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Spotlight on alumni

Jane Adey

She is the face and the voice that delivers the very last of the day’s news to many St. John’s homes. Jane Adey, a passionate storyteller, lover of language and words and a TV documentary aficionado, recently spoke with our contributor Bojan Fürst.

BF: Why journalism?
JA: I always, always loved writing and would spend a lot of time journaling and loved my English classes. It was always something that people encouraged me to do. Everyone in my life encouraged me to write. I was also a fairly inquisitive person, as a young person, too. I think that was a natural direction for me to go in. If you like to ask questions, and you like to write, you might make a good journalist [laughter]. Plus, my dad was eager for me to go that way.

BF: Was he a journalist?
JA: No. He was a teacher and my mom is a nurse, but they were always very encouraging of that career path.

BF: How did you start your career in journalism?
JA: I did my BA at Memorial University in English and French and then I just started applying to journalism schools because I decided that this is what I probably want to do. So, I went to Ryerson in Toronto for their graduate program. I had an internship at NTV as part of the schooling that I did at Ryerson. When I graduated from Ryerson, they offered me a job so I was able to come back home right away and I worked there for four years. I started asking around CBC to see if there was anything available. I’ve grown up watching CBC and have always aspired to work at CBC. I had a great experience at NTV. Really great place to learn. You’re really thrown into the thick of things. You know ... sink or swim. I eventually came here (CBC) and that’s where I’ve been for nine years now.

BF: Your show, Here and Now Late Night, is new.
JA: Yeah, we started in October so it’s pretty exciting. Of course, CBC used to have the late night news show News Final hosted by Glenn Tilley, who is legendary. It was actually a decision that came from Toronto. Every shop in Canada now has a night-time news cast. The same thing, the same format. I think it’s going over well here because people in Newfoundland have an appetite for news and they are quite savvy about what kind of news they want. I think they are delighted to have a late night newscast now. At least that’s the feedback I’ve been getting. People say: “I just tune in before I go to bed ... It keeps me up to date...”

BF: I think it has to do with how connected they are to their communities.
JA: Definitely. I also think it has to do with our long history of storytelling. Even though you’re probably finding more and more today there are shorter items and punchier newscasts with many more items in it, I think it still goes back to that need to have stories told to us. I think that’s why people in this province love news. Journalists who come here to work from other provinces comment on that and on such loyal viewers and listeners. Everybody knows what’s going on. And I think you’re right, we are fairly tightly knit. There are only 500,000 of us. We live in a village. [Laughter] We all met each other at one point. I love that about Newfoundland. It can also make it difficult – you know everybody and everybody knows everything about you... [laugh]. It’s really nice. I find that people in this province are supportive of their media. At times we get raked over coals. Probably deservedly so [laugh].

BF: What was it like to be at Memorial?
JA: I really loved my experience at Memorial. Only good memories from there. I had an opportunity to study French at St-Pierre at the Frecker Institute. There was a class of probably 30 of us and we became very tightly knit. It was a lot of fun. You live in a completely different culture. You learn to speak the language. We were so fortunate to live in Newfoundland and to have that opportunity – that Memorial provided that opportunity for students. I really value the education that I got from Memorial. I think it really set me up well for all aspects of life, not just academically. [...] The English degree makes you love language, makes you love words, makes you love communicating and admiring how other people have been able to communicate their ideas.

BF: Among the stories you’ve done for Late Night so far, what stands out?
JA: Weather. [Laughter] Because we’ve been on only since October, that’s why a lot of people tune in. What’s the weather going to be like? What can I expect tomorrow? Those stories stand out and the fact that this is a very vibrant city. I think we are accustomed that the news ends at five o’clock here, but this is a growing city. I think that surprised me a bit because there is always something going on at night time and we are not stuck for stories.

BF: The longer documentaries you did — how did you enjoy that?
JA: That, to be honest, is my passion. Long form storytelling is my passion. I feel privileged every time I can do a documentary for radio, or television or Land and Sea. I find it so satisfying to become involved in people’s lives and really tell meaningful stories that people will remember for a long, long time. [Those] are incredible experiences. Not just the opportunity to travel to some interesting place in this province, but the people you meet are some of the most down to earth people I could ever imagine meeting. I just like the whole process. You come up with an idea and you think: “Is it going to work?” And before you know it, it’s on the air, people are calling in and saying I really enjoyed it... it’s just so satisfying in that way. I have been given many opportunities here at CBC to do it both on the radio and television. The possibilities are really endless once you are under this roof.