CHOMP!, Food, media, school, Toronto

Chomp! Magazine: My IPAO award-winning magazine

AWARD-WINNING MAGAZINE: Left to right, front row are journalism students Tevy Pilc (with what’s left of his home-brought kosher meal… while everyone else had steak), Katrina Rozal and Maxx Smith. Back row, left to right are journalism professor Ellin Bessner and Barry Finn of the IPAO.

It’s not everyday you win an award, and even though that day was quite a while ago, you can’t blame me for wanting to publicize my happiness, which came as a result of the hard work put in to make it happen (or something like that…) Continue reading “Chomp! Magazine: My IPAO award-winning magazine”

Awesome, Judaism, life, media

The Definition of Awesome: “A message to ba’alei tshuvah”

After reading a story written by a good friend in this week’s Canadian Jewish News, it’s with great difficulty that I am unable to come up with a sufficient response to justify the story’s awesomeness.

Continue reading “The Definition of Awesome: “A message to ba’alei tshuvah””


Famous people who’ve died in 2009 (this year)- Part 1
Left: When he was cool, Right: When he was crazy.

At first I thought this was a passing trend during the early months of the year, especially in June, but with the recent deaths of Patrick Swayze, DJ AM and Sen. Ted Kennedy, it’s been very evident this year that many  important and famous people have been dropping dead. If there’s anything that ties together all these particular deaths, than someone let me know. I just find very weird how it just seems that I hear in the news everyday nowadays of someone famous is dieing. Like I said it may have been a little more apparent back in June (See Jackson, Michael et al.) and to be honest I thought the unfortunate trend had come to an end, but as I’ve already mentioned – we may just be going through another stream of deaths. Continue reading “Famous people who’ve died in 2009 (this year)- Part 1”

Current Events, Facebook, Israel, Loser List, media, News, Opinion, rants, YouTube

The Hottest Video on YouTube (via Facebook friend links)

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve really gotten into posting and commenting YouTube videos as blog posts. They’re quick, easy and they get the message out.
So far at least half a dozen links were posted on my Facebook Homepage, as well as being posted on fellow blogs such as Proud Zionist.
Here’s a video that my friend Shoshana was just raving about as found me doing reception duty at the office we work at. It includes footage from the Michael Coren Show, a popular Canadian radio show. Here we see Coren flat-out grilling Krisna Saravanamuttu, president of York Federation of Students.

My favourite lines include when Coren says YFS was voted in by people wasting their time rather than studying, and when Krisna says we don’t talk about Timothy McVeigh as a terrorist, rather as a Christian fundamentalist (likening him to an Islamic fundamentalist), and Coren exposes the ignorance. Continue reading “The Hottest Video on YouTube (via Facebook friend links)”

Israel, Judaism, media, Opinion, YouTube

Interesting YouTube Video

I was just sent a link to this video (props to Laura Grossman) and to show that it’s actually an up to date video (and that I’m not finding and commenting on old videos that happened to resurface), its creation date was July 11, 2009 (4 days ago) and there were only 155 views upon first viewing it.

Entitled Islamic Zionism, the video shows a quote in the Qu’ran saying that “Allah” granted the land of Israel to the Children of Israel and that at the end of days, the Children of Israel will return to the land.

Personally I’m a little skeptical of the quote… You think that someone would pick up on it before now and at least post a video about it, thus adding to the long list of Israel/Palestinian videos out there. The user (phoenixred999) who posted the video is a staunch supporter of Israel, having already posted 20 pro-Israel videos, with 231 subscribers as of now. Here’s a screenshot of the user’s YouTube homepage:phoenixred999 homepage

blog stuff, Current Events, Israel, Judaism, media, News, Politics, Random

Stephen Harper at Chabad Flamingo 03/26/09

The following story is a classic example of the kind of day-to-day experiences one can expect as a journalist.

It’s been a crazy day, having been out since 6:20 am. After going straight from morning prayers to school, where we spent the whole morning wrapping up the newspaper, I then spent the next few hours trying to get in touch with actors and journalists to interview them for a project due Monday. I finally called it a day around 5:45, catching the GO Bus back home. I usually walk from the GO Station (after the bus lets me off) to another station where I got on another bus – YRT VIVA Purple – which takes me within a ten minute walk from home. The bus goes down Bathurst from Highway 7 to Atkinson (my stop), where  I notice a long line of cop cars right outside Chabad Flamingo, the synagogue right from across my street. The intersection at Bathurst has Worth Blvd. (my street) on one side, and Flamingo Rd. on the other, and right on that corner is the synagogue.

Wondering what’s up, I call home, maybe they know. My sister answers the phone:

“What’s going on outside Chabad Flamingo,” I ask.

