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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Yum, Yum: The Fuzz Box

Today we’re talking donairs; specifically, the Nova Scotian donairs served by The Fuzz Box (1246 Danforth Ave.). The Danforth restaurant aims to bring this East Coast speciality to Torontonians. We’ve been hearing a ton of buzz about this newly opened spot, so decided to take a field trip out east to sample their wares for ourselves.


The place to go for donairs.

While waiting for our food we chatted with the delightfully charming owner, Neil Dominey. An East Coast native, Neil told us that he wanted to import more than just donairs to our city, he also wanted to bring along the friendly community vibe that his home province is famous for. We can’t speak for all Nova Scotians, but if they’re anything like Neil then come the next Porter sale we are booking a one-way ticket to Halifax.


All kidding aside, Neil was super friendly and happy to chat with us about his band (The Fuzz, whose music is most often heard playing in the restaurant), his expansion plans and the great support he’s been receiving from local media and food fans. He also urged us to try a cookie (chocolate coconut “frogs“) while waiting for our order. Dessert before dinner? Neil is our kind of guy. 

Neil!

Speaking of dinner, let’s talk about the food. Our first bite was a little shocking – we weren’t expecting the sauce to be that sweet – but once we got accustomed to it, it was damn delicious. Typically donairs are made with beef, but Fuzz Box also offers a chicken version. Other than meat and donair sauce (secret recipe, of course), a real deal donair should only have tomatoes and onions, all wrapped in a soft pita which soaks up every drop of that delicious sauce. Fuzz Box also offers donair pizzas, soups, salads and a daily catch. Unlike most places, “catch” doesn’t necessarily mean seafood. The day we were there the catch was rabbit. Yum. Check their Facebook to see what that day’s special is. 

What we should’ve asked for – extra donair sauce.

Now, being the landlocked, city girls that we are, we weren’t too familiar with what constituted an authentic donair. All we knew was that they were de-licious. We decided to get the input of an East Coast transplant, our good friend Ashley Ballantyne. She told us that Fuzz Box is “legit” and is “basically as close to a real NS donair as you’ll get in this province.” She did say that nothing can beat the real thing though, something about the ocean air. Whatever. Ballantyne did issue some words of caution though, specifically warning against the sneakily named, East Coast Donairs. According to her it is “totally NOT authentic. They are more like shwarma and put parsley on the top. WTF?!?” Consider yourself warned. 

Apple coleslaw. Get on it.

From what we’ve tasted and heard, the only thing inauthentic about The Fuzz Box is their hours. For Haligonians especially, donairs are meant to be eaten after the bar (i.e. in the wee hours of the morning, whilst intoxicated). Currently, The Fuzz Box closes at 10 p.m. or whenever they run out of meat, but Neil says this is something he’d like to rectify in his next location. Speaking of which, Neil has a few ideas of where to open next but nothing locked down. Want him in your hood? Tweet him @theFuzz_Box.