Lights, camera, action: Media camp connects nonprofits

Veterans of journalism gathered around the auditorium at The Hamilton Spectator to share their knowledge at the seventh annual media relations summer camp.

Non-profit organizations in the Hamilton area were the “campers” at training session.

“I feel like a kid in a candy store, you know, I’m full of sugar. There is just so much information and it’s so valid and current,” said Mina Wahidi, the founder and executive director of Compassion Society of Halton.

The aim of media camp was to provide workshops for non-profit organizations; to help them better understand how the media works and how to use the media to benefit their organizations.

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Over 30 nonprofits had a chance to learn about story pitching, media relations, social media and on-camera training (Photo by: Sherry Mousavi/Hamilton Media Guild)

Kurt Muller, journalist and coordinator of the journalism program at Mohawk College was one of the veterans at the event. Muller hosted a hands-on workshop regarding on-camera interviewing.

“I wanted to help them in a variety of ways, both in putting stuff online, shooting good video, knowing how to pitch and also realizing that they could tell their own stories.”

Muller’s workshop gave campers an opportunity to learn how to present themselves in on-camera interviews. They were given constructive feedback by editors and reporters.

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Linda Rourke (Cable 14) and Kurt Muller (Mohawk Journalism) demonstrated good on-camera practices (Photo by: Dalia Ashry/Hamilton Media Guild)

Muller said it made sense to have journalists teach at the event because organizations need to be aware of how journalists think and work before attempting to get their attention.

“A lot of times they aren’t aware of some of the tips I give them in terms of shooting, and how to get access to the media, and how television works,” he said. “A lot of people see television but they have no idea how it actually works. So I think it was illuminating for them.”

Wahidi said she came out with a better understanding and a new respect for the media.

“I thought media was for news, which it is, but there is a place for success stories and important events in the charity world and non-profit.”

Jane Allison, manager of community partnerships at the Spectator, said this was the most successful year.

“The exciting part is when you see the light go on for people and they finally get it, and they understand how it works, and how they can use it as a tool to help their organization be better and stronger.”

Allison said connecting non-profit organizations with the media was the key goal of media camp.

“I think it focused them on what media relations is. What the media job is and, also more importantly, what it isn’t. That’s also sometimes equally important to know and understand and then how they can work better with the media. Not to be so frightened by it. They are people, they have a job to do, and they want to do a good job,” said Allison.

The campers left looking exhausted but beaming with the excitement of their new knowledge.

Andrea Fernandes

Andrea Fernandes is an aspiring journalist with a passion for writing and performance. Her need to tell stories has led her through an academic career specializing in Theatre, English Literature and Broadcast Journalism. She is constantly searching for a new story, adventure, or way to keep her mind in overdrive. Sitting still was never in the cards for her. Andrea has spent time at CTV National News, Canada AM, and Fashion T.V. Her ultimate goal is to be as feisty of a reporter as Lois Lane.

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