Digital Content Editor, CTV News
Interview by Daniela Olariu (School of Journalism ’17)
Miriam Valdes-Carletti, (School of Journalism’18), is a Weekend Anchor, Videojournalist at CTV News. This interview was done when she was a News Writer at CP24 and Your Morning.
How has your journalism degree helped you?
Being able to study different aspects of journalism instead of just one form has been very beneficial so far. I got to learn traditional print journalism, digital, TV, radio, social media etc.
I currently work 3 different freelance positions which all require different skills. One day I’m doing all things digital like writing and uploading articles to the Marilyn Denis website – being the Managing Digital Editor at The Ryersonian* definitely helped in this aspect. The next day I’m working in iNews (which I learned how to use in j-school), writing news stories and choosing what b-roll I want for certain stories to go on air.
What do you think the School of Journalism experience offers that you can’t get anywhere else?
Being able to study journalism in downtown Toronto is definitely a big plus. Growing up in Niagara Falls, there weren’t a lot of media outlets to work at so knowing that Toronto was a huge hub of all things media was one the main reasons I wanted to attend [the university]. While I always knew [the School of Journalism] had a great reputation for being one of the top j-schools in Canada, I also didn’t realize how many people in the industry went there. Meeting people at work and finding out they went to [the university] is a great way to connect with others.
For example, during my interview for my internship at Your Morning, I learned that the Executive Producer also went to [the university]!
What have you done since graduating/how did you arrive at your current position?
I started freelancing at CTV’s national morning show, Your Morning, as a News Writer and Production Coordinator right after I completed my internship there (I actually worked from 3am-11am on the day of graduation which was a really gratifying feeling). I currently work as a Web Producer at The Marilyn Denis Show. I write daily lifestyle articles, capture content in the studio for social media, and produce a weekly newsletter. I also had the opportunity to work on the digital team at etalk during TIFF which was a crazy experience. I had never done entertainment before and worked 12 days in a row.
Thinking back to your first year self, how do you think they would react to where you are now?
I think first-year Miriam would definitely be proud she ended up getting a job in her field to be quite honest. I only graduated 5 months ago and have already gotten so much experience working on 3 different shows and in various positions. I think I’m also really proud I never limited myself with the type of work I’m doing. Working in both news and lifestyle has its benefits so I’m very excited to see where I’ll be in five years.
What’s one of your favourite memories from j-school?
I was on the Journalism Course Union for three years and spent a lot of time planning events like Pub Talks, J-frosh, and the formal at the end of the year. I absolutely loved working with everybody on the team each year and creating events that benefited j-school students in an academic, fun and welcoming setting was so much fun and a true highlight. A lot of the students who were my froshees are still some of my good friends.
Can you talk about one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a journalist?
I’m not a journalist quite yet but I will say that the pressure of working on a live national TV show really kicks in at certain points. I randomly got scheduled to work the morning shift for a position I had never been trained for at Your Morning and it was extremely challenging. I had to try to get things to air while also doing my best to act professional and pretend to know what I was doing. My boss ended up saying I did a great job and was happy that I was willing to fill in with basically having little to no training.
Any memorable School of Journalism professors during your time at the university?
Adrian Ma and Mark Bulgutch hands down. I always knew I wanted to work in TV but when I took Adrian Ma’s digital and personal branding course, I discovered that I actually really liked working in digital and creating my own content. I have my own beauty blog on the side (@beautywithmiriam1) and was given a lot of great advice from his class. As for Mark Bulgutch’s TV class, I still reference all my notes and know to never write “blaze” on TV – it’s a fire.
What advice would you give to current journalism students?
If you can, turn your internship into a freelance gig and find a mentor who’s willing to help you get your foot in the door. Once you get your first job, it’ll be easier to get the next couple gigs. The most important thing of all though is to never compare yourself to others. In journalism there’s no exact set path on how to get a job and every journalist’s journey is different. Keep that mind and only compare yourself to you.