A look at Rosemary Westwood’s reporting style

Rosemary Westwood possesses a unique and noticeably different writing and reporting style than many other journalistic pieces that I have come across. She reports on stories mainly regarding important global issues, business and economics. To make these rather dry topics more interesting and reader-friendly, however, she adds in humour and offers a different than usual perspective that one can usually expect in an article. This was proven in her most recent story “Is pope the worst job ever?” where she wrote with a mildly sarcastic tone about the negativities of being the new pope, ideas that would most likely not have occurred to most people initially. Westwood’s sources are usually highly important and relevant individuals within the topic of which she is reporting. For example she quoted a former member of the Swiss Guard for her article on the pope, and the Bank of England’s deputy governor for her article “England’s upside down interest” on the Bank’s idea of introducing a negative interest rate. Westwood tends not to rely much on her own opinion on the topics she writes on, showing the benefits of striving for objectivity in the deliverance of facts within a story. This is shown in her article “The most energy efficient light bulb in the world?” where she presents the facts without bias towards the company, in order to inform her audience about the potentially revolutionary new light bulb. In this respect, she speaks both with her own voice and using sources in her reporting, while still maintaining objectivity. In certain stories, mainly those regarding some form of human interest, Westwood will draw on the experiences of individuals to introduce her readers to the topic. She did this, for example, in her recent article “Should Canada make it easier for immigrants to send money home?” where she opened by introducing one Canadian immigrant’s story of sending some remittances before speaking more generally about the topic and its facts. She additionally did this in the article “A First Nations fix” where she started off by mentioning the plight of a specific First Nations community in fundraising money and expanding their community before branching out to the generalities of the expansion of the First Nations. Stylistically, it is evident that there are similarities between Westwood’s various articles and one can differentiate between her articles and those of other journalists. Yet, she still maintains enough variety in her choice of topics and coverage of events that a reader will never tire of her work.

Similar or dissimilar?

In a story about immigrant remittance in Canada, Westwood begins with a more personal approach, highlighting a specific individual’s story of how he has been sending money from Canada, back to India over the past 4 decades before launching into a more general description of the topic. The article on the same topic by CICS News actually used Westwood and her article as a source and related back to it several times. The articles are fairly similar, except the one written by CICS gives slightly more detail regarding the global statistics of remittance in relation to Canada. Both articles mentioned how Canada is one of the leading countries for immigrant remittance, as we have no government regulation on it aside from some taxes. Additionally, both Westwood and CICS touched on the benefits of remittance, like how it can be even more effective for international development than foreign aid from the government, in some cases. However, Westwood’s writing style for the piece definitely seemed to have a more personal, and conversation feel than that of CICS, which felt more clinical. It seemed as though CICS’ article was meant to be more informative than engaging, while Westwood’s had the best of both worlds. Aside from using Westwood as a source for their article, CICS drew information from various global banking firms such as Western Union and various statistic providers. For Westwood’s article, she used World Bank as a source to collect information about Canada’s remittance, such as how much money per capita is being sent out, and where. Also, Westwood used colourful diagrams and photos to provide some context and add something extra to her story, which made her piece more engaging and interesting to the reader than the article by CICS. Overall, both articles were very well done and interesting, but Westwood’s style and presentation of the information was more attractive and engaging as a reader while still providing all the necessary facts to fully understand the topic.


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The Beat

            Staying true to her “beat” of global current affairs and economics, Rosemary Westwood recently covered a story regarding “Canadian Appreciation Month” during February in Dallas, Texas. The launch of this event was fabricated by luxury hotels, malls and theatres as an attempt to lure Canadian consumers across the border to spend even more than the average $340 million that Canadians already spend per year in Texas, according to Westwood. The article is short, and to the point, clearly addressing the problem that so shoppers travelling to the states can cause for Canadian economy, as Canadian spending in the U.S has gone up 7.5% since Ottawa increased tax-free allowances at the border last June (Westwood). This decision had lead Canadians to spend a record breaking $5.2 billion while shopping in the U.S in the second quarter of 2012 (Westwood), which is clearly beneficial to our American neighbours, but not so much for Canadian based corporations. Despite the briefness of the article, Westwood impressively got a hold of Anthony Wilkinson, the head of tourism for NorthPark Centre, an upscale mall participating in “Canadian Appreciation Month”, for quotes. He stated “a $500 Michael Kors bag is probably going to be about $300 in Dallas”, which Westwood humorously quipped about after, remarking that one would need to buy 5 to make the $750 plane ticket worthwhile. This story displayed Westwood’s engaging writing style, as she can make a seemingly boring story about travelling shoppers interesting. However, I would have liked to see a little more detail in the story, because I found that after she had sparked my attention with it that it just sort of ended and if left me with wanting to know more about it, which I had to go elsewhere for. Otherwise the story was an exemplary piece of journalistic writing and I’m eagerly waiting to read more of Westwood’s work.

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News Apps for iPhone

Two new Apple applications I downloaded and thoroughly enjoy on my iPhone:

1) Newsify: similar style to that of the $4.99 “Reader” for the Apple MacBook Pro, allows you to look at many different news stations separately, or on a single collage-style page.

2) Summly: definitely partial to this app out of anything I read the news on. It shows you all the most important news stories in any given niche, shown in an attractive, easily assessable format that’s great for those who aren’t the most tech savvy (i.e. moi). 

