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Garden Work

bc-garden-nixon-100623.jpg    The G20 events that included mass arrests of demonstrators in Toronto brought out a criticism against the media that has become a commonplace these days.  It centres around the idea that the demonstrators know the media will be there, so they stage events that are designed to upstage the main event - and the media plays into their hands, giving them a platform that they could not otherwise obtain.  It's a good debate - about the role of demonstrators, media, police, public discourse of serious issues - and I am not going to provide the last word here. 

    But my thoughts travelled along a similar line last week as I went off to cover the creation of a community garden, seemingly worlds away from the big matters being played out in Toronto.   Except in this case, the cost of the garden, and all the equipment to make it, was borne by Fiskars, a Wisconsin based maker of rakes and shovels and such, along with Canadian Tire, which sells the stuff.  Now sure, the event would go ahead whether I was there to cover it or not.  But a skeptic might suggest the whole point of this fine example of corporate citizenship was, ultimately, to get such coverage and give people a good impression of the principals involved, so that when it comes time to buy a new pruner they would head down to Canadian Tire for one made by Fiskars.  Is that a bad thing or, like the demonstrators in Toronto, just the way things work in a media savvy world?  I'm also not going to provide the last word on that debate here.  But at least, in this case, a community garden got built.  Community Garden icon_video.gif

New Role

bc-hanomansing-nixon-100408.jpgIt is always a big story inside a television station when a news anchor you have worked beside for years suddenly gets a new role.  That's the case now with Ian Hanomansing, who for more than a decade has been, with Gloria Macarenko, the face of CBC News in Vancouver.  He is returning to his first love, as a reporter with the CBC flagship program 'The National'.  Bright, witty, with a professionalism and deep knowledge of almost any subject you care to name, I have long harboured a deep resentment against him.  Kidding!  In fact, Ian is as likeable a colleague as they come and we have spent many hours together in sun-dappled conversation.  But hey, when a guy's going through a career change and I get to do a story about it, I have to have my fun, right?  National Ian icon_video.gif


Camera Crazed

bc-camera-nixon-100218.jpgThis is my first Olympics, and I'm sure it's a first for many people in Vancouver.  Even though they are in the city where I live, I confess that I watch these Olympic events the same way I have watched every single Olympics since Tokyo in 1964 when I was but a wee jasper.  That is - on TV.  I suppose some people are glued to their handheld pod gizmo, or streaming in the events via their computer.  I would too - if the pod was the size of my TV and my computer screen was positioned directly in front of my sofa.  But they're not and so I don't. 

But I notice wandering the downtown streets that people must be acutely aware that these games are being watched around the world on the tube.  So when they see a TV camera amongst them - it becomes an opportunity to, well let's say, reach out.  People do that in quite predictable ways, in ways that many might consider at odds with their usual behaviour, and that might cause them some embarrassment years from now when their grandkids pull up those images on whatever 3-d pod gizmo brain implant people will use in the future.  But for now, it is enough for me to ask these people "Why do you do that?"  Wahooooo!!!! icon_video.gif

Protester Protester

bc-protest-nixon-100211.jpgIt would be hard to imagine an event whose cost could exceed eight billion dollars (according to the generally reliable Vaughn Palmer) that was held without people protesting.  We live in a world of limited resources and so people can come up with all kinds of perfectly reasonable ways to spend that money that does not include the Winter Olympics.  As the games neared, protests against the games escalated, and that could be expected.  Now most people who support the games probably took the position that they agree to disagree with the protesters.  But not one fellow I met, who decided to try to convince them not to take to the streets.  Video Appeal icon_video.gif

Oscar Bound

bc-oscars-nixon-net.jpgI once picked up a library book that featured every Oscar winner since the Academy Awards began back in the 1920s.  With the same diligence that allows some kids to memorize baseball statistics, I proceeded to learn by heart who won what when in most major categories.  The book ended with the 1969 winner (was that the year "In the Heat of the Night" took best picture?) so it was not that huge a list.  I mostly forgot what I learned over the years - though it still bugs me that "The Best Years of Our Lives" beat out "It's a Wonderful Life" for best pic in 1946. 

Another thing I learned from that book was that if you're Canadian and want to win an Oscar - either move to Hollywood or work for the National Film Board.  Fortunately, things have changed.  We've got our own movie industry now, and first class talent.  Witness the special effects nomination for a Vancouver company I had never heard of before nominations were announced.  Special Effect icon_video.gif

Pizzazz Teaching

bc-science-nixon-100124.jpgScience World may be closed until March the eighth - but the show must go on for its annual Iron Science Teacher competition.  If you, like me, did not know there have been previous contests to choose the most informative and entertaining science teaching team in B.C., then have no fear!  Because - our top camera crews here at CBC managed to track down this year's event, not through deductive reasoning or wild guesswork.  No folks, we simply followed the instructions on the press release which directed us to the MacMillan Space Centre - also known as the planetarium.  Iron Science Teacher icon_video.gif

CBC Open House

Five thousand people came to the CBC Vancouver open house.   Luckily, they did not arrive all at once.  So as they filed through the newsroom and the control rooms and the studios, the idea was to give them a behind the scenes look at how we create the news each day.  I decided to make a story about exactly that - how I make a story - about CBC's Open House.  A Day in the Life icon_video.gif

Old Films

Back in the 1960's there was a joke about the easiest way to clear a room was to offer to show off home movies.  But you know what?  Wait a couple of decades and those old films suddenly look really interesting.  They become a window on another world.   


HDTV Antenna

As someone whose youth was spent constantly adjusting the TV antenna above our old Black and White so I could watch Get Smart without all the onscreen snow, I did not have a particularly high opinion of off-air television signals. 

Mike's Day

Well, this is a story I knew was coming but did not want to see.  It's about my longtime cameraman, Mike Johnston. 

Metal Heads

So if you were to put on an art show featuring the creations of women welders, how many Canadian artists do you think you could find? 

Doritos Guru

A Vancouver man tries to win an online ad contest for a new corn chip.  I play the uninvited party guest.