Media, Darling: Jen Wilson

Jennifer Wilson is the technology and video games editor
at the Toronto Star. When she doesn’t have her nose in her iPhone, she can be
found hitting the sidewalks for a run, shoe shopping or settling in for a good
brunch with friends.





Twitter: @jenwilsonto @torontostar
Website: thestar.com 

Did you
always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
Two left feet meant that my little girl dream of
becoming a ballerina was out of the question – but I wanted to be a writer from
about the age of seven. Working for a newspaper was my first (and only!) real
career dream.
        
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Hopefully no longer working the weekend
shift! But seriously, hopefully I’ll be in a position where I still get to
inform and entertain readers – and both write and edit.
Any advice for people
getting started in your industry?
Be flexible. When I started out, I thought the only
journalism that was interesting was coming from Parliament Hill. But I also had
student loans, so when I got the chance to edit real estate and home décor, I
took it. And I don’t regret it one bit. While it wasn’t my dream job, I learned
to love it, and it gave me the experience I needed to write and edit content a
little closer to my heart. Plus, I’m now a pro at spotting Ikea furniture with
potential — and think I’ve got a pretty sweet Scandinavian inspired condo as a
result.
What
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
New York Times, the BBC, the CBC and the Globe and Mail. I also rely on 680 News for breaking alerts and content shared
by friends on Facebook, Twitter and even by good old fashioned email.
Best
interview you’ve ever had?
The most surprising was when I interviewed Vanilla Ice about his home renovation TV show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I
hadn’t anticipated him having stitches from an ice dancing TV show! He was so
genuine and down to earth in person – the time just flew by.
Worst?
I was sick and hadn’t prepared as much
as I would have liked for a company profile, and the person I was interviewing
was rather nervous. There weren’t many usable quotes from the conversation, and
I had to follow up by email.
Best advice you’ve ever
been given?
  You can
do anything if you put your mind to it. And, it’s only hair – it will grow back.
What rule(s) do you live
your life by?
Say yes. What’s the worst thing that
could happen?
What’s the most important
tip you can give PR pros?
Don’t send me an email with a billion
attachments. Inbox storage is always maxed out – especially around the holidays
– and big files are the first to go when I need to unlock my messages to
send/receive more pressing emails.
Best experience you’ve had
with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
It’s hard to name just one! But there’s
nothing that makes life easier than when you require a very specific source for
a story and the PR pro already anticipated it and made them available.
I
hate?
Accepting that I have limits and am unable to do
something.
I love?
High heels, hockey, long runs and good food. And, of
course, my family and friends.
Reading?
Constantly! In addition to the latest news, I love
picking up magazines and the latest buzz-worthy novels, as well as works of
non-fiction.
Best place on earth?
My parent’s house on Christmas Eve, when
it’s filled with family, friends and all my favourite food.
Dinner
guest?
That’s a tough one. Having just been the holidays, I’m going to go the sappy route and say my best friends and family over a
massive meal, with a good selection of desserts.
Hero?
I’ve been lucky to have many strong women who have
inspired me, including my mother and my grandmothers. On a broader scale, I’ve always admired Amelia Earhart’s adventurous streak – I feel like she was the
kind of woman who would, perhaps somewhat stubbornly, tackle any challenge
head-on.
Favourite app (or whatever
you are downloading these days)?
I’m still giddy over getting Google Maps
back on my iPhone. I have a terrible sense of direction and was, quite
literally, lost without it.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean, hands down. I’m a Nova Scotia
girl, and nothing compares to the salt air, the waves and the surf.
Voicemail
or email?
Always email. I always have my
smartphone in hand and am always on top of my inboxes. I’m way more likely to
reply to an email than pick up a phone call at any given moment.

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Meet Our Team: Natalie

Natalie is our newest addition on the fourth floor, and we couldn’t be happier to have found her. She graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2007, with an honours degree in Media, Information & Technoculture, a minor in Comparative Literature and a Certificate in Writing.

She got her first kick at PR when she landed an internship with the Canadian Opera Company. She worked at Alliance Films for nearly three years, and from there, landed a contract doing unit publicity with Battle of the Blades, where she got to hang with Ekaterina Gordeeva, making her childhood dreams come true. A serious pedigree to have on our team – welcome, Natalie!


