Media, Darling: Adina Goldman

Adina Goldman is
senior editor at iVillage Canada,
the web’s oldest and largest content-driven community for women. Most of her
career has involved writing, editing and producing digital content for various
media properties, from television (CHUM/CTV) to public radio (CBC Toronto). She
is passionate about the intersection of technology and storytelling. As someone
who’s kept a blog for 12 years and obsessively updates her social media feeds,
she finds it weirdly difficult to write her own bio. But perhaps that’s because
she’s writing it in the third person…

Photo credit: Rannie Turingan

Twitter: @ponyup @iVillageCanada 

Did you always want
to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?

I went to school for
creative writing, but oddly they were not snatching up poets at recruitment
agencies. Like so many kids with English degrees, I did some freelance and
copywriting, and even played with the idea of advertising. But I was really
lucky with timing, because this thing called The Internet happened. And there
was suddenly a niche of web content where they kind of let you do your own
thing, as long as you put it on the “Web Page”. I hope it’s not a passing fad.

Where would you like
to be five years from now?

I want to be working
wherever people are playful with new technology platforms and using them to
tell great stories.

Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
This is the best time
in history to share your creations. Make stuff yourself, get your voice out
there and build your community! If you’re reasonably sure you’re in the right
field, imagine the future of your industry five years from now, and point your
efforts in that direction.

What are your
favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I think much of what
we consume these days is via social media. We rely on our friends to recommend
parse the daily deluge of information. That said, we are CBC radio
junkies at our house, but I listen to a lot of NPR podcasts when I’m cooking or
on the go. I love all the city blogs, like Torontoist
and The Toronto Standard
for their creative local coverage. For writer-y stuff, I love The Rumpus, The New Yorker and The Walrus.
My sister co-founded, a great and
popular alternative source for Middle East news.

Style: I am a sucker
for The
(although there are so many amazing Canadian
fashion bloggers
). Music: Huffpo
does a snacky mix of popular culture and current events. is my favourite recipe resource
these days. Also, I read People
religiously. Channing Tatum FTW.

Best interview you’ve
ever had?
I used to be web
producer for SPACE, so I had
the opportunity to meet and interview people who are a Big Deal in the genre
universe but often go unnoticed in the mainstream. They were the coolest
interview subjects hands-down because they had such a great sense of humour and
humility about their celebrity.

Isn’t there only such
thing as a bad journalist? Maybe I need to do more interviews.

Best advice you’ve
ever been given?
Use fewer adjectives
and avoid restaurants where they have pictures of their food on the menu.

What rule(s) do you
live your life by?
Don’t believe
everything you read in the comments section.

What’s the most
important tip you can give PR pros?
If you want me to
take a product seriously, avoid writing about it in pink comic sans font. Send
attachments rather than embedded images in the email body. And maybe try to
look a little dishevelled every now and then when you see me so that I don’t
feel like such a schlump.

Best experience
you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins. 

I have so much
respect for the PR pros in my life. How are you always so nice and remember my
name? How do you always look so polished? How do you not suffer from post-event
social fatigue? I can’t pick a favourite, only to say that the best experiences
always have a good measure of authenticity and genuine enthusiasm for the

I hate?
Misused apostrophes.

I love?
People who sing when
they ride their bikes.

I recently finished Wild
by Cheryl Strayed.
Oprah and I have excellent taste, it is a stunning read. Caitlin Moran’s How
to Be a Woman
was hilarious and edifying. Read it now if you’ve ever hemmed
and hawed when asked whether you’re a feminist.

Best place on earth?
Cooking dinner with
my family, listening to music, my five year-old singing along at the top of his

Dinner guest?
Oh, I love to host
dinner parties. Would you like to come?

Funny you should
mention this. I am in the market for a new hero. Accepting applications
via my twitter feed @ponyup.

Favourite app (or
whatever you are downloading these days)?
I recently used the Couch to 5K app (C25K) app for
nine weeks and it turned me into a (slow but dedicated) runner. If you know me
at all, you will appreciate the mystical power of this app.

Pool or ocean?
Am I holding a cocktail
in this scenario?

Voicemail or email?
I check my phone
messages once a week. How patient are you?


