“You are the light of the world… you are the salt of the earth.” (Mt 5: 13-14)
I was blessed to have an opportunity to spend 15-weeks learning about Catholic media at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. As a student enrolled in Chaminade College School’s Specialist High Skills Major, Information Communications Technology sector program, I was to fulfill the requirement of a 2-credit or 4-credit co-op at a placement that pertains to the sector.
At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, I decided I wanted to do my co-op for a semester so to get the full experience. However, even with that decided, the most important piece of the puzzle was missing: my placement. Where did I want to do my co-op?
Flashback to May 2018, I was part of The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News workshop. As part of the weekend of workshops, the group of youth had the chance to visit Salt and Light Catholic Media’s offices and studios. While I has some fears being a show host for the day, in front the camera and teleprompter, the visit left great impression on me. Months later, I contacted Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media whom I met during the visit about a possible co-op placement and he welcomed me with open arms.
Forward to September, with the help of my co-op teacher, Ms. Rosaria Aquino, we made official contact with Ms. Gita Hosek, the Director of Production and Programming whom Fr. Rosica had referred me to. After much waiting, an interview date was set.
I started placement the Tuesday after the interview. My supervisor Esmeralda Blasi who was also the Production Coordinator was very helpful in introducing me to the various people at Salt and Light and also become more familiar with the work spaces. The other people of the team were very welcoming, allowing me to be part of the team.
For the duration of my placement, I spent most of the time working on preparing transcriptions and time stamping for closed captioning of shows. To me, it was a very humbling task – to sit and set text to the shows so that the captions would appear on screen to aid the hearing impaired or those who would find these captions helpful. My mother often used these captions when watching TV shows in her first years in Canada since she needed could not listen to the English dialogue quick enough. Therefore, I knew how helpful these captions are.
“Don’t you get bored doing captions?” some of my friends in my co-op class asked when they found out what I was doing. My honest answer was. “No”. I loved preparing the closed-captioning. Doing so gave me the chance to get a preview of many of the shows that were to be broadcasted that week. Not only so, as I worked, I was “forced” into listening to these shows carefully. I was exposed to many new dimensions of Christianity. I remember being exposed to the concept of Liberation Theology through an episode of Catholic Focus with Allyson Kenny and Rev. Naim Ateek. On the other hand working on the Where God Weeps episodes helped me to see the state of persecuted Christians all throughout the world. In other words, each show I worked on opened a new door of learning for me, not only on the technical side, but also on a spiritual side.
Some weeks after starting placement, I also started running the teleprompter during show recordings in studio. I often helped Fr. Matt Gworek and Noel Ocol during their recordings of Perspectives Daily and Vatican Connections. These two shows were news shows and by being present for these recordings, I was able to receive my “dose” of the Catholic news, especially during the duration of the Synod of Bishops on Youth and Vocational Discernment in October. I also assisted with the teleprompting for these two shows in French hosted by Charles Le Borgeois and Emilie Callan. While my French was not the best, I was able to learn some new French words here and there just by listening and running the teleprompter.
Other memories I have was the time I sat with Jay Turchansky in the editing suite as I learned and watched him edit an episode of Witness. Honestly, it was overwhelming as I sat in the suite with windows opened as Jay pieced the whole episode together. I have edited short films for Communications-Technology courses, and with my level, it would take typically one to two weeks to edit a 5-minute film.
I had a hands on experience as I actually worked in an editing suite with Philip Boudreau, a university-intern, editing Fr. Matt’s Advent Reflection videos. It was an interesting experience learning from others who have had much experience as they chose shots, added b-roll in a very efficient manner.
I am owe a big “thank you” to first of all, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB for his support of my intentions to fulfill my co-op placement at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. I have learned much from him, not only about his leadership style but rather, many inner qualities: He is a great father figure, amazing contributor to the Church, an exceptional homilist and very humble