Por Hélder Ramos
Os portugueses — e descendentes destes — estão presentes em todos os ramos e profissões, e exercem todo o tipo de cargos em Toronto. Apesar da falta de sucesso académico por parte de muitos alunos luso-descendentes, os que decidem continuar os estudos acabam por ser tão bem sucedidos como qualquer outro aluno, de qualquer outra etnia.
Conversámos esta semana com Steven de Sousa, um jovem luso-descendente, nascido em Toronto, filho de pais que imigraram de São Miguel. O Steven é editor do jornal The Bulletin, dirigido primariamente aos professores e funcionários das faculdades da Universidade de Toronto, um cargo que é "um verdadeiro desafio", como ele nos confessou, devido ao nível de instrução — e capacidade crítica — do leitor habitual do jornal.
Steven de Sousa formou-se em Francês na ala bilíngue da York University, Glendon College, e em jornalismo na Ryerson University. Trabalhou na CBC e já ocupou diversos cargos na Universidade de Toronto.
Ficam aqui as palavras que trocámos com ele.
Sol Português: - Steven, tell me about your current job.
Steven de Sousa: - Last year I became editor of The Bulletin, a newspaper targeted largely at faculty and staff at the university — that's about 14,000 very scrutinizing, highly critical readers. Shortly after taking over, we redesigned the publication to give it a fresher look and lead the creative process, instead of hiring an outside company. They did an outstanding job. We went with our own graphic designers and let them go "nuts" — which they did. The paper is also widely distributed to media who often obtain story ideas from it and government officials, mainly Queen's Park.
S.P.: - Where did you study?
S. de S.: - I began studying French at the bilingual college — Glendon College — of York University in 1988, before switching to Ryerson for their journalism program. I graduated from there in 1993.
S.P.: - Did you start working in your chosen profession right away?
S. de S.: - My first real job in the business was as a production assistant for CBC-Radio's The Arts Report. I then took a job as an editorial assistant with the CBC television news service. During my two years at the CBC, I got to meet a lot of interesting people and work on some neat stories, most memorable of which was the subway crash. I worked as a chase producer for Newsworld on such programs as Politics and the CBC Morning News and field produced for Sunday Report. It was an incredible opportunity to work with some very talented people. I left in 1996 during difficult labour times at the CBC. There was a wildcat strike by some technicians in several cities across the country one evening and that cemented my decision to leave.
S.P.: - So how did you obtain your current job?
S. de S.: - I was still pretty fresh out of school and not living at home — the thought of missing even one day of wages when I had student loans and other debt to pay off was scary. That's when I called the University of Toronto, whom I had occasions to deal with as a producer/writer looking for expert commentary. I asked if there were any openings and couldn't believe it when the answer was yes. So I had one day to get my resume in because the job was closing. Within a few days, I had a new job, albeit a junior one, and a new career in public relations. In six years at U of T, I've held five positions and continued to grow professionally.
S.P.: - What type of material do you cover for The Bulletin?
S. de S.: - I've covered for the university community and promoted to the outside community several beats, including health and medicine, science and technology and the environment. I even issued a news release in Portuguese — com a ajuda da Professora Manuela Marujo, claro — when we gave an honorary degree to former Portuguese president Mário Soares. My job used to be primarily to promote scientific research — and for somebody with a strong background in the Humanities and very little in the hard Sciences, it was a challenge. But I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with some of the greatest minds in this country, and indeed the world.
S.P.: - What advice do you have for students thinking of pursuing journalism?
S. de S.: - I would encourage budding journalists to do a lot of reading and listening to TV and radio current affairs programs and to absorb as much information as possible. Also, never throw away anybody's phone number because you never know when they might turn out to be a good contact for a story. I would suggest they do as much writing as possible _ school papers, community papers, even if it means not getting paid. It's all invaluable experience and the beginnings of a portfolio. Travel a lot and experience life. Journalism schools are increasingly being viewed as excellent training ground but they go hand in hand with a good education and life experience.
S.P.: - Do you consider yourself more of an "objective" journalist, or a "subjective" columnist, and why?
S. da .S.: - The reality is that everything that is written is subjective on some level. Our own life experiences inform the types of questions that we ask, which in turn determine what kind of information we get, which then obviously determines what kind of story will be written. I edit a newspaper that provides information to the faculty and staff of the university community. We tell the everyday stories of the people that breathe life into this place as well as provide a place where faculty and staff can find out what the official university position is with regards to key or controversial subjects.
O portal do The Bulletin pode ser consultado em www.newsandevents.utoronto.ca/bulletin.