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Arts student nabs coveted Gzowski internship

By Mandy Cook

As a self-professed news hound, linguistics major Catherine Burgess says receiving word that she had been selected as a 2011 CBC Radio Peter Gzowski Internship winner was her best “tip” yet.

“When I received the call from one of the members of the selection committee, she could probably hear my jaw drop on the other end of the line,” said Ms. Burgess, a 22-year-old native of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s.

As Memorial University’s choice for the annual internship opportunity – there are four in total; the other three hail from Trent University, McGill University and Simon Fraser University – Ms. Burgess will spend a week training at the CBC’s national broadcasting centre in Toronto.

There, she will receive hands-on experience and learn how to make great radio from some of the country’s top journalists. After the Toronto stint, she will be employed for the rest of the summer researching, writing and producing broadcast stories for the CBC’s St. John’s bureau.

As a student journalist, Ms. Burgess has written a regular column for Memorial’s newspaper, the Gazette, and contributed podcasts to the university news webpage

She attributes much of her solid writing, research and verbal presentation skills to the comprehensive experience of her arts degree, but specifically references the strengths and varied expertise of her professional writing diploma instructors.

“It was quite a pleasure to learn speech writing from Professor Shane O’Dea, particularly as he is Memorial’s orator,” she said. “And others, like Marie Wadden’s investigative writing course, were such a fantastic, intensive experience. It has all been a great preparation for a career in journalism.”

Calling the opportunity the “ultimate summer job,” Ms. Burgess said the internship is a solid step in the direction of her desired career path. She intends to work in the field of broadcast journalism, and has applied to embark on a bachelor of journalism degree at a mainland university.

Meantime, she is focused on the experience that awaits her. She says she is inspired by Peter Gzowski, the legendary host of CBC’s radio show Morningside, and whose legacy inspired his colleagues to establish the internship program.

“Peter Gzowski was the voice of Canadian broadcast,” she said. “He’s Mr. Canada. He started out in print like me and moved into broadcast. Really, I am just so honoured to be part of a program associated with Peter Gzowski and his history.”