Olympics 2022 series: interview with Sarah Jenkins

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I am ready for my closeup (even though I am behind the scenes). Nolan Cattell

What is it like behind the scenes for Olympic media

I am pretty sure all of you know what is happening right now in Beijing. If you do not, I will tell you – the 2022 Winter Olympics are taking place! Yes, that is right. This is the second round of Olympics in six months! What will you be watching this time around? Maybe you will watch figure skating, curling, bobsleighing, or snowboarding.

This week, the Carillon thought we would take you with us for a bit of behind-the-scenes action. Today, we are going to be interviewing Sarah Jenkins. She is from Toronto, and I discovered her on TikTok. Sarah has 118,100 followers and spends her time making daily vlogs, reviewing books, and showing the best way to have a bath for a perfect night in (and she always has a comfort drink by her side, whether it be a grande pike roast with oat milk or a sparkling beverage!) Now that you know a bit about her, let’s hear about her job on the television side of the Olympics.

What is your job position at CBC and how long have you been working at CBC?

I’m currently the head of the CBC sports digital studio. I’ve worked on and off at CBC since 2016, but I’ve been in this role since 2020!

Did you get a post-secondary education that is relevant for this job?

I did! I went to school for RTA Sport Media at Ryerson, which has always been [one of the] leading media school in the country. Going to school in downtown Toronto really helped me get my foot in the door because my instructors were active producers, directors, and more. I got my first job at CBC when I was only 19 because I impressed some of my instructors.

What is it like working for the Olympics from your position?

My job changes every day of the Olympics, but a typical Olympic shift for me is 12 hours long. I oversee all production out of our studio [which is] five shows, I manage 20+ people and ensure that all our technology is running smoothly. I have to wear a lot of hats, and every day it changes, whether I’m coordinating an interview or producing a show. I need to be able to make lots of types of sports content for different platforms and be able to support everyone in any way I can. I do a lot of work with other producers and leads to ensure we have great content plans across all platforms every day of the Olympic games.

What is the greatest challenge of working on the television side of making the Olympics happen?

[One of them is] how many feeds there are to manage! People don’t realize how many cameras, microphones, and sources go into putting on an event the size of the Olympics. There are so many people involved who all need access to cameras, reporters, and more. I don’t envy those who have to facilitate all that. At any one time we may have over 10 sports going on, all with reporters, cameras, commentators, and more. [This is all needed to] bring a full Olympic experience to Canadians.

What does your job look like before and after the Olympics?

Before the Olympics it’s a lot of prep and planning, and looking at schedules. I’m in lots of logistic meetings and making sure that digital is involved in the TV planning. After the games we get a bit of a break, but we’re currently in the middle of doing two Olympics in six months, so it’s been a really wild time. Normally we get a break and don’t think of the next Olympics for a couple more years. This year it was a really quick turnaround which made it very crazy.

What is your favourite part of your job overall?

Getting to work with other creative people! Also, no two days are the same, which is so unique.

If someone wanted a job in TV production, where should they start?

You can start working on local productions; most of the most successful producers and directors in this country started as a production assistant on local news.

What is your favourite sport to watch in both summer and winter sports?

[My] favourite summer sport to watch is swimming; the intensity in the pool at the Olympics is like no other. For the winter, I love the snowboard events like Big Air, and Snowboard cross.

If there is one sport you could add to the Olympics that is not currently included, what would it be?

Probably cricket; it’s a very large sport in majority of the world. I think it would benefit from being on the world stage.

If there was one Canadian Olympian that the Carillon should contact for an interview, who should it be?

My colleague Anastasia Bucsis was a speed skater and is the host of the players own voice podcast, and she does so much more at CBC. She’s truly the best person on the planet and is the most popular Olympian, and loved by all because she’s the best! I am sure that is not all Sarah has to say about the Olympics. If you want to hear more from her or check out her content, make sure to visit her Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and website. All of them are just wonderful. This just shows how good she is at her job on the side and how lucky CBC is to have her. We hope you enjoyed this different insight of what it takes to be involved with the Olympics because, as you just read, it is not easy. Go on and watch some snow boarding and just see how much air the athletes can take.

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