[vc_row][vc_column][us_page_title align=”center”][us_separator show_line=”1″ line_width=”30″][vc_column_text]Jessica Gares is a strong presence in the media community through her role as a senior producer and correspondent at CKNW. For the last four and a half years,she was the senior producer for the Bill Good Show but that all changed when Bill signed off for the last time over the summer. We sat down with Jessica to learn more about her experience in the changing media landscape and how we can better work with her as PR professionals. Here is the next edition of Five Questions with…Jessica Gares.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get started in media?
I completed my undergraduate degree at SFU in communications, knowing the importance of having a solid education as my foundation. This allowed me to develop not only my communication skills but also my critical thinking and writing skills. I then attended BCIT for broadcast journalism and worked part-time on the promotions street team at Corus Entertainment just to get my foot in the door. When winter holidays rolled around, I opted to intern full-time at CKNW instead of relaxing and enjoying the break from a full BCIT course load. I learned a lot, worked hard and made connections at CKNW which ultimately paved the way to my first job there.
With the recent changes at CKNW and with radio overall, what is your favourite part of the job?
Bringing original stories and issues to air that might otherwise go untold. One of my recent radio documentaries featured a 17 year-old girl who tried the drug Molly for the first time and almost died. After the piece aired, I heard from many parents who thanked us for sharing the story because it sparked a new drug conversation with their teenagers. Telling stories that have the power and potential to make a difference is my favourite part of the job.
What types of stories most resonate with your listeners?
It’s our job to make the stories we tell matter to our listeners and it comes down to the way we frame it and how we choose to share the story. We extend our reach by creating dialogue and debate on social media for any given topic, segment or story.
How has the transition been to your current role after Bill Good’s retirement?
At first it was difficult to imagine CKNW without Bill because I grew up listening to him and had the honour of working alongside him for over four years… but as they say, the show must go on. It’s an opportunity for growth and in my new role as a producer and correspondent, I’m spending more time on air which has been both fun and challenging. I’m allowing my personality to shine through more on air and I often have the chance to share my take on a big, developing story each morning. Talk radio is a dialogue medium. Everyone has their opinions and we want to hear them online and on-air.
What are the best approaches when pitching you and some of your PR pet peeves?
It all comes down to the why. Why should I care? Why should our listeners care? Make it relevant. Have a news hook. As yourself how this would appeal to a wider audience and sometimes a single tweak in how the pitch is framed can make all the difference. I get dozens of email pitches a day and my biggest pet peeve is when the sender hasn’t done their homework on CKNW or the show they are pitching to.
Jessica is a busy journalist in the local media market. Her days typically start just before 6am and she is always on the lookout for the next great story. We thank her for time in answering our questions. Be sure to follow Jessica and CKNW on Twitter.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]