National Aboriginal Day cultural celebration back

By Tara Henley

BELLEVILLE – National Aboriginal Day is a time for cultural awareness and celebration in the Tyendinaga community, says the director of the Tsi Tyonnheht Onwawenna Language & Cutural Centre, Callie Hill.

“People look forward to that day,” she said. “It’s a time to share meals, play games and just have fun.”

This Saturday, June 21, will be the 19th annual National Aboriginal Day in Canada. Previously titled National Aboriginal Solidarity Day, it is an occasion to recognize the accomplishments, contributions and heritage of Métis, Inuit and First Nations peoples throughout the country.

– See more at:


Belleville Farmers’ Market lacking customers

By Tara Henley

BELLEVILLE – The Belleville Farmers’ Market is in a “downhill spiral” due to the lack of customers as well as vendors, many kiosk owners say.

However, the manager of the market says she predicts it is only off to a bit of a slow season, and that it will still be around for many years to come.


– See more at:

Real reason why locals didn’t vote in the provincial election

By Tara Henley

BELLEVILLE – Many local residents didn’t cast their votes in the Ontario election because they didn’t like the candidates, they said on Election Day.

“I think we should just throw them all out and get new people,” said Courtney Leakey-Mitchell, a first-time voter who was among local residents whom QNet News spoke to outside the Quinte Mall.

Leakey-Mitchell is not alone. Over one in two Belleville residents interviewed Thursday had similar complaints. Most of them agreed that while the polls were easy to access and the voting process was quick and effective, they did not see the point in voting if they disliked all of the candidates for premier.

 “I’d just put [my ballot] in the recycling,” said Andrew Rowbotham when asked what he would have done if he had gone to a polling station.

Computer technician David Jewett couldn’t agree more.

“The parties don’t follow through with what they promise,” he said. “I don’t feel they do anything.”

Paul Atkinson said he believes the Ontarian government “needs a change.” He feels the parties are all the same and the candidates will not change anything once elected, he added.

“This election isn’t about who’s the most liked,” Atkinson said. “It’s about who’s hated the least.”

While many residents said they didn’t like any of the candidates for premier, there was one candidate whom almost every person interviewed said they disliked the most.

“I’m scared of the election,” said Susan McNeil, a local teacher. “I’m scared (Conservative leader Tim) Hudak will get in.”

Asked who she wanted to win the election, McNeil replied: “Anyone but Hudak.”

Hudak’s promise to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs seemed to have lost him a lot of supporters. One of the issues many Belleville residents said they cared about most was jobs, and they said they thought Hudak’s job plan was pretty flawed.

Nurse Natasha Redford said she believed the government should be hiring more public-sector workers instead of firing thousands.

“I’m a nurse and my boyfriend is a paramedic. We’re in the field, and it sucks because we see that we need more [workers], not less,” Redford said.

The Liberals won the June 12 election with a majority. Kathleen Wynne became the first woman to be elected premier.

Take Aways – Experience in Looking for Interviews

Take Aways – Experience in Looking for Interviews

Tara Henley

June 11, 2014


1. When you’re looking for a potential interviewee, it is important that you do not get discouraged when people reject your attempts to interview them. It’s nothing personal against you, and it is important to remember that. Have tenacity when you’re interviewing because you will be rejected in this industry, and often. When you approach people, you need to sound like you are genuinely excited to speak with them. If you come across as bored or overly formal, the person will read off of your body language and voice tone and decline to be interviewed. Do not drop this excited composure once a person has agreed to be interviewed. The friendlier and more interested you seem, the more the person will likely open up to you, which can make for some amazing quotes.

2. Be prepared to deal with conflict of interest when you’re on the journalism field. Conflict of interest occurs when you know the person you are going to be interviewing. This will bias the interview in one of two ways: either you will go too easy on the interviewee because they are your friend or you will go to hard on them to try and prove that they are not a conflict of interest. Either way, this can ruin both your story and your relationship with the person you were interviewing, not to mention your reputation as a journalist. If you are ever given a story that requires you to interview a person with whom you have a conflict of interest, you should pass off the story to a colleague. 

3. Many things can go wrong when you’re out in the field and you will often find yourself dealing with unforeseen problems. This is especially an issue when you’re interviewing because you do not want to compromise the interview in any way. That is why it is important for journalists to develop the ability to think on their feet so they can compromise when something doesn’t go according to plan. If the interview begins to take an unexpected turn, do not be afraid to go with it and rework your original story around the interview. One of the biggest problems you will encounter is technical issues. While it is always good to be prepared, sometimes mistakes are made. For example, if you are in the middle of an interview and your recorder stops working, remain calm. It is alright to go back and double check facts and re-ask some key questions. If for whatever reason you find yourself with a broken recorder and no handwritten notes, find a quiet spot immediately following the interview and write down everything you remember.

4. As Robert Washburn, a professor at Loyalist College, says, “Everyone is a natural born journalist”. By this he means that it is important to remember not to overthink interviews and stories you may write. One of the tips Washburn has given his first year journalism students is to write the first draft of your story without looking at your notes at all. This way, you will only write down what you remember, which is usually the most important aspects of the interview. You are a natural born storyteller and it is up to you to figure out the most important factors of the interview, so don’t second-guess your natural abilities. 

