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Saturday, November 11, 2006

drinking in the library

When I arrive, all the journalists are drinking beer in the library.

But this is a library for booze not books, and is actually the upstairs of the old Imperial Pub, probably named by a very clever student who was always telling his parents "Oh, I'm just going to the library again."

The large room looks like it was decorated in the early 60s and has a strong dusty smell. A jukebox plays oldies in the corner and has probably been playing the same songs for the past 40 years.

A man behind the bar, possibly the owner, looks older than the jukebox, and walks around the entire night adjusting things, his face a permanent frown of confusion.

We're gathered here to talk journalism. There are students from first to third year, and journalists working for the Toronto Star, NowToronto, The Lens, The National Post and CTV. They are here to inspire us, to teach us the truths as well as the tricks of the trade.

One journalist catches my attention in his introduction: "I dropped out of highschool when I was 16, and now I write features about everything." His name is Bill Taylor, and he writes features for the Toronto Star.

While the journalism students grab the proffesional journalists aside for advice, I wave Bill over to my table, where I sit with some other young journalism students. He stays there for the next two and a half hours. He tells stories, we ask questions, and I buy him a drink to make him stay around.

I still don't know if journalism is what I want to do, but I like the idea of writing about everything. In feature writing your always learning, constantly diving into subjects you know nothing about.

Bill tells us about travelling around the world in 30 days, about knocking on the door of a 70-year-old con artist, about eating kangaroo, and fills in the blanks with tips and his morbid sense of humour.

"I never research too much," he points out, "you get the best answers asking stupid questions."

I still don't know if this is what I want to do, but I'm curious enough to keep walking in this direction until I know if it's the right way or not.

If nothing else it will be like a good story, whether or not I'm happy with it in the end, I'll learn a thing or two along the way anyways.

put night for journalists


Anonymous Nico said...

It's funny, there's a pub over here in Chapel Hill that's called 'The Library' too. Ofcourse, it causes the occasional funny & ambiguous situation when you're bound to meet someone 'at the library'.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the Imperial pub, the patio is great during the summer time!

And the people are always friendly!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is a silly question, but... how do you take photos? I really want to start taking more, but I don't know how to just take out my camera and start shooting. Plus people always want to pose, and I HATE that!! How do you make it natural?

7:18 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Imperial pub is definitely a good student hangout!

Anonymous, that's actually a very good question. The trick is to be very discreet. I often pull my camera out and pretend I'm playing with the settings. Sometimes I'll even turn it on in my bag and then pull it out to take a shot. Also, like in this photo, I avoided using flash so as not to ruin the moment. In the end no one even knew I took a photo!

12:20 PM  
Blogger takin chances said...

Being a journalist has been my favorite job so far. You not only get to write amazing stories; you get to live them, too.

8:07 PM  

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