Follow her on Twitter: @badalie



How long have you been part of the team? 
About two months.


What is your guilty pleasure?
Sleeping in. I don’t do this very often, but I relish the days when I can lay in bed (guilt free) well into the afternoon.

What do you love most about living in Toronto? 
Biking! I love living in a city with such a thriving bike culture. I’m way too much of a wimp to bike in the winter, but as soon as the city thaws, Rupert (my trusty steed) and I are inseparable. Toronto becomes a lot smaller and easier to discover when you can map out your own route. 

Best gift you’ve ever received? 
Last year for my birthday, my boyfriend gave me a custom-made Lara Vincent headpiece. Made of black & cream suede flowers, it is absolutely stunning. It’s the first thing I’d grab from my apartment in a fire (other than my boyfriend).

Best part about being a publicist?
No two days are ever the same. 

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: www.apartment803.com
Designer: Samantha Pleet, Proenza Schouler, Calla Haynes, Rodarte, Lover, Vanessa Bruno… I’ll just stop now.
Store:  Robber, Rac Boutique, LAB, Jonathan + Olivia.
Book: The Harry Potter series.
Snack: Apples or dark chocolate.
Season: Fall for the clothes, summer for the fun.
Sexy: Boys with beards.
Inspiration: Sally Singer.
Drink: Coconut Bongo tea
Motto in two words: Namaste (keep that extra word and buy yourself something pretty).


To note: one of Nat’s favourite things to do is to have friends over to try out new recipes, ingredients and cuisines. Her current favourite cookbooks are The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser and Momofuku by David Chang. She points out “I’ll be testing out his pork bun recipe soon, if anyone wants to come over!”

Rant: Cellphone etiquette

Attention BlackBerry addicts, iPhone fans and Palm Pre enthusiasts: this rant is for you.


Nearly everyone has a smartphone, giving you unlimited access to email, Twitter, Facebook, websites and apps. All. The. Time. As handy as these amazing pieces of technology are, sometimes you need to give your thumbs a rest. There’s a time and a place for everything, so give it a break and listen to our tips:

Dinner – Dinner with someone special (friends, lovers, parents) should include great food, delicious drinks and stimulating conversation. It should not include cell phones. Texting or emailing during dinner is rude. Remember your manners, and engage with the person sitting across the table. It shouldn’t be that hard. Consider the dinner table a phone-free zone.

Are their phones more fun than each other? Image source.

Sidewalk – Sidewalks are meant for walking. So long as you are walking, we aren’t complaining. Stop walking, and you’ll likely hear from us (remember this post?). We have people to see and things to do; we don’t let texters stand in our way. Please do not stop to answer 20 emails in the middle of the sidewalk. Your fellow pedestrians will thank you.

Streetcar – The streetcar is not the place to make your private life public. Your BFF may have gone wedding crazy, and your bridesmaid dress may be a hideous chartreuse that doesn’t work with your (or anyone’s) skin tone, but this does not mean you need to share the news with half the city over the phone. Public transportation is just that – public. Save your private life for private conversations. Transit is a GREAT time to check that email or text away. Provided that you are alone. If you’re riding with a friend, try to give them a little more than a distracted “um…yeah…sounds…..great”.

Movies – While you may not care to last a full hour and a half without BBM’ing, there are others who paid $14 to actually watch the film. Your phone not only lights up the dark theatre, but the clicking of your buttons is also a distraction. The person beside you is much more interested in Jake Gyllenhaal’s naked chest than your love affair of the month. Put your phone away until the credits roll! 




Bed – If you’re married, or living with somebody, enjoy the quiet time in bed together. Love each other, snuggle, TALK and put away the computers/phones/handhelds. Trust us, the rewards are far greater than sending one last tweet.

There is nothing worse than meeting friends, to just stand there, glancing awkwardly around while they “just check one quick email”. Tapping away on your phone shows that whoever you’re talking to on that little piece of plastic is more important than the person who is sitting right beside you. Shouldn’t face time be a little more sacred? (We don’t mean iPhone’s Face Time, either). 

Thoughts on the subject? BBM us (kidding).Tweet us @rockitpromo.