Get to know an awesome person

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Welcome to the first [only?] edition of Get to Know an Awesome Person. Some weeks ago, my friend Brittney Le Blanc sent me an email asking me to answer some questions about my working life and life in general living in the City of Edmonton. I told her I would only submit to this peculiar line of questioning if she provided two things:

  1. A reason why she needed this from me (and the answer to that can be found here).
  2. Precisely the same information from her.

Well Brittney, being the tremendously good sport (and awesome person) that she is, happily complied. Here, then, is Brittney Le Blanc for you, in living colour — she’s one of the finest Edmontonians out there, and I figured she should have her day in the digital sun as well.

Your name: Brittney Le Blanc

Twitter: @britl

Other place to find Brittney on the net: her fantastical blog


On the job…

Your official job title: I don’t have one, but I’m called Wonderkid a lot, even on the schedule — so let’s go with that. Basically I work in the newsroom, reporting, doing web stuff, and writing. I wear a lot of hats (figuratively and literally).

What’s the best part of the job? No two days are the same. I really don’t know what to expect when I walk through the station doors. Also, I’ve been incredibly curious ever since I was a little girl. Teachers used to hate it. Now I get to ask as many questions as I want!

What’s the worst part of the job? The hours can be a little bit scattered. Just as no two days are the same, my hours on those days might also not be the same. One day I might work 6am – 2pm, the next 12pm- 8pm. It can make it hard to plan things in advance.

How long have you been doing this? I’ve worked with the station almost three and a half years. I’ve been in the newsroom for a year and a bit.

What sort of education did you have to pursue for this job? I went to NAIT and took their Radio and Television Arts program. It was a fantastic program, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the industry. It’s very hands-on, and the groundwork it laid made working at an actual station much easier to adapt to.

What skills and experience would you say are necessary for someone to succeed in this industry? You NEED to learn to multitask. At any given time, you’ll be doing about eight things. Learning to “listen multitask” is a huge help. Listening to multiple things at the same time is key. Also, it would help if you have six arms, a motivation to learn and better yourself, and never sleep.

What attracted you to this career? As I mentioned before, I’m VERY curious. I always want to know what other people do, how things work, and where things come from. I’m on a quest to never stop learning, and this job definitely helps with that.

What’s the atmosphere like at work? Depends on the day, and the news of the day. Some days, it’s a blast. Everyone is on their A-game, we’re laughing, producing lots of interesting news stories, and everything just clicks. Other days, there seems to be no news and it’s a lot harder to keep momentum going.

What is an average day like? That’s tough, it really depends on the day, and what I’m doing that day. Normally I would say I come into work, catch up on stories, what people are working on, and either work on/find stories to chase, upload stories to the website, write/rewrite stories, or any other multitude of things.

What are a couple of misconceptions people have about your career? That it’s easy or we only like to follow crime stories and depress the public. We’re not trying to frighten the public, and our job isn’t easy. When news breaks, riots happen, explosions, etc, we are the ones who head out there. We try to bring the most accurate and informative news to our listeners/readers, even when that means dealing with families who’ve just lost a family member or friend, or people who really want nothing to do with us.

I think a lot of people also think we do whatever news stories please us. And although you personally might not care about the Dominos Tournament happening in town or a multi-vehicle collision, we try to bring the community the news they want.

What is the best/funniest/worst thing(s) to happen to you at work? I think one of the funniest moments was covering the big storm this July. I happened to be a few blocks from the CN building, so I drove over there to report from the scene. I wasn’t expecting the storm, so I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and my thin iNews880 jacket. A reporter from the Journal and I got caught in a torrential downpour and were pelted with golf ball sized hail. Meanwhile, we were just trying to keep our equipment dry. I was thoroughly chilled and I think I looked like a drowned rat all night.

Another great moment was when the random meteorite streaked across the sky. We all were working and didn’t see it, but the phones went crazy. People saw everything from alien sightings, to communist spy balloons.

