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 
Website: iVillage.ca, www.happyrobot.net 

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 972Mag.com, a great and
popular alternative source for Middle East news.

Style: I am a sucker
for The Sartorialist.com
(although there are so many amazing Canadian
fashion bloggers
). Music: 3Hive.com. Huffpo
does a snacky mix of popular culture and current events. Food52.com is my favourite recipe resource
these days. Also, I read People
Magazine
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.

Worst?
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
client.

I hate?
Misused apostrophes.

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

Reading?
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
lungs.

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

Hero?
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?


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Media, Darling: Pay Chen

Pay Chen is a TV host, writer and producer
who got her on-air start at OMNI-TV in Toronto, sharing short infotainment
segments in prime time and late night. Her favourite pick-up line during those
years was, “You’re the last woman I see before I fall asleep.” 
She’s also the former host of Breakfast
Television Winnipeg
on Citytv, and hosted programs for G4TechTV, The Biography
Channel and is seen nationally on the popular preschool series,
4 Square (it was a show before being known as a place
you can check-in).

Pay is currently The Bachelor Canada
Insider for iVillage.ca and The Bachelor Canada, where she’ll dish the dirt on
what’s really happening on the show, set to hit your screens this fall on
Citytv.

She has written for children’s television
shows and is currently writing for an animated series. Her passion for all
things local and edible have lead to regular food columns for the Toronto Standard, Metro newspapers and contributions to iVillage.ca.

Pay used to be very skilled at the ukulele.
Website: www.PayChen.com
Twitter: @PayChen

Did you always want to be in the media? If
not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
I had always wanted to be a teacher and
then became really interested in working in children’s television. After a few
years of doing educational TV and programs, I decided to go back to school to
get my teaching certificate. I was accepted into a post-grad program in
Australia and was making plans to move when, on a whim, I applied for the host
position at OMNI. I spent seven years at OMNI and never made it to Australia.
Where would you like to be five years from
now?
I’d like to be Tom Cruise’s fourth ex-wife. Or you know, happy. Loving what I do and
still feeling challenged by it.
Any advice for people getting started in
your industry?
A lot of people ask me how to get a job
on-camera. That’s a tough one. You don’t necessarily need certain skills.
Sometimes people are hired because they have the right look. I worked in
production and was writing before I was hosting. It gave me a true
understanding and appreciation for the process of making television. Also, when
you know how to produce segments and direct shoots, it’s harder for people to
bullshit you later as a host. To do well, you need to understand what others do.
My first job was as a production co-ordinator. I did the running around,
photocopying and tedious schedules. I have a lot of respect for good
co-ordinators and production assistants. They hold the show together.

Also, be willing to learn what other people do.
You won’t build that show yourself.
What are your favourite media outlets, not
including your own?
 
I leave those 24-hour news channels on all
day. They repeat the stories every 15 minutes so after the third time seeing
the same story I always think, “I knew that.” And I feel really smart. 

