatrick, a radio reporter here in Saskatoon. Amazingly, we each have a room and so we know we’ll be in for a good sleep. Kathy makes us tea and we sit around her kitchen table trading stories about our time in private radio and TV and, in her case, print. And a few CBC stories get in there, too. Then we talk about the elephant in the room: The to get through it, contingency plans, what we’d be doing now if we were back at work. I spy a book about hypertension and wonder if she, like me, has had to deal with high blood pressure (great time to have high blood pressure, eh?). Yes she does and we’re launched into a talk about how to deal with it as though we have known each other for a hundred years.

I’m writing this on a computer that belongs to Amy-Jo Ehman. Amy-Jo is a freelancer I’ve worked with over the years. We’ve just come back to her house to send off a podcast of a discussion we had with other CBC Saskatoon colleagues at a local coffee shop called City Perk.

Around the table with me were Mathieu Rompré from French radio, English radio reporters Rosalie Woloski, Garth Materie, Kathy Fitzpatrick and, hired on a contract just two months before the lockout, Crystal Palmer. Amy Jo is there, too. And watching our round table were the transmitter engineer Lubos Kuzma who just moved to Saskatoon three months ago from Calgary for this job, the French TV reporter Julien Thibeault, Jennifer Bork, transmitter administrator and TV investigative reporter Dan Zakreski.

The round table talk is about the stories that they would be covering right now if...from murder trials to why farmers keep farming in spite of the fact that for the third year in a row, they’ll be in the red. One reporter was poised to cover a native governance story, joking that it is a rite of passage for a reporter in Saskatoon.

The stories here are complex. They reflect this place and its people. Anyone who watches or hears them has a better understanding of their community or their country.

They probably won’t be done anywhere else but the CBC.

More’s the pity.

- Shelagh

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Anonymous Neil Sandell said...

Hi Shelagh,

It's so important, especially at this stage in this lockout, to be giving support to our fellow members. I know my mood lightens when I arrive on picket line. It's the comraderie, the creativity, and resolve I see and hear as I walk.

Your caravan is of tremendous value. It raises spirits, and keeps the lockout in the spotlight.

So...keep up the good work. Best wishes to Sue and Natasha too.

Neil Sandell

3:44 PM  
Anonymous jenkew said...

Oh how I miss these guys.

I was lucky enough to spend two years as a casual/contract/temp reporter in Saskatoon. The faces you see in these pictures are some of the brightest, most wonderful broadcasters in the business.

I miss them.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss them too, goddamnit.

Thanks shelagh for bringing us some familiar faces.

Keep up the good work.

Steve Rukavina,

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Brian M. Carroll said...

Thanks for letting us know more of the stories that aren't being covered because there's a lockout.

The lost story of what's happening on the Canadian farm is particularly poignant. From what I read, we are experiencing the peak of cheap oil production this decade. What will a decline in cheap oil, and an increase in prices and increased price volatility for oil, fuel, and fertilizer mean to the Canadian farm?

Yes, there's a story worth understanding. But will we ever hear it?

10:22 AM  

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