“Who’s the most important person in Canada,” my sister responds.

“Umm… the Prime Minister?”

“That’s right, ” she replies sarcastically.

“Wait, are you telling me he’s at Chabad Flamingo?”

“Well done, Tevy. You’ve figured it out.” Continue reading “Stephen Harper at Chabad Flamingo 03/26/09”

Current Events, media, News, Opinion, Politics, school

Getting friendly with politicians

One of the biggest ethical issues in the world of journalism is the fear of getting too close to your sources. I call it a fear because the traditional notion of getting too close to your sources could lead to the loss of objectivity – a cornerstone of journalistic integrity. I came across this problem firsthand yesterday amidst my reporting for the Toronto Observer. It was a neat experience to say the least, but it wasn’t until after my encounter did I realize that I may have been unintentionally coerced to write my story more favour of the views of my source.

Throughout the week, I’ve been covering a story for the concerning the new Green Energy Act released by the Ontario provincial government. One of the big issues is the possibility of wind turbine systems being erected to use more wind energy, rather than the usual fuel and coal energy we all know and love. It’s particularly important where I’m based because of the famous Scarborough Bluffs, which the province has has it’s sights set for for a the potential introduction of the systems. Many residents in the area have expressed concern for this new process so that’s where my coverage comes in… (I’d love to discuss the story, but that’s not the blog topic.. for more information feel to research to issue on your own;)

One of the first people to be quoted in papers expressing “a not so positive” outlook on the act was Paul Ainslie, councilor for Ward 43 – Scarborough East (the area where the Bluffs are located). I would certainly have to get in touch with him if I wanted to get a better local perspective of the situation.

It’s a little after 5 p.m. and I’m still in the newsroom at Centennial, finally finished gathering information, ready to see if I could contact the councilor. I never intended to actually have a quote by the end of the day, but that didn’t bother me because I knew I had enough time to get his word and still come up with a story by my deadline. I come across his website, where I notice he has calendar. I click on the link, which I hope will give me an idea of his schedule outside of City Hall responsibilities. Not only did I find that, but low and behold there was a scheduled Town Meeting tonight in the area for 7 p.m. Now… normally when these super awesome things come up, I’m never fully prepared; I’m usually missing a camera or recorder, or have no questions prepped. This was not the case!

So after clearing stuff at home, which means no dinner in un-kosher Scarborough, I made my way down to the Cedar Ridge Creative Centre for this meeting. I had to walk a bit of the way (15 minutes) because the TTC buses could only take me so far. It was weird walking down one the streets because some people had stepped out of their houses and literally stared me down as I walked by them… Probably wasn’t me, but hey when was the last time they saw a Jew walk down their street at night?

Once I got there, I was clearly the youngest of the dozen or so people who showed up for the meeting. It’s too bad not enough people show up for these things because they’re actually quite informative and you get to build a relationship with the people running your neighbourhood. The meeting went for about an hour and a half. Later I approached the councilor and began talking to him. We had the interview, which went very well, then told him about our paper and how we’re always looking for stories and issues. I said that we have no problem writing stuff once it gets out, but we suck when it comes to finding it ourselves, or getting spoilers and releases like how big media outlets receive. He understood that, expressing how you put in so much work into something yet little feedback comes in return and its a little disheartening. It’s always great to maintain active network of relationships.

After exchanging contacts, I picked up my stuff and proceeded to leave… then the fun starts…

“How did you get here?” he asks me.

“I took the bus, than walked here,” I replied.

“Can I give you a ride to Lawrence?” (where the bus is)

“Sure… I’m heading back to campus by Morningside and Ellesmere…”

(Here’s where I stuck my foot in my mouth):

“Actually, where are you headed?”

Ainslie: “East around that area, want a lift?”

“Sure! That be great.”

So I got ride to along with the councilor in his big black van back to campus. We schmoozed about the community, school, yeshiva in Israel, how he failed the LSAT 3 times and then started a food business and other things. That was really nice of him. I’m naturally very appreciative when kind deeds are done for me.

But then as I began waiting for the bus, I wondered had I accepted too much from him? I’ve never shied away from accepting a ride somewhere (See future post of rant about public transit) and at that point he was just another human being, who deserves proper respect like any other person, who’d do something for me.

But when writing my stories, including this one, it doesn’t resonate in my mind how nice a source was to me beyond the matters of exchanging information for stories. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them taking the time to answer my questions. Rather, it’s the opposite. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to be cited in newspaper articles regardless of what paper it is. Yes, you have bear in mind the role source plays in stories, but I don’t know anyone who would deliberately shoot down a source (aka with malicious intent) in a story. Unless substantial reasoning exists, that’s not right…

I hope I can maintain a respectful relationship with my sources in the future.