Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Big Interview

So, my alma matter has been making the news recently. NAIT was recently toying with the notion of canceling 13 programs as part of budget cutbacks. Most controversial of these cuts was ending their captioning & court reporting program. Since the graduates of this program go on to provide captioning services, and it's the only institution in the country that teaches it, that decision raised the ire of a lot of hard-of-hearing advocacy groups.

However, it's all moot now, as today NAIT's governing council decided against canceling the programs, and they'll find some other way to make up the money.

I kept getting distracted during the coverage, though, because whenever they went to NAIT's president Sam Shaw for a comment, I couldn't help but think, "Hey! I interviewed him once."

Yeah, it's true. When I was attending NAIT to get my diploma in broadcasting, I interviewed him for a news story. I was a little bit out of my league, but it was one of those times where I thought, "What they hey?" and just went for it.

At the start of my third semester in the program, my news professor was laying down the rules of her class. "Some interviews you get," she said, "Will be of such importance, that I'll have no choice but to give you a high grade. Heck, and interview with the president of the college would probably get you an instant 100%" I made a note of that offhand comment. I made a promise to myself. If my grades were low in news, and I needed something to get them back up, I'd go get an interview with the president.

As semester three started drawing to a close, news was one of my better subjects and my grades were never in fear of slipping. When it came time to file my final news stories of the semester, I was stuck for an idea for a story. As I was wandering the halls of NAIT looking for inspiration, I walked by the president's office and though, "Let's do it. Let's interview the president." I entered the president's office, walked up to his receptionist, and pleaded my case. She went into the president's office to see if he wanted to do this. She left the door open, so I heard the president say, "Sure, why not? Sounds like fun!" The receptionist came back out, looked at the president's calendar, and said to me, "Will tomorrow at 2 be OK?"

Next day at 2, I showed up at the president's office with my recording equipment. I was escorted into his office, I sat down, we shared pleasantries, and then I fired up the tape recorder and went to work. We spent about 15 minutes talking about life, the universe, and everything. NAIT's always had overcrowded parking lots, so I asked about the parking problems and what he was doing to fix them. We'd also just been through a provincial election, so I got his reaction to the election and what it would mean for post-secondary education. There was one thing that came out of the election that caught my eye and was eager to get his opinion on.

Back in the late-1990s, during another round of government restructuring, Ralph Klein did something very controversial in education circles. He decided to take the department of education and the department of post-secondary eduction and amalgamate them into one super-department: the department of learning. School boards and post-secondary governing councils were aghast at this concept, citing that while it might look logical on paper, the two forms of education were actually vastly different and one person could not look after it all. So, then, after the 2004 election, buried in the back pages, was that Klein had decided to split the department of learning in two, and once again, there was a department of education and department of post-secondary education.

So, of course, I had to ask the president how things would be different now that post-secondary education once again had their own individual voice in cabinet. He said it was a very, very, very good thing, and that post-secondary institutions would no longer have to compete with elementary schools and high schools for funding.

I got about three good news stories out of that interview, and as my professor stated at the start of the year, got 100% on it.

Just one of those fun, silly things where it was worth it to go for it.

No comments: