Adrian Harewood, CBC radio and TV host, Ottawa

Adrian Harewood and I first met at the NFB in Ottawa in 1993. He was a student at McGill where he later graduated and became the Station Manager at CKUT (McGill’s community radio station). Seventeen years later he is married and  anchors the 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. news at CBC Television in Ottawa.

Harewood says that he doesn’t have a typical day. “With this new TV gig my workday now starts at 3:00 p.m. So normally during the day I try to go for a run or do some form of exercise, read various newspapers and websites, maybe watch a film, read a book, listen to radio programs on CBC, BBC, NPR, Democracy Now, Radio Pacifica, Radio Canada. I also listen to Christopher Lydon’s Open Source, and This American Life on Public Radio International. While I am doing housework I watch CBC TV, Radio-Canada, BBC, CNN.

Knowing how to make good use of his time, Harewood has advice for young journalists who would like to be where he is today. “Follow your passion,” Harewood says. “Be curious. Read widely. Be a sponge. Travel as much you can. Get out of your comfort zone, whatever that zone is. Learn some languages. Expose yourself to as many stories as you can be they radio documentaries or films or TV shows or ballads or magazine articles. Read poetry. Practice reading out loud. Check out some art. Ground yourself as much as you can in history and politics and philosophy and science. Don’t get complacent. Never be satisfied with what you think you know. Get to know your community. Get involved in community media (I am particularly biased towards community radio). Write something every day. Try to become as versatile as you can as a media practitioner.”

All this advice has helped Harewood to be who he is today. Five years from now he sees himself writing a lot more for newspapers and magazines and pursuing some book projects. He would also like to teach at some post-secondary institution. He would like to produce documentaries for radio and TV. — By Donna Kakonge

LinkedIn Tailor Made for Communicators

CABJ - Sharon McMillan on LinkedInLinkedIn is fast becoming one of the most powerful and useful tools for journalists and communicators.  Traditionally known as the place for credible networking with potential employers/clients in today's frenetic social networking environment, LinkedIn is in fact much more than an employment aid.

With its massive database of professionals and thought leaders in various fields, LinkedIn is also an ideal place for journalists and communicators to conduct research, identify subject experts and develop leads for stories.

In fact, LinkedIn offers an assortment of tools and resources to help you connect in ways that are often far more targetted and effective than other social networking sites.

I recently asked some LinkedIn users to share with me their strategies for harnessing the power of LinkedIn and they offered the following tips:

Sharon, given the size of LinkedIn it can be a difficult process, so I’d suggest combining resources – check out people who’ve provided ‘best answers’ on LinkedIn (see Answers under the “More” tab on the home page) and also those with recommendations by industry field. I’d usually compare these to other searches – check them out on Google and Twitter etc and see what the general buzz is.

I also run some ‘Answers’ streams as RSS feeds and check them regularly, it’s a manual process but it’s a good way to see who is providing valuable advice here. It’s also worth remembering that LinkedIn has a powerful recruitment function, so it might be worth seeing who has recently viewed someone’s profile as well – are they attracting a lot of ‘movers and shakers’?

Matt Owen, Social Media Producer,

Sharon I’d suggest users try finding groups that address their sector / industry and look for people posting suitable material.

What I do, every time I see someone quoted elsewhere on the web, I look them up on LinkedIn.

Mike Aitken, LinkedIn for Sales Strategist,

I first identified a list of thought leaders on Twitter and sought them out on LinkedIn after following them a while. The LinkedIn feature I find most useful for making prudent connections is Groups. My field, public relations, crosses many sectors, so I started a group for regional professionals in the sector I’ve targeted. In that group, I get to know people and they get to know me without the entanglement of a fast connection I might repent at leisure.

Diane Wolfe, Public Relations Director,

If you're a reporter using these kinds of strategies in your research mix could save time while expanding your reach--two great benefits in today's 24-hour news environments.

For those working in public relations, using some of these LinkedIn strategies is a great way to conduct background research on issues, strategies and techniques to enhance your client's/company's communications or crisis management projects.

If all you've done is set up your profile on LinkedIn now's a good time to explore other features offered through this free network.  Use some of the strategies suggested above to keep abreast of the issues in your beat/area of expertise and to connect with others who may offer unanticipated but needed insight and resources.

Sharon McMillan is a public relations manager and former CABJ Board member.

Communications and PR Podcast

A recent podcast from one of the leading communications/PR podcasts called "For Immediate Release" with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson.




Afrofest to continue it’s 23rd year in Toronto

The March 11th decision revoking the special events permit for Music Africa (MA) to host its annual Afrofest in Queen’s Park this summer was reversed late last month.

Although the city maintained that its main concerns had been for the welfare of the park, now beginning to show effects of the tens of thousands of summer visitors drawn in every year, other reasons for the city’s initial included parking and music violations, garbage and failure to clean up.

MA president Michael Stohr upheld that vehicles were only on turf for event setup or take down and that music never continued past 11 pm.    With the support of MA members, Stohr came to a compromise alongside Toronto Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and other City departments. came to an effective compromise that will allow the23 year old  tradition to continue as planned.

Many of the event’s vendors and performers had been secured for the season when city officials made their earlier retraction, estimating the near 50,000 patrons expected this summer to increase the already present levels of soil compaction damaging to older roots. This and the city’s plans to renovate in 2012  may have influenced the MA’s decision to seek an alternate site for next year.

For MA, a location in the heart of the city is not only essential but synonymous with their mission.  Founded in the early 90’s, Music Africa is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to promote African music through Afrofest and other cultural events.

Afrofest will take place this July 9th -11th at Queens Park in downtown Toronto.