Media, Darling: Carly Maga

Believe it or not, when Carly Maga moved from the cultural hotspot of suburban Ottawa to Toronto in 2006, she had a serious case of the starry-eyes. Now, through the ups and downs of any long-term relationship, the infatuation has evolved into a deep and meaningful appreciation. Her journalism degree coupled with a constant need of being entertained has resulted in her writing/tweeting/talking/living Canadian theatre and the arts for publications like The Globe and Mail, The Grid, Torontoist, OpenFile, and Toronto Standard. When not at a play or writing about a play, she’s covering the celebrity news everyone needs to know on Yahoo! OMG! or TV for BeyondtheGuide.com.

As a freelance writer, Carly has had the opportunity to pair her passion for theatre and her savvy writing style through profiling and reviewing theatre productions in Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago, New York, and more. She’s chatted with notable directors like Atom Egoyan and Robert Lepage, and would do anything to get a story. Including trying a KFC Double Down.




Twitter: @radiomaga

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
When I was a kid, I would flit week to week between careers as a dental hygienist (like my mom), an opera singer, or a school bus driver. But acting was the first thing that really stuck with me, until I discovered journalism offered me the same opportunity for storytelling but on a larger platform and, I thought at the time, in a more reliable industry.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I’d like to get some international living under my belt, but other than that, I’d love to still be seeing tons of art and discussing it with those who make and love it. And I want a dog, her name will be Bea.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Just write a lot, wherever you can. It sucks and I don’t think it’s right, but work for free, or very little. Especially if you want to focus on a particular beat, you have to create a place for yourself. And when you intern, don’t lose those contacts.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
There are a few things I try to keep up with – Toronto news, theatre in New York, London, and Chicago, things my friends and peers are up to. Twitter, actually, has been amazing for that. Plus Maisonneuve Magazine, The Walrus, and I’m addicted to Vulture and New York Magazine.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Talking to actor Eric Peterson is definitely a highlight, but I’ve also had some amazing talks with young, exciting artists around my age. Worst was the director of a really reputable avant-garde theatre company in New York. She refused to answer my questions and I felt about two feet tall by the end of it.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Just work harder than everyone else.” (Thanks @NatalieZed!)

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t get too comfortable.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
As someone who’s relatively early in their career, I always really appreciate even a small greeting, or proof you’ve read any of my stuff. It goes a long way. And when you meet in person at an event, I know there’s lots going on, but try to look people in the eye.

I hate?
Mustard. And arrogance. And sharks.

I love?
The fall.

Reading?
Still in summer-fluff reading mode – the last of Guillermo Del Toro’s vampire trilogy The Night Eternal. Next will be one of the classics I’m trying to catch up on, though I admit I hardly have time to read fiction.

Best place on earth?
A cottage. Any cottage.

Dinner guest?
The expats of 1920’s Paris.

Hero?
I don’t have one in particular, though there are lots of people around me that I really admire. I like to surround myself with people who, I think, are achieving bigger and better things than I am. It keeps me motivated.

Pool or ocean?
Oceanside (see “what I hate”).

Voicemail or email?
Email definitely. Or for bigger conversations, in person.

Live theatre show you’re most looking forward to this fall?
This is the hardest question so far! I wrote about a few of my picks for Torontoist, but I think personally I can’t wait for the remounts of The Normal Heart at Buddies in Bad Times and No Great Mischief at Tarragon – they were so praised and I missed them both the first time. As for new shows, Tear the Curtain! at Canadian Stage is really exciting, I love what Electric Company Theatre is doing.



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Media, Darling: Fiona Forbes

Fiona Forbes is a Canadian television personality who currently hosts Urban Rush, an award-winning entertainment talk show based in Vancouver. Fiona earned a degree in history from the University of British Columbia. While she initially planned to pursue a law degree, Fiona applied to a journalism program instead on a whim. She has now interviewed over twenty thousand people, including everyone from Michael Buble to The Pussycat Dolls to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and received many accolades including praise from none other than Regis Philbin. It seems she has found her calling.

Twitter: @FionaForbes

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers
were on the horizon? 
I actually wanted to be a lawyer and through fate and serendipity I
ended up on TV before I went to law school. 

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Hopefully I’ll still be still be doing what I love to do – making people
laugh and interviewing interesting people. My co-host and I have always had the goal of taking our show to a national audience…

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Don’t be afraid to hit up people you admire for advice and ask them how
they got their gig. Try and intern as much as possible – proximity leads to
opportunity – being in the right place at the right time is key in this
business!

