An Australian Foreign Correspondent

One of the unexpected results of my Roadshow has been the significant amount of empathy I’ve received. I guess this isn’t too suprising given that Canada’s unemployment rate is 8.5%. (And that 8.5% doesn’t include folks who are under-employed or funemployed.) But the empathy isn’t just from my fellow unemployed. It’s also from people that want to pursue their dream job but, like me, don’t know what that is. Many have, however, expressed that the Roadshow has inspired them in their search. (Which admittedly, gives me the warm fuzzies.)

So I’ve decided it is time to expand. To start, I’ve invited a couple foreign correspondents to come onboard. At the moment, I’ve got people stationed in Australia and the U.K. They’re going to make the occasional guest appearance telling their own tales of job shadowing, as well as their own twist on how they plan to seek out their dream job.

If you too want to be a foreign (or not so foreign—some Canadian placements would be great) correspondent, let me know. Be you employed, under-employed, or unemployed, the Roadshow would love to hear your story. Shoot me an email at helen@unemploymentroadshow.com.

My Mentor: Andrew Petrozzi
My Mentor’s Details: Staff Reporter, Business in Vancouver; Editor, Employment Paper

I imagined a lot of smoke and whiskey. And way more yelling. I obviously watch too many movies, because before experiencing it first hand, my fantasy of a news pit was a chaotic room with people dressed in black suits and skinny ties wielding long cigarettes and highballs. I was way off. Because it’s 2009 not 1952. While most of my mental picture was entirely unrealistic, I did expect the environment to be bustling. And in this, I was spot on. Business in Vancouver‘s news pit was busy and abuzz with the energy and ideas of its staff.

Reporter is a profession that has been romanticized countless times in novels, film, and television. (I’m a perfect example of someone who’s been taken in by this.) But it reappears in our entertainment media for good reason. The news is exciting, compelling, and essential to society. And reporters work really hard to make sure this is true. They dig, explore, prod, poke, research, and investigate to discover the latest, most relevant, and most interesting stories to communicate to the greater public. They certainly don’t make the news. But they work hard to find it.

Not a dull boy
I’ll confess another misconception: I thought business news might be a bit dull, or at least duller than other news. Because when reading the newspaper, the finance section is my last stop. I skim over it quickly, and if in a rush, I sometimes don’t even bother clicking on it. But my short tenure at Business in Vancouver showed me how wrong I was. Because business news IS interesting. It’s not just numbers and investments. It’s also about people and relationships and risks and adventures. This may seem like a naive realization, but my focus tends to be on food, politics, and the arts, and sometimes a busy schedule necessitates I’m selective in what I read. I know I’m not alone in this. But after job shadowing a business reporter, my news consumption habits have changed.

My mentor for the day was Andrew Petrozzi. Andrew’s a staff reporter for Business in Vancouver, and editor of the Employment Paper. He’s worked at BIV for more than four and a half years. And what he loves about his job? No day is ever the same. Each day holds something new: an exclusive interview to chase, a story to break, a shady business venture to expose.

Much like my day as a line cook, an extra set of hands on a newspaper do not go to waste. As a deadline driven industry, there is a ton to do. I was asked to write the “People on the Move” section, which highlights recent hires, fires, and retirements in Vancouver. It’s not a complicated section. But most of the information is buried in emails and has to be extracted and rewritten and then double checked. Writing it took most of the day. It was straight forward work. And by no means hard-hitting journalism. But it proved to be a great resource for the Roadshow. Because part of my motivation for doing this is to learn about what kind of jobs are out there. And the “People on the Move” section is essentially a big list of jobs and it comes out every week. It’s a good tool for the Roadshow, but it’s also great for people looking for new work. Because it lists what jobs have recently become available, and in turn, which companies might be hiring. In fact, the entire paper is helpful for job seekers. It features industry trends, mergers, new directions, and endeavors that companies are taking on. It gives job seekers an inside scoop about potential employees and companies that isn’t found in an online job posting.

Writing my small section wasn’t exactly breaking a story that would expose a corrupt industry or take down any world leaders, but I did get to contribute to the action. And while I didn’t play out my personal Investigative Reporter fantasty–which would have involved butting out a smoke (even though I don’t) while I swirled a glass of whiskey, and signed my name to a Pulitzer prize winning headline–I did get a glimpse of the excitement and charge that buzzes through the office of a newspaper.