I also have a fondness for the CBC because it
had such a strong influence on my childhood. My brother and I learned to speak
English by watching TV. CBC, PBS and Magnum P.I. formed us as people. 
I also watch a lot of Food Network. It’s no
secret that I would love to host and produce a food show.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I can’t think of just one, but the best
ones feel like you’re shooting the breeze with a friend. The laughs are genuine
and you’re sad when you have to wrap.
Kids and teens make up some of my most
rewarding and memorable interviews. I used to be a story researcher on a teen
show. We dealt with some heavy issues that affected kids (violence, eating
disorders, bullying, drugs) and kids don’t filter or edit what they say the way
adults do. They are brutally honest.
Worst?
Sometimes you interview people who don’t
want to do press and you can tell they’d rather be somewhere else.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
As a host: Be yourself.
As a writer: Read it out loud.
As a producer: B-roll. There’s never
enough.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t be an a**hole. Be kind. Be helpful.
What’s the most important tip you can give
PR pros?
Know the show I’m working on or the column
I write when you pitch. I’ve had people pitch me ideas when I was on BT and not
realize we were a LIVE morning show. Also, it might be one product that you’re
pitching to many outlets, but let me know you’ve considered my audience by
suggesting an angle that suits what I’m working on. I’ll feel like you did me a
favour.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro?
We love to hear about #wins.
I’ve had many great experiences! I tend to
work with the ones I like over and over again. I count many PR pros as friends.
The ones who understand that TV is about visuals and good speakers. You want
promotion and I want content, so let’s make it work. 
Good PR people and good hosts have to be
great listeners. We both talk and “sell” for a living – sometimes you just need
to shut up and listen.
I hate?
Rudeness. When people have a sense of
entitlement. 
The sound of girls shuffling their feet
when they wear Uggs. Will they fall off if you pick your feet up? 
The smell of boiled hot dogs.
I love?
Kind people. Those who do things without
expecting anything in return and those who do it without drawing any attention
to themselves. 
Plain chocolate cake, no icing. Things in jars. Seriously, it’s an
obsession.
Reading?
Scripts. But I want to reread Tina Fey’s Bossypants. “Over! Under! Through!” – That’s great advice.
Best place on earth?
Anywhere I can have my closest friends,
access to cheese and dessert.
Dinner guest?
I would love to get Tina Fey, Ellen
DeGeneres and some of my best friends together because we’d laugh until we
hurt.
Hero?
Christian Bale as Batman. Wait, I didn’t
answer this correctly did I?
Favourite app (or whatever you are
downloading these days)?
I’m an Instagram addict. I post photos of
lattes and nailpolish like everyone else.
Pool or ocean?
Ocean. I grew up in Nova Scotia. I miss the
sound and the smell of the ocean. Not the bad smells. I don’t miss those.
Voicemail or email?
Email. I hate long voicemails and I’m
usually running around when people call so I’m only half listening.

Media, Darling: Robyn Shanks

Robyn Shanks is an editor and producer at iVillage.ca. The site, which launched in May of last year, is an online women’s portal for all things lifestyle. Robyn manages the Style, Relationships, and Entertainment sections allowing her to focus on things from fashion and beauty to Hollywood’s hottest stars…and everything in between.

Twitter: @Robyn_Shanks, @iVillageCanada 

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I did! I wasn’t always sure in what capacity, but I remember getting my first Seventeen magazine and reading it word for word (I’m talking photo credits and all) and thinking “this is it”. Other careers included a short obsession with palaeontology, then I realized you have to be a near science genius to succeed so I went back to the mags.

Where would you like to be five years from now? 

 I’d love to start something of my own, but who knows. That’s one of the best things about media, you never know what adventure will pop up next.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Try any number of jobs that you think might fit. Knowing what you don’t like to do is half the battle.

What are your favourite media outlets?

Dazed and Confused, Vogue, V…I spent some time in Australia and really fell in love with RUSSH, Vogue Australia and Madison Magazine too. I’m also a sucker for a great fashion blog.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Vanessa Paradis – the whole time I was thinking, “I am one degree of separation from Johnny Depp”. She’s more beautiful in person if that’s possible.

Worst?
A certain tween star that shall go unnamed. It was so bad that I actually got MORE nervous as the interview went on.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never compare your success to anyone else.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Work hard to play hard (that might be more of a justification than a rule but it works.)

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Sending a follow up email a few days later always helps. Sometimes the ‘keeping up on email’ hill just gets too big to climb.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Help with gift guides is always a life saver. I interned in PR after university so I know how tough it can be to have to follow up with (sometimes) grumpy people all day long. A PR person’s ability to form the great relationships they do is a major win and hopefully they feel the same way. It takes a special kind of patience to do public relations.

I hate? 

Having to cut up a salad before I eat it.
 
I love? 

Trashy mags with a big cup of coffee (errrr, champagne). 
 
Reading? 

Twilight (nerd alert!).
 
Best place on earth? 

Vanuatu.
 
Dinner guest? 

My family.
 
Hero? 

Any working mother. No kids yet, but I can’t even comprehend.
 
Favourite app? 

Instagram…can that filter just follow me around all day?
 
Pool or ocean? 

To be near: ocean. To be in: pool.
 
Voicemail or email?  

Email…I’m a total avoider.