Media, Darling: Michael Bancroft

Michael Bancroft is the accomplished producer driving the production of the most watched app program of its kind in Canada – APP CENTRAL. He is also a producer for Canada’s national specialty channel the Business News Network (BNN). 

Michael began his broadcast career at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Brisbane. He has lived and worked in Tokyo, Sydney, London (UK), Los Angeles and now Toronto. He’s experienced all sides of a production as a writer, producer, presenter and anchor, having covered everything from red carpets in Los Angles to the jungles of Rwanda. Michael has worked with commercial and cable broadcasting networks including CBS, CNBC, KVMD, Channel 10 and the Seven Network. He holds a Bachelor of Communications from Griffith University, a post-graduate degree in Journalism from UCLA, and an MBA in Finance from Queensland University of Technology.

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to work in television. But I did work in politics as a press secretary, as an English teacher in Japan and bartender in London. Let’s say I’m not much of a planner, I’ll have a go at anything!

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Anchor for CNN in New York.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
No job is beneath you, pushing the envelope isn’t a bad thing and ambition is healthy but just make sure you’ve paid your dues.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
CNN for television news, CBS & ABC for programming and online I use the Wall Street Journal & New York Times apps.

Best interview/guest you’ve ever had? 
Morgan Freeman would have to have been my best interview, for sure, as he was extremely funny and a little inappropriate, which was entertaining and unexpected.

Richard Dreyfuss was a difficult interview as he is very spirited with his opinions.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Work as if you already have the job you want.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
You can accomplish everything you set your mind to.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t send mass press releases, know your audience and tailor your pitches to each specific media outlet.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I have one great PR person who only ever contacts me with a story idea that they’ve mapped out fully with both sides, including visuals and suggested talent. They never push an agenda and understand about balance and the importance of the viewer/audience.

I hate?
People who are incapable of perspective.

I love?
The beach.

The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen by Thomas Caplan.

Best place on earth?
Delray Beach, Florida.

Dinner guest?
Bill Clinton.

Elizabeth Dearborn Davis, co-founder & CEO of Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali who I met when I was in Rwanda. She wanted to build and create an institute for women to give them the skills and ability to work and start their own ventures.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Twitter, because I can get all my favorite streams in one place from people and publications I follow.

Pool or ocean?

Voicemail or email?

Rave: Best New Shows for Fall 2011

Whether it’s hilarious Twitter memes, a good book or an exciting new film, we love to be entertained on the fourth floor. And with August on its way out and cooler weather on its way in, we’re looking for silver linings to this change in seasons (other than fall fashion, we love that). What better silver lining could there be than the onslaught of new television shows? Here’s a breakdown of some of the hot new programming we’re looking forward to this fall.

Is anyone else excited about Pan Am? Because we are. Pan Am looks like it’s going to be full of sassy charm set against a mod ‘60’s backdrop. Starring Christina Ricci and Kelli Garner, the show profiles the exciting lives of stewardesses working for the iconic airline during its heyday. The cute royal blue uniforms and plot lines full of jet-setting travel and torrid relationships with handsome pilots have us thrilled for this show’s potential. We think it’s going to be a hit.

Pan Am premieres Sunday, September 25 at 10 p.m. on CTV.

On the other side of the sophistication spectrum lies 2 Broke Girls, a raunchy, odd couple comedy from the producers of Sex and the City. The show explores the lives of two girls trying to make it as waitresses in big, bad Manhattan. Max (Kat Dennings) has been a waitress her entire adult life and Caroline (Beth Behrs) is a former socialite whose billionaire father has just disgraced the family and lost all their money. The trailer had us laughing out loud, so despite some of the naysayers out there, we think this one will be a fun spot of entertainment on a Monday night.

2 Broke Girls premieres Monday, September 19 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS (directly following the highly anticipated season premiere of Two and a Half Men, sans Charlie).

Once Upon a Time stars the gorgeous Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Joshua Dallas and Irish hottie Jamie Dornan. The show crosses between current times and a parallel fairy tale world, so we’re expecting lots of pretty costumes and intricate set designs, allowing us to vicariously live out our childhood Disney princess dreams. The fourth floor is high enough to be a castle tower, right?

Once Upon a Time premieres Sunday, October 23 at 7 p.m. on CTV and 8 p.m. on ABC.