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
(i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?)
I’m a consumer of all media. As my job mostly focuses on the
entertainment world I lean towards the standards when it comes to TV –
Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood etc. to keep up to date. For my show
prep I lean towards pop culture websites and blogs – I have about 20 sites I
visit daily bookmarked. I love this part of my job and don’t really consider it
work!

Best interview you’ve ever had?
Over the years I’ve interviewed over 20,000 people so it tends to be
kind of a blur! One of my favourite people to talk to is Michael Buble. His
first TV interview was on our show many years ago and we always have a blast
and get into some sort of hijinx when we hang with Buble!

Worst?
Goldie Hawn. I was so excited to meet her and get the opportunity to
interview such an icon but let’s just say Goldie was not having a good day and
the interview didn’t even happen.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never give up.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Keep your pitches short and sweet! I get so many press releases that are
so convoluted it’s like a puzzle trying to figure out what’s being promoted. Know who you’re pitching and take the time to personalize it.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about
#wins.
The best person I know in PR only pitches me when she knows it will suit
our show. She always comes up with creative ideas and always follows through
with them. She’s persistent but not pushy and always does a great job for her
client and makes great TV in the process.

I hate?
Cilantro. Seriously.
  
I love?
My job. I feel so fortunate to have found a career that I love.

Reading?
On a long flight I love to read Vanity Fair cover to cover. I also think
I’m one of the only females yet to read “50 Shades of Grey”…it’s on
the list!

Best place on earth? 
Amalfi Coast in Italy.


Dinner guest?
Would love to have dinner with my Dad – he passed away about ten years ago.
My favourite thing was to make him Sunday dinner and I’d give anything to do
that one more time.

Hero?
Same as my dinner guest. My Dad was a great man.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Uber! It’s a great car service that geolocates you and is there within a
few minutes. Cabs in Vancouver are so overpriced and always dirty.

Pool or ocean?
Oh, either is fine with me! I’m a total water baby and could stay in
either all day.

Voicemail or email?
Email. And less is more! 

Media, Darling: Shel Zolkewich

Shel
Zolkewich wears two hats: the fancy fedora of a marketing consultant and the
battered ball cap of a freelance writer. She helps her marketing clients with
all the usual tools of the trade: strategies, Websites, campaigns and media
relations. On the writing side, it’s about the outdoors, travel and food. She’s
an avid angler and hunter and wishes she had a third arm to hold the
ever-present camera. Her heart lies in the North where there are small
airplanes, muddy roads and feisty Northern Pike.
Twitter: @shelzolkewich

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon?
I
remember flipping through that “What Do You Want to Be” binder in high school and
getting excited about the prospect of being an undertaker. I’m not kidding!
I’ve always been a little obsessed with medicine and anatomy. But the course
was really long and I’m kind of lazy, so I settled on the Creative
Communications course at Red River College in Winnipeg instead. And just so you
know, I failed journalism.


Where would you like to be five years from now?
I
like the path I am on right now. The marketing stuff is filled with new
technology and interesting projects. I’m a writer at heart, so being able to
keep my hand in the game is important. I’ve been doing some teaching lately and
loving it. Basically, more of the same in the next five years, with a little
more adventure travel, I hope.


Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Work
hard, listen to the old folks, work hard, embrace every little bit of new
technology, work hard.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.: what do
you read/listen/watch?)
Admittedly,
I’m a Twitter junkie. I’m an early riser and it’s like having coffee with
thousands of my dearest friends. They let me know what’s going on in the world.
I visit the Winnipeg Free Press site daily and The Globe & Mail site a
couple of times a week.


Best interview you’ve ever had?
Very
early in my career, I interviewed a gentleman who had lost his daughter to a
drunk driver. At the end of our chat, he asked me how old I was. Then he
reached out, took my hands in his and said “She would have been exactly your
age.” That moment taught me a couple of things: always listen, know that you
can make a connection to another human being at any minute and be thankful for
what you have in this life right now.


Worst?
I
wouldn’t want to single out anyone in particular, but I get very annoyed with
interviewees give off that ‘are we almost done, I’m really bored, you are small
potatoes and I don’t really care’ vibe. If you’ve agreed to the interview, give
it your best, no matter who is interviewing you. One day they could become
Anderson Cooper.


Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Make
hay while the sun shines.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Make
hay while the sun shines.
There’s
always someone way worse off than you.
Give
and you shall receive.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
As
that old song goes, give the people what they want. If I ask for images that
are about one MB, please don’t send me 32 K snaps from the website. I try to
work as efficiently as possible, because as a freelance writer, it’s simply not
lucrative to be a pokey Joe. If I have to ask for the same information a couple
of times, my bottom line is shot. PS: Samples work.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
I’m
not weaseling out on this one because I’m being honest when I say the PR folks
that I deal with are ALL top-drawer pros; I really can’t single anyone out.
They’ve saved my tail more than once when I’ve up against a deadline, sending
me last-minute images and info. The travel PR people have taken chances on me
as a freelance writer, hoping I’ll eventually find an outlet and earn my keep
for that fabulous Caribbean trip. It’s about being partners. I love you guys!


I hate?
 
Waiting. Impatience is my Achilles heel. That’s why I hunt; it teaches
me patience.


I love?
 
Twitter


Reading?
 
The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven. I’m a sucker for anything about
Canadian history, exploration or adventure.


Best place on earth?
 
Lake St. George in central Manitoba


Dinner guest?
 

Elvis Aaron Presley


Heros?
 
My mom and dad.


Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
The Weather
Network. I’m a Manitoban and we’re a little nutty about the weather.


Pool or ocean?
 
Ocean. But a northern Manitoba lake is even better.

Voicemail or email? 
Email, oh please, email.

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.



Worst?
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.

Reading?
The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen by Thomas Caplan.

Best place on earth?
Delray Beach, Florida.

Dinner guest?
Bill Clinton.

Hero?
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?
Ocean.

Voicemail or email?
Email.




Media, Darling: Melanie Ng

As a field reporter for CityNews, Melanie Ng hits the streets to bring
viewers the latest in news and events from across Toronto and the GTA.



Working with the media on a daily basis in her previous career in the
fast-paced world of PR, Melanie knew her true calling was in broadcasting and
enrolled in the postgraduate Broadcast Journalism program at Seneca College at
York University. Her next challenge took her to a new level…hundreds of feet up
high in a helicopter! As a reporter at the Canadian Traffic Network, Melanie
provided breaking news and traffic reports for CHCH News, Global News and local
radio stations. Melanie was a weekend news anchor and videographer at CHCH
before finding a home as a field reporter at Citytv in October 2010.

Melanie Ng grew up in Oakville and graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University
with a double honours degree in Communication Studies and English, and a minor
in History. Melanie went on to complete a postgraduate certificate in Public
Relations from Humber College, graduating with honours.




Did
you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
horizon?
Growing up, I was always drawn to the
media, specifically news. I knew that I
somehow wanted to work in the field – I just wasn’t sure where I saw
myself. After my first career in public
relations, I realized my heart was in reporting

Where
would you like to be five years from now?
Still being able to tell stories that
matter and feeling like I’ve made a difference.

Any
advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be ready for a challenge. Things won’t always go as planned, but you’ve
got to roll with the punches. Most
importantly, don’t forget who you are.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I dabble in everything.

Best
interview you’ve ever had? 
Too many to mention. While I have had some fun celebrity
interviews, I find the most interesting stories come from everyday people.

Worst? 
I’ve talked to many grieving families
who’ve lost loved ones. It never gets easier seeing the unbelievable pain
they’re going through. However, if
they’re willing to share their story, those interviews can sometimes be the
most powerful.

Best
advice you’ve ever been given? 
Just be yourself.

What rule(s) do you live your life by? 
Follow your heart. The rest will fall into place.

What’s
the most important tip you can give PR pros? 
Underpromise and overdeliver. Be aware of journalist deadlines and think of
creative solutions if your original plan doesn’t pan out.

Best
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? 
I was on a tight timeline to jam a number
of elements into a story.  I thought I’d
have to reach out to a several companies, but one PR rep saw what I needed and
was able to coordinate everything in a couple stops.  It was a great example of going above and
beyond.

I hate? 
When people are inconsiderate. 

I love? 
A good laugh. Friends. Seafood. Wine. Dogs. Reality
TV.

Reading? 
The first 30 pages of several books. It takes a lot to pull me in and keep me
interested.

Best place on earth? 
Curled up under cozy sheets with no alarm
clock set.

Dinner
guest?
My grandparents who passed away before I
could meet them.

Hero? 
My mom. 

Favourite
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)? 
Any game apps that involve trivia or word
puzzles.  Yes, I’m sort of a dork.

Pool or
ocean? 
Definitely ocean.

Voicemail
or email? 
I like sending email, but receiving
voicemail.

Media, Darling: Liz Cabral

Liz Cabral started
her career as Fashion Editor with
Chatelaine magazine, and in 2004 she joined
FLARE as Style Editor. In 2005, she was promoted to Fashion Director. During her
tenure, she has given
FLARE’s fashion coverage a fresh, distinct point of view
that successfully combines inspirational fashion editorial with down-to-earth,
how-to information.  