5. When writing a story, the first step will always be to do preliminary research. At least read the last article published on the subject(s) you are writing about. Next, you will write your pitch. This is the angle from which you want your story to be told. Once you have your pitch, conduct further, more specific research based on your story’s angle. Gather all relevant information that you will need by going out into the field, talking to people and researching online. Once you have every big of information you need (background, specifics, interviews etc.), it is time for you to sit down and begin writing, but not before completing all of the above steps. The final thing you should do is publish your story. 

Sample of a Brief

1 – New laws limiting the ownership of guns will not discourage career criminals from handgun possession, says a recent survey conducted by the Department of Justice.

The survey found most criminals are unaffected by stricter gun laws. When the department questioned long-term prisoners, it found most criminals obtain their weapons through either theft or under-the-counter deals. Only a small number of criminals legally acquired their handgun through legitimate retail outlets.

The department surveyed 1,874 men serving time for felonies in 11 state prisons. Three out of four men interviewed said they would expect little or no trouble if they tried to purchase a handgun after their release.


2 –

After murdering two restaurant employees, the longest sentence ever given to anyone in Ontario was administered to Thomas C. Ahl in Circuit Court today.

Ahl pleaded guilty last week to avoid the death penalty. Instead, he was sentenced to two life terms, plus 300 years. Ahl, 24, will be an elderly man by the time he is considered for parole.

The judge overseeing Ahl’s trial explained that Ahl had a history of violence and brutality. The public deserves to be protected from Ahl, says the judge.

There had been no reason to kill the two employees, Ahl admitted. They were not resisting him in any way.

Take Aways – What You Need to Know for the Election

Take Aways – What You Need to Know for the Election

Tara Henley

June 9, 2014


  1. The turnout number can drastically alter the results. This should go without saying, but few people realize the importance of their vote, and therefore do not bother to venture to the voting booths set up. If the majority of the province you are in decides they want a Liberal leader yet they do not decide to vote because “one vote won’t make a difference”, then they are essentially saying that they would rather be led by someone whose beliefs they don’t share than to take an hour of their time to vote. Less and less citizens vote with each passing election, and the majority of the country’s views are not being seen. It is important to not only vote, but to make an educated decision on whom you vote for. It doesn’t take long to research the different political platforms for each party.
  2. Few people know about the option of declining your ballot. If you have done your research and decide that while you care about the province’s next leader, you do not like any of the chosen candidates. This shows that you have made an informed decision, even if it means you are voting for no one. The option to decline your ballot has the potential of getting more people to the voting booths, which is greatly needed in a province like Ontario where less than half of all eligible voters actually cast their votes.
  3. This year’s race seems to be between the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Liberals, it seems, keep making promises with little proof that they will be able to keep them. Kathleen Wynne is trying to convince Ontario that she and the rest of the Liberal government were not responsible for many of the “fiascos” that occurred while Liberals sat in government. Meanwhile, Tim Hudak will most likely no longer be the tory leader if he loses this election. He made himself infamous with his “million job plan” that went completely downhill. Many people believe that the math for his plan is incorrect on many levels, especially because he is planning of firing 100,000 public sector workers. Horwath’s NDP party has, according to the general public, been unprepared and disorganized from the start. The race is definitely between the Tories and the Liberals, and every vote counts.
  4. The Liberal Party is strongly supportive of gay marriage, abortion rights and immigration. Liberals typically focus spending on the education system, which is why students often tend to be “left-winged”. The New Democratic Party favours higher tax rates for large corporations and the wealthy and has strong ties to organized labour, particularly public sector units (teachers, nurses, government employees). The Progressive Conservative Party has strong respect for traditional values and favours military spending. They are officially “neutral” on gay marriage and abortion rights, but many oppose both.
  5. Not all Canadian parties are represented in elections. For example, the Libertarian Party does not run in various areas. This is another reason why declining your ballot is an important option to have. For many, the political party they support will not be represented in the upcoming election. Even if their party is being represented, you may not like the leader. It is thus important for you to base your vote not only on the political party you support, but also on the individual that will be leading your province or country. Even if you feel as though there are no political parties that support your views, it is still important to vote because you will be voicing your opinions by saying you do not wish for these leaders to be in charge.

ET Canada and Global News Article

First shot at writing and article in the style of the “inverted pyramid”. Enjoy!

ET Canada and Global News Article – Inverted Pyramid
Tara Henley
June 5, 2014


            Good writing skills are the key to landing any job in the news industry, two familiar faces on television working at Global News said.

           Global News anchor Leslie Roberts and Entertainment Tonight Canada host Roz Weston both firmly believe that an English background is necessary in the journalism field.

            “Be a bloody good writer,” Weston told a group of aspiring journalists from the Trent-Loyalist journalism program when they visited Global News headquarters this past Tuesday. “That will keep you employed.”


            In the event of layoffs, someone who can write incredibly well will remain employed since their skills are transferable to any job in the newsroom, the ET Canada host went on to explain.

          “Learn styles [of writing]. Learn every style, even styles you hate,” Weston also advised the students.

          By learning multiple writing styles, you are further expanding on your talents as a journalist and are therefore more likely to be hired, Weston continued.

            Weston’s coworker, Leslie Roberts, couldn’t agree more. When the university students asked Roberts what he believed the most important skill a journalist could have is, he did not hesitate to say, “ An English background”.

            He continued by then telling the students about how he believes journalists should also pay attention to not only what their coworkers publish, but other news companies as well.

“The minute you stop watching others is the minute you stop learning,” Roberts explained.

Getting and keeping jobs in this industry is a lot of work, Roberts told the journalism class. Perseverance and hard work can determine whether or not you make it in this field, and your ability to write is a big part of that.