A mysterious woman (Canada’s own Emily Van Camp) comes to town to seek revenge and settle scores with the people who destroyed her family years earlier. Based on Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, this modernized version is set in the Hamptons. Bring on the bling amongst the revenge plots.

We’re excited for 1) the drama, 2) the beautiful people (Van Camp, Madeleine Stowe, Ashley Madekwe, Joshua Bowman), 3) the gorgeous setting, and 4) did we mention the drama?

Revenge premieres on Wednesday, September 21 at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Being publicity goddesses, we obviously love what we do and are thrilled to see the exciting world of PR highlighted in Free Agents, an American remake of a British series. While the Brits’ version was based at a talent agency, the American version is focused on two executives at a PR agency.  

The show stars Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn as coworkers, on the rebound from a divorce and a dead fiancée respectively, have a one night stand (naughty, naughty!) and try to navigate their professional and personal lives in the aftermath. We’re hopeful Free Agents gets the PR world right and that it entertains us as much as this business does.

Free Agents premieres Wednesday, September 14 at 10:30 p.m. on NBC (before moving September 21 to its regular time slot of 8:30 p.m.).

P.S. We love that there are multiple new shows premiering this fall about PR. Look for Scandal as well, about a former government media relations consultant running a crisis management agency for Washington’s elite and powerful.

Reuniting The O.C. series creator Josh Schwartz and everyone’s favourite O.C. starlet Rachel Bilson, Hart of Dixie stars Bilson as a young doctor forced to take a job in remote Alabama when there are no placements available in New York City. The show also stars Jaime King, Scott Porter, Cress Williams and Wilson Bethel as residents of Bluebell.

Hart of Dixie premieres Monday, September 26 at 9 p.m. on The CW. Yeah, we watch shows on The CW. Don’t pretend you don’t. 

The Right Hand
You’ve gotta check this one out, if simply for the curiosity factor. If you’ve ever wanted a first-hand look inside an
adult film company, here comes your chance with The Right Hand. This new reality series (co-created and directed by Matt Austin-Sadowski, one of our team on the Fourth Floor) is focused on Immoral Productions, its president Porno Dan (Dan Leal), and a fresh-out-of-college production assistant from small town Ontario. Described as “a train wreck in the middle of a circus” we can’t wait to watch. It’s gonna be fun, eye-opening and like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

The Right Hand premieres Friday, October 7 at 11:30 p.m. on TMN.

Looks like we have some TV to watch this fall. You’ll find us in front of the small screen in between parties and dinners come the end of September.

Media, Darling: Richard Crouse

Richard Crouse is the regular film critic for CTV’s Canada AM and its 24-hour news source News Channel. His Bravo show, In Short, runs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. Crouse was the host of Reel to Real, Canada’s longest running television show about movies, from 1998 to 2008, and he is a frequent guest on many national Canadian radio and television shows. 
His syndicated Saturday afternoon radio show, Entertainment Extra, originates on NewsTalk 1010 in Toronto. He is also the author of six books on pop culture history including the best-selling The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, its sequel The Son of the 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen and the upcoming Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of The Devils. Crouse also writes two weekly columns for Metro News and is the pop culture reporter for The Morton Report
Photo by James Heaslip.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I didn’t have aspirations to be on television or radio, but I did want to be a writer. The idea of sitting in an empty room with just a typewriter and my imagination was very appealing to me. Ironically, I ended up doing pretty much exactly the opposite of that. The radio and television jobs I took were originally meant as a way to get my name around so I could get published, then it all kind of morphed into one large amorphous pan-career that combines several very public jobs—the TV and radio gigs—with the more solitary writing jobs.  

Where would you like to be five years from now?

Five years from now I’d still like to be able to spend time alone with a typewriter and my imagination, but I’m afraid I’ve gotten used to the outside world, so I’d also hope to be seeing five or six movies a week and reporting on them for radio and TV.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Be patient. The world of media is changing at the speed of light and while it is easy to think that your career should be moving at the same pace, establishing yourself in media takes time. Be patient and be persistent. It’s been my experience that the people who were able to remain standing the longest are the people who were able to create interesting, fulfilling careers. 
Once you have established yourself, the best advice I suggest is following the ATM theory… Always Take the Money. If someone offers you a gig that doesn’t involve nudity, clowns or children, take it.
What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
I’m a bit of a media junkie. Even though I have an iPad glued to my side at all times, a well-used and well-loved laptop for when the going gets rough, and a home computer you could launch a spaceship with, I prefer reading newspapers to getting my info online. We get newspapers delivered everyday, and on the weekends the pile of papers in front of the door threatens to barricade us inside.