An esteemed stylist and creative visionary, Cabral has
won multiple industry awards and worked with some of the world’s top
personalities, including Daria Werbowy, Coco Rocha, Fergie, Taylor Swift,
Dakota Fanning and Zooey Deschanel. A sought-after fashion expert, she
frequently appears on such shows as Breakfast Television, CityLine, MTV, Fashion Television, ET
Canada
and eTalk. A designer in her own right, Cabral has been
involved in two very successful collaborations: the first-ever FLARE/Aldo shoe
launched in 2011, which sold out in weeks; and, in partnership with The
Shopping Channel, was the creative force behind the FLARE designer-inspired lamb leather convertible shoulder bag.



Did you always want
to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
I always knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry,
but I didn’t realize magazines were my calling until I actually interned at
one – Flare, actually – back in university.

Where would you like to be five years from now? 
Either living in the eye of a chaotic fashion hub like
Paris or New York, or the complete opposite and living in a California coastal
town growing organic vegetables.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 
There’s been a lot of controversy and hullabaloo around
interning these days, but it is one of the most invaluable experiences you’ll
have if you take proper advantage of it. It allows you to meet people you’d
never otherwise be exposed to and gain experience. I’ve hired countless interns
on as editors and never once been disappointed. I believe the right internship can
really lead to your dream job 
 it did mine.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? (i.e.:
what do you read/listen/watch?)
My Internet surfing is very fashion-oriented so WWD, Style.com,
The Cut (although I could do with a little less snark; that’s certainly the
downfall of a lot of websites these days). I read all types of magazines from
every edition of Vogue to Women’s Health to Esquire and Wired.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 
Never make a decision based off of fear and follow
your gut.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Never wait until tomorrow to fulfill a dream or
passion.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Read magazine mastheads and don’t call a senior editor
asking who covers what beat; you should be reading the publications you’re pitching and know all the players. I can’t tell you how many times I get an
email addressed to someone who worked at Flare 10 years ago.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
The pros know how to relate and talk to editors
without sounding like a press release 😉

I hate?
I hate to hate. Nothing goods comes of it.

I love?
Travelling. Nothing brings you life experience and
education like travelling the world and experiencing different cultures. You’re
a more interesting
person for it.

Reading? 
Eckhardt
Tolle’s The Power of Now – a little self discovery is always good.

Best place on earth?
Hard to pick just one. But in the last year I’ve been
to Morocco, New Zealand and Japan; I’d say those are all up there on the best-of list. Along with Italy and Bali and the California coast and……..

Dinner guest?
Nothing beats dinner with my best friend/husband.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Whatever app my husband downloads on to my phone, he’s
a computer engineer. ‘Nuff said.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean. Salt water is great for your hair and heart.

Voicemail or email?
Email. Easier to hit reply than pick up the phone.

Teacher’s Pet: Portfolios

With the warm weather, and exams but a fleeting memory, many
students find themselves hitting the office instead of the beach, looking for
internship opportunities. Today’s
Teacher’s Pet post is all about how to put together the best portfolio, and
what the heck to do with it once you’ve walked through the door. 

As a general rule of thumb, a portfolio should include a
combination of writing samples, your resume and a selection of references. Choose your
best, most powerful and results-driven pieces; no need to include everything
you’ve ever penned.

If you haven’t sunk your teeth into published work
yet, feel free to use class assignments and course work, but remember to nix
your essays. Portfolio pieces should be shorter in length, and demonstrate
industry-quality writing similar to what you would do on the job. From press
releases to blog posts, include a sampling of your best work that touts your
versatility. The more variety you show, the better we (or the hiring office)
can assess your skills and abilities, hopefully landing you that coveted
internship or first job.


Other good rule of thumb: if it doesn’t fit through the door, your portfolio is too big. 


Is your best work not on paper? Did you plan an event? Write
up a case study, including the event goals, the process you underwent and all
the (great) results.

As always, follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid,
meaning no coloured paper or fancy fonts, especially the dreaded Comic Sans.
While pink, scented paper may have worked for Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, we
suggest you stick to the plain Jane-style instead. You want us to take you seriously, right?

We’d hire her, just NO pink press releases.

When toting your newly prepped portfolio to an interview,
mention you have brought it along at the beginning of the interview. If you are
asked for examples of when you overcame a challenge, or led a team, don’t be
afraid to refer to specific content in your portfolio that specifically supports
your answer.

Don’t fret if there isn’t time to flip through your portfolio
during your interview. Be a savvy job hunter, and bring a second copy for them
to review once you’ve left. Hopefully you’ve also left a lasting impression!