By Tina Shaygan, February 27 2018 —
Former Postmedia reporter Jen Gerson is now the journalist-in-residence for the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. According to Alison Abel, Faculty of Law manager of marketing and communications, the journalist-in-residence “acts as a resource for students, faculty and staff to learn how to better work with the media.”
“While our journalists-in-residence are also doing freelance work while they are here, they teach classes, speak to student organizations and provide media-relation tips and tricks to our faculty members and students,” Abel said.
Gerson, who was a reporter for the Calgary Herald and later the National Post, said she was excited to provide workshops and training to faculty and staff at the U of C.
“I’m hoping to speak to some classes and be around and available for faculty and students who want to bounce media-related issues and questions,” Gerson said.
Abel added that lawyers and journalists work together in various ways.
“The media can be very helpful to lawyers to help explain the law in an easy-to-understand way and explain some of the key concepts that may appear in a case or a trial,” Abel said. “Working with the media can also be useful when lawyers are trying to bring change to the justice system.”
According to Gerson, an understanding of the media is essential for anyone looking for a career in law, particularly those interested in public advocacy or criminal law.
“If you’re going to cover cases of any public interest at all, you’re going to be talking to the media very regularly,” Gerson said.
“Having a relationship and understanding of how to talk and work with journalists, as well as journalism ground rules are very valuable for people who want to go into law,” Gerson added. “You’re going to want to learn to navigate and work with media organizations to get the public interested in the subject area and advocate for those areas.”
Gerson added that in light of #MeToo, she is particularly interested in providing media training for women who may find themselves in similar situations and need to speak to reporters. Gerson’s office is located on the fourth floor of Murray Fraser Hall and she is available to students and faculty for media training.
Gerson recently published a story in Maclean’s magazine that revealed a conference call from the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus after former leader‘s Patrick Brown’s sexual assault allegations. She also co-hosts Canadian political podcast Oppo with Canadaland reporter Justin Ling.