Having said that, I’m a bit of a social media junkie, with an out-of-control Twitter habit and I check several websites everyday. For industry news, I look to and for the best, but crankiest movie commentary on the net I go to www.hollywood-elsewhere and Jeffrey Welles. I can only imagine he’s a very unhappy man, but his acerbic style is addictive. 

Best interview you’ve ever had?
I did a show called Reel to Real for 10 years and when it was said and done it was estimated that I did about 4,000 interviews with actors, directors and writers. I was thrilled to spend an hour chatting with special effects legend Ray Harryhausen, chuffed to joke around with Woody Allen, and I can tell you definitively that Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé are the two most beautiful women I have ever touched professionally. There are so many memories. 

Francis Ford Coppola told me, in a way that moved me very much, about his love of cinema. In a Barbara Walters moment I once made Mark Ruffalo cry on stage during a Q&A and one time, Harrison Ford took my dare and called me “Canada’s most beloved and intelligent film critic” before an audience of 500 people. He pronounced it bee-love-ed. I loved that.

Worst interview you’ve ever had?

One of the most uncomfortable interviews happened not because of the subject, but because of the crew. I was in New York to interview John Malkovich for a film he had directed. As usual I was dressed in a suit, complete with a tie and silver tie pin. It was about 40 degrees Celsius in the city that day and even hotter in the hotel room we shot the interview in. I hadn’t met Malkovich before, but I knew he designed his own clothes and lived in France. Sure enough, I walk into the suite and he is dressed to the nines, reading a French newspaper. We do the interview and it goes well. As I’m getting out of my chair, Malkovich says, “Stop. I want everyone to have a look a you.” I have no idea what is about to happen. Neither do the camera, makeup or sound people. They all stare at me. “This,” he continues, “is a man who came dressed for work today. This is a man who wants to be taken seriously. This is a man who commands our respect.” It was hot in that room already, but I’m guessing I was at least 10 degrees hotter under my collar than anyone in the room when I noticed that the people he was talking to were all wearing weather-appropriate T-shirts and shorts. I backed out of the room, afraid the dressed down (both literally and figuratively) crew might go crazy from the heat and take out their frustration with Malkovich on me. Based on the red-faced looks the crew were shooting my way I was convinced my tapes would be sabotaged and blank when I got back to Toronto. Luckily they weren’t.

The worst interview ever was one I did with a very famous Italian director during TIFF a few years ago. He was arrogant, disinterested and my 35th interview of the day. I asked one question, let him ramble on and while he was talking, read my notes for the NEXT interview. Every now and again I’d nod or say, “yes, yes…” to give him the idea I was paying attention, but he was so self-involved he didn’t even notice I had already moved on to the next subject. 

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Never wrestle with pigs. You’ll both get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” Or, “never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.”

They’re both movie quotes, but they both speak to me in different ways. 

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. My word is all I have. Well, that and a fabulous head of hair.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know your press. I cover movies and the film industry so don’t clog up my inbox with pitches for publicity for sports teams, best beauty tips to take your look from day to night in under five minutes or dog and pony shows. Not interested. This business thrives on personal relationships so let’s all get along and treat one another with respect.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve had many wins with PR people. My job relies on a good back and forth with a core group of publicists and over the years I’ve built up good relationships with many of them.

I hate… Boredom.

I love… In no particular order: the sound of Ray Charles’s voice, the moment I realize I’m watching a great movie, the word “jackass”, the way my girlfriend still gets excited about going out for dinner, the cover of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, jukeboxes and a perfectly poured Guinness. 

Reading? Just Kids by Patti Smith. A must-read for anyone who loves good, heartfelt writing.
Best place on earth? The cocktail bar at Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard with Manny making giant bourbon Manhattans for me and my friends. 

