Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Hitler Creeped into my Ethics Class

To say that people have fumbled through another Tuesday of class could quite possibly an understatement. It has had its entertaining moments to say the least, and as I write this, that trend continues.

So far we've had the ever-irritating annoyance of some moronic child pulling the fire alarm, a professor who suggested that we had "mad it writely" as opposed to write it madly. There have also been several wisecracks from across the room, although that tends to fit the daily norm. But a conversation started thanks to the mentioning of Adolf Hitler has set aside this day from the typical Tuesday duldrums felt on this first day of class of the week.

To give it some context, the class was our first in a 7 class series on ethics. As you would imagine, this was the basic introductory lesson to give us all a little perspective, talking about the Ethics of Justice versus the Ethics of Care. One of the questions that came up for discussion was, and I am paraphrasing since I cannot remember it exactly: If your boss told you to do something and it hurt someone else, are you responsible for what happens to the people who are hurt? A legitimate question for a conversation on ethics.

Suddenly a hand was raised from the back of the classroom and the comment that set the tone for the rest of the day was made... 'Yeah, look at what happened with Hitler and the Holocaust!'
An interesting combination of stunned silence and uncontrollable quiet laughter followed the suggestion.

To be honest, it is a very legitimate issue to bring up in the context of the conversation. What threw everyone was the massive scale of the example used to kickstart the class dialogue. But I digress.

Several people followed with various comments, ranging from how way too large a comparison it was all the way to why it wasn't an appropriate subject matter. Me being a former World War II history specialist, I took the time to sit back and keep my mouth shut. Part of me really wanted to partake in the hilarious discussion that followed, but I thought that sitting back and enjoying was a better idea in this instance. One of the few where I can actually say that.

So the day continues with mishap after mishap. Thanks once again to Hitler, another collection of people are having a day that seems to lead to disaster. Well, not on that level...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bidding my Rogers TV a Fond Farewell

Any of you who have known me professionally for the past few years know of my trials and tribulations with Rogers TV. What you may not know is that I have recently decided to take an extended, and perhaps permanent, leave of absense from my former employer. The decision wasn't easy, but it is certainly a long time coming.

I have been with the company since January of 2003, when I first stepped on to the scene in Brantford as the latest journalist looking to make a name for himself in the anti-climactic rise to media stardom. I can vividly remember that first interview with JoAnne Rizzo at the Brant Curling Club as she got ready with her team to compete for a chance to represent Ontario in the national championships. Who would have thought that humble beginning would have exploded into what has been a very intriguing career.

Throughout the years I have found myself with one contract after another, whether it be as a studio producer, newsmagazine producer, sports host, or any number of other roles that needed a temp fix. Something like 10 contracts across 5 1/2 years as I recall, although I certainly lost track a long time ago. And despite the numerous calls to come and help, never once did the call come when it came time to fill a position full time. To this day, I still can't figure out why.

There have been a few stumbling blocks along the way that certainly may have painted a negative picture within management. Two incidents stand out, although the fall out from the primary incident was followed immediately by the signing of my new contract. And the second was just recent, a few wayward fans of Swap Shop who seemed to take offense to not having Giovanni host their beloved show. Either way, there is not enough of a negative track record to explain the number of times my name has been overlooked.

But bitching isn't the point of this post, reflecting on an incredible time with my second family is. Five and a half years were not without their accomplishments. Over 200 news and newsmagazine stories, most of which were the leads on their program. Around 200 live productions as the producer. Hundreds of hours of work shooting and editing for news and sports. And one of my favourites, an on-air personality for a total of eight different sports in just a 3-year span. It has been one amazing run.

It seems fitting that it would come to an end with an election broadcast. Elections were a bit of a favourite of mine, and I have always taken pride in the coverage I have helped to provide. The federal election last week made the 7th straight election I have covered for Rogers TV, and I would dare say it was one of my better live TV performances. After all, you never saw my notes or a Blackberry in my hands, I didn't need them. Nor should have anyone else had they done their jobs right. But I digress...

I just want to say to all of the friends and colleagues who have been with me at some point during this amazing run, thanks so much for everything. It has been an incredible run, but it is time for me to say farewell just one last time...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Getting your priorities straight

I have been racking my brain over what to write about in my blog, but today I finally came up with a reason to write.

About a month ago I purchased tickets to tonight's hedley concert at Cenntennial Hall. It was my treat to Victoria and I to a busy first 6 or 7 weeks of school, both of us adjusting to new programs. It was going to be a nice night out mid-week to see a band whose music both of us find ourselves singing along to in the car.

Last night I started to realize that the current amount of school work was making for a tough balance, and that I would be cramming my time in my Tuesday to do assignments before heading to London. I was still convinced that the concert was a good idea for a good stress release for both of us, even with Victoria having two mid-terms for her Criminology program on Thursday afternoon.

Then the second shoe dropped, and the decision became harder, and not. My friend Ken, my broadcast partner for Inter-County Baseball on Rogers TV, lost his father to a rare form of cancer on Sunday. He was just 48 years old. Such a shame...

I found myself thrown into the debate of whether I could skip class in Hamilton long enough to get to the funeral home in Cambridge before picking up Vicki in Brantford and then moving on to London for the concert. I know I need to be there to support my friend, but I spent $100 on concert tickets...

A few minutes later, I realized that my priorities weren't where they should be. I suddenly realized that I wasn't thinking straight, and it all became clear...

School is important, being there for a friend is important, missing a concert is not important. There are priorities in this life that we have to realize, and sometimes things can cloud our judgement. Losing $100 on concert tickets will mean nothing in the road map of my life. But doing well in my course will. Being there for my friend will.

These things truly matter...