One of the worst things we deal with is talking to families that have just lost a child. Amber alerts make our hearts race. It’s all about getting as much information out there as possible. Talking to friends and family of the missing children/teens is nerve wracking. There’s nothing you can really say to comfort them. Everyone gets a terrible feeling in the pit of their stomach until the child is found.

Brittney in #yeg

How long have you lived in Edmonton? All my life. I love this city!

If you weren’t living here, where would you be? Rome. Or possibly Ottawa or Vancouver.

What is your favourite part about Edmonton? I LOVE the High Level Bridge. It’s got to be one of my favourite things. I guess the people in Edmonton are okay too. (Kidding!) I love the community; people are always willing to help each other out. When we need to, our city really bands together.

What is your favourite festival to attend? I haven’t really had the opportunity to attend many this year. The only opportunity I have to go is when I cover the stories. However, I would have to say it would be between the Fringe, Symphony Under the Sky, dEdmonton, or Winter Lights.

What is your favourite restaurant? Probably Mongolie Grill, but it really depends on my mood.

When friends/family come to visit, what’s the first attraction you tell them to visit? I love to show them our River Valley. Of course, they usually just want to head to West Edmonton Mall.

All about Bee Elle Bee

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing? If I wasn’t in radio at all — I might be a writer. Or maybe work at a pub. I’m not really sure, radio’s been my passion since I was just a little girl, there’s never really been another option.

What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had? I used to work at a little kids birthday place. Part of what I did was run birthday parties for children ages 1-13. To this day I probably could get a bunch of kids in and out of a party room in 30-40 minutes. I also still kick butt at Laser Tag, and could fix any arcade game with jammed tickets.

Favourite Television show? Until I recently got a PVR (thanks company Christmas draws!) I didn’t really watch a lot of TV. I can’t narrow it down to one — but I love How I Met Your Mother, Chuck, Dollhouse, Buffy, Heroes, and True Blood. Although, I’m finding a lot of fault with the last one lately.

Favourite Movie? Amelie, Chasing Amy, Becoming Jane, and both the Die Hard and Batman series.

Favourite Book? Don’t judge me, but I love Pride and Prejudice, Atlas Shrugged, the Fountainhead, Sophie’s World, The Magus, Hardy Boy books, Anita Blake books — and more recently, the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Favourite Musician(s)? Matchbox Twenty, hands down. Then it’s a mix of songs. I find it really hard to have loyalty to one group — I mean look at what Third Eye Blind is doing now. That’s just weird. I love Country music though.

If you could have any super-power, which would you want? Instant teleportation. I wouldn’t have to worry about parking, I’d get more sleep, I’d cover WAY more news and stories… I’d be unstoppable. Plus, I could travel more.

What’s the biggest problem the world faces today? Apathy. A couple of months ago, Lesley Primeau invited Mack Male and myself on her show to discuss Twitter. A man older than both of us was frustrated that “Generation Y” was paying so much attention to the problems of the world, and at home. He wanted us to be more selfish. I think it’s that sort of thought that gets us in trouble.

We need to think more of others, more of our community — both at home and around the world. People 30 and under SHOULD care about politics, should worry about our future, and the future of our city. I’m not saying there aren’t people our age now who aren’t leading the way, but we need more than just them. Apathy won’t get us anywhere, we need passion and smart minds collaborating.

If you won the Lottery, what is the first thing you’d do? Pay off my debts. Really lame, I know. I would probably also throw a big party and buy all my friends Egyptian cotton sheets. I love really nice, soft sheets. I would then buy a penthouse apartment downtown, install A/C, and buy myself a dependable car. I’d save the rest, but probably do something silly and frivolous, like buy myself 365 pairs of new socks, so I’d always wake up and experience that wonderful new sock feeling. (For those judging me for not paying off my Mom’s house — she’s already done that.)

What’s the best part about being you? I can honestly say I’ve never met another me. Which, upon reflection, is probably a good thing for the rest of the world. The best part about being me is the experiences. I always go out there and try new things. I try to never turn down a good experience — as long as no one gets hurt.

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