Introduction to journalist Rosemary Westwood

            Rosemary Westwood is a Canadian journalist and broadcaster who currently works as an editorial intern and writer for Maclean’s Magazine. She has a wide range of experience that clearly allows her to excel on covering a variety of different topics, especially stories regarding global current affairs, politics and economics, with just the right amount of sass and humor thrown in to keep her readers interested. However, this does not mean that she can’t be serious when the occasion requires it, such as when she reported on a story about the death of a young man while snowboarding in British Colombia. Westwood began practicing journalism in 2008 at the Edmonton Journal as a reporter, and has since moved onto producing at CBC, freelancing at BBC in the United Kingdom, writing in Columbia, then freelancing at BBC Radio, the Toronto Star and finally at CBC Radio before starting at Maclean’s in December, proving her evolving career to be colourful and exciting over the years. It’s fascinating reading the work of someone who has worked in many different places, whether those places are in Canada or different international hotspots, because you know that their work can provide diverse stories and ideas. Also, the fact that Westwood has so much experience in such a short amount of time is admirable because it proves that if you have talent and dedication, as she does, it is still possible to succeed in modern day journalism. I subscribe to Maclean’s, and have always had a high level of respect for the magazine, as well as an even higher level of respect for women that have made in far in the profession of journalism. These two factors combined with the captivating and interesting writing style and story choices by Westwood form the reason for why I have chosen to cover her work for my blogging experiment.




There’s been a youtube video by a man named Suli Breaks that has been popping up all over my news feed lately. It’s called “why I hate school but love education”, or something to that effect. 

Most people think it’s absolutely brilliant, but personally it’s driving me a little crazy. To begin, if you would like people to take something seriously, do not do it in the form of a poorly done rap, or “spoken word”, as Breaks calls it. But to get past the ridiculousness that is the medium in which he put forth his video. There are some obvious flaws with the message in it-self, that were the prime cause for much of my eye-rolling throughout the video. 

Basically, I understand and appreciate that we all have issues regarding how “the system” works and that we all would like to “stick it to the man” in one form or another, but just because one man had a shitty time with university doesn’t exactly give him the right to essentially state that education is a worthless product of the capitalist society we live in. I mean, of course to some extent it is, it propels the state that Western culture is in by allowing people to expand their minds and set out for careers that will hopefully allow them to obtain the maximum amount of money as they can. We shouldn’t lie to ourselves, we all crave affluence, although not all can achieve it, which is evidently where Suli Breaks comes in.

All I’m trying to say is why upset yourself with arguably one of the best things Western society is able to give us, that being our education system, when there are so many issues that should be more concerning than teaching young adults how to fend for themselves in a society where that is our only credible option. 

Another thing, everyone knows that school and working towards a degree isn’t the only way to enhance your intelligence. Gaining common sense and people skills are extremely important in life as well, and are things you cannot necessarily learn from a lecture of a textbook. However, it is nearly impossible with the way modern society is to be taken seriously without at least some form of post-secondary education, even if you are the most charismatic or sensible person out there.

This isn’t really just my own personal (albeit slightly biased) opinion, either. It’s simply how things in our society work; there is no denying that fact.

An employer will choose the individual with the better education every. single. time. The fact that Breaks brought up how successful people such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg and whoever else, are college dropouts is doing nothing but giving people false hope that they can still achieve something great by not taking their education seriously and trying to maximize their full potential.

The people that this happens to are the exception to the rule, and extremely brilliant, so regardless… 99% of people are going to need some sort of degree if they want to find themselves in that elite category of people and even then it’s not a guarantee. 

So I’m not exactly trying to say that we should be playing along with what the system wants us to do (i.e a degree from a post-secondary institution)… But it’s almost better if you do.

Being aware of these expectations is key.

While at times ignorance can be bliss, it is better to realize the role you are playing in society because without that awareness it will be able to use you even more.

This was perhaps Breaks’ problem. While he sees the faults and potential outcomes of the education/school system, he was not realizing just how far you can get ahead by coming to terms with the faults and using them to your advantage.

Becoming a mindless slave to education system isn’t the point here, it’s realizing where you stand and what is wanted from you, then turning the tables and using this knowledge to empower yourself, to get ahead.

Because in the end that’s really what it’s all about… right?

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Takeaways from the Term

            As the rollercoaster ride that was the first term of university life is coming to an end, one is able to reflect upon all the things we have been taught in our Introduction to Journalism 1000 course.

One of the major lessons I have learned from the course is how crucial the history of news is to our understanding of modern day journalism. We have learned how journalism has evolved, especially over the past hundred or so years. This brings us up to speed on why/how things in the journalism trade work the way they do. This causes one to question the extent to which current news will affect news in the future.

The influence of technology was emphasized throughout the course. There was also importance placed on being “computer literate”, or understanding how technology works, because journalism is constantly adapting to how technological the world is becoming. This leads us to question if printed forms of news are obsolete, as even most of the work submitted in the course is electronic and on our blogs.

The News Values that we learned about in the course are extremely significant as well. It shows us all the important aspects needed to make a great journalistic piece. That in itself is extremely valuable as we go on to become journalists, because it provides a guideline for what an audience wants and needs in news. However, I wonder how the News Values will change as journalism continues to conform to the age of technology – or will they change at all?

As I have already expressed, there should be concern for the state of journalism as it adapts to modern technological time. An issue that fuels this concern is how Sun Media Corp. recently cut over 500 jobs and closed two print presses. As the largest newspaper publisher in Canada, the fact that Sun Media is cutting all these jobs does not make one hopeful for the future of print journalism. However, these are the changes we are forced to accept as new technology is being continuously brought out into the world of journalism.