Dinner guest? Anyone who appreciates my usual recipe for cheese puffs.

Hero? Anyone who has figured it out.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)? Sit or Squat. It has the uncanny ability to find the cleanest and closest bathroom to you no matter where on earth you are. And it’s free!

Pool or ocean? Pool, but only if it’s filled with champagne.

Voicemail or email? Voicemail for when I want to speak to you, e-mail for when I don’t. 

Media, Darling: Chris Perez

Chris Perez has been working in television for over a decade – and for the last five years as a producer for CTV and Canada’s top rated entertainment magazine show, etalk. Chris is usually found immersed in hours of tape, interviewing famous types or on the phone pushing publicists for “exclusive access.” He covers a wide range of beats, but his current focus is on special projects, the most recent being a backstage prime time special featuring Lady Gaga. 

Twitter: @lespanman , @eTalkCTV

What was your favourite class in high school? Why?
Grade 12 English. This is probably thanks to a certain Dead Poets Society/“Professor Keating” type named Mr. Geddes who gave me my first flash of passion for the arts and social science. From there on life outside a lab didn’t sound so bad.

How did you get your start as a producer?
I began my career as a hobby. An occasional co-op placement at a local community television station turned into a part-time volunteer ‘gig’, which evolved into actual paid work, which grew into an unexpected full-time job. I know people say it’s good to have a separate job and hobby. I say life is pretty awesome when you’d do your job for free! Just don’t tell my boss that.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?
Probably pursuing my side interest in Human-Computer Interaction and Sociology.

Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Emails give me time to think of ideas and speak to the ‘right people’ about making a story happen, so I prefer them for the initial pitch. Follow-up emails are good too, but once in a while it’s nice to put a voice to a name.

We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
It’s easy to dismiss a pitch because it’s too dense, doesn’t get to the point quickly or is too broad and doesn’t target me.  

An ideal publicist is direct, considers my audience and respects my objectives. Also, publicists who act as ‘middle-men’ and aren’t empowered on behalf of their clients are hard to work with. I prefer to deal with publicists who are organized, effective and are tightly connected with their clients so they can speak on their behalf.

Sunrise or sunset?
Mid day. 🙂


Yes, please.

Leaf? Mint. It’s gum, it’s tea, it’s anything you want it to be.


Shower or bath?

Lost In Translation.

My fiancée, followed by Alicia Keys.

First job?
A half day of telemarketing when I was 16. The room was smoky and filled with cranky 40-year old men. I took an executive lunch and didn’t go back.

The idea of learning something new and experiencing something new as often as possible.

Media, Darling: Sasha Tong

After working at MTV in the U.K., Sasha Tong moved to Toronto where she quickly landed a job at eTalk.  She’s been with the show for more than five years and heads up the fashion beat. Tong has been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including everyone from Oscar and Juno nominees to talent at the Toronto International Film Festival; she’s been afforded some pretty crazy opportunities. Tong also now writes a weekly fashion and personal advice column on

Twitter: @eTalkCTV

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
The most important way to grab my attention is with a pitch that’s quick and concise. If I have to read through a novel to get to the point, then I’ve already moved on. I know what will work and what won’t work for the show, so you typically don’t have to convince me. It’s really important though, that you know what eTalk features on a regular basis, so something like “how to wax your bikini line” just isn’t something I can feature on the show. Oh, and if you get my name right on the email, then that’s a bonus.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I always appreciate it when I’m dealing with a PR company that can get me everything I need on a tight turnaround. If you’re pitching me and I like it, I usually have to move quickly, so the more organized and resourceful you are, the more I love you for it. Because time is such an issue, I also find it useful when I can just shoot the shit with the publicist and be straight up. If I pass on a pitch I don’t want to feel like I’ve hurt your feelings.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?

Hands down: when I’m stalked. I love a good follow-up email but if you start leaving messages on my work phone and my cell phone, that’s a quick buzz kill. 

My pet peeve
Please, oh please, put the email all in one font. When I get an email and everything is different sizes, I know you’ve just cut and pasted and pressed send. I don’t need to feel special, but paying attention to a small detail like that goes a long way.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the publicists I work with are amazing. You guys are talented, innovative and creative. So keep up the good work.