People and places

What a ride it's been by Brett Nielsen

What a ride it’s been
by Brett Nielsen

Th-th-that’s all folks

This year, the Carillon gave me the excellent opportunity to have conversations with several influential and interesting people every week. I really appreciate the opportunity and had a lot of fun discussing topics that people are passionate about. For the final instalment of my People and Places column, I’ve put together some of my favourite moments of my interviews.


CBC Morning Edition host Sheila Coles on the secret to hosting a morning show:

“Lots of coffee. I’m not sure I can answer that other than telling you that you’ve got to be curious and enjoy hearing peoples’ stories. When I was trying to get in journalism school, they asked me – this is many years ago – why I wanted to be a journalist. I told them because every day is different. You learn something different every day, and I’ve always been really curious about what makes other people tick. That hasn’t changed in all these years. People are capable of doing the most reprehensible and the most admirable things you can imagine, and I never get bored of looking at what makes people tick.”


Regina Leader-Post journalist, and University of Regina alumni, Austin Davis on covering tragedies:

“If I was able to tell happy stories for the rest of my life, exclusively, I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t want to do that. But that’s just not the reality. That’s part of the news. Part of why I got into this gig is because I’m fascinated by people and the human condition and to help people respond to things – how they react to both the good and the bad. On one hand, yeah, this is the kind of opportunity you get if you do it long enough. But covering tragedies isn’t why I got into the business (laughs).”


Cassandra Ozog, a PhD Student and sessional instructor at the University of Regina and First Nation University of Canada, on the most challenging aspect of teaching:

“(Laughs) The students. No, you know what? You go into teaching a university course and nobody really teaches you how to teach that. It’s really knowledge-based, so unless you have an education background, you’re kind of going in there blind. You’re basing it on how you learn best. Well, that’s great for you and some of your students will learn the same way you do, but others won’t. And so I think the most challenging aspect is trying to connect to each and every one of your students in different ways and figuring out how everybody learns and how you can balance everything.”


Queen City hip-hop star and University of Regina alum Kyriel “Pimpton” Roberts on his early days of making music:

“I wouldn’t say I was a troubled youth. But I used to have issues that would cause me to lash out at the world or whatever, and I just got into poetry, which allowed me to express myself and let out my anger or any kind of concerns I had. From there, I just started free-styling. I think that movie 8 Mile came out and everyone around me also started rapping, and I was just naturally good at it, so I started doing it at parties… and it eventually became my number one pastime outside of school and education and hanging out with my friends. At an early age, I decided that that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a performer.”


University of Regina educator, former federal NDP political candidate and Grateful Dead fan Dr. Marc Spooner on

“My big knock about (that website) is there’s no guarantee those people were actually in your class. When I was looking through a lot of them, I knew some of my friends had filled it out with sort of funny things – people from back home who have never taken my courses at all (laughs). I’d say a good teacher helps people jump that gap between what they know and what they don’t know… It’s about pushing students – it maybe sounds a little trite – but to reach their full potential. I wouldn’t go by that site very much; I would go by talking to students who have actually taken my class. I think there you’d get a more accurate picture of my teaching style.”


Queen City attorney Noah Evanchuk on whether or not law is a rewarding profession:

“In all seriousness, it depends on the day. I have a lot of frustration in terms of laws that get passed. Being a lawyer has both made me more acutely aware of the socio-economic problems facing our country. It’s also made me have a huge mistrust towards state action. It’s made me more empathetic, and it’s made me more cynical. Being a lawyer can be rewarding in a number of different ways. It’s opened my mind, that’s for sure. It’s made me appreciate, above all else, freedom of expression. It’s made me question the abilities of the state to legislate on people’s rights and freedoms. It’s probably overall made me a better progressive intellectual.”


Dr. Ryan Meili, a Saskatoon-based physician and author, on his legacy:

“Well, you started the interview with this idea that I’m working to help others. If I’m going to be remembered, I hope people think that’s what I was here to do. That’s simply what I’m trying to do.”


Former CBC broadcaster and current U of R spokesperson and community affairs advisor Costa Maragos on his career in broadcasting:

“There were times when you doubt yourself, of course, right? That’s how it is. But, when I look back, I did pretty well [with] everything I wanted to do in the business. I got to be a reporter, I got to host my own shows over the years on CBC Radio. I went from a small market to a medium market, where I did the morning show, to the largest market in Canada, which is Toronto, then I got to work in television. I got to anchor, I got to report, I got to do many documentaries, host specials, work on CBC Newsworld, which was then the CNN of Canada. I got to really do everything I wanted to do… I had been nominated for a Gemini Award three times but never won. Then the fourth time, we won, and my name is on a Gemini Award. And, at that time in the later stages of my career, I felt I had pretty well accomplished everything I wanted to do. There are always more things I could’ve done, I suppose, but it was a really good career.”


Australian-born Leader-Post journalist Emma Graney on what’s kept her in Saskatchewan:

“(Laughs) I like Saskatchewan. It’s an unusual, funny little place. Having lived in big cities – I grew up in a city of 2,000,000 people – when you move to somewhere like Regina, it’s almost like a big country town, and it has that sense of community that often gets lost in big cities… Covering politics is an awesome gig and I’ve been really, really lucky. We haven’t had a hankering to move anywhere else, so that’s why we’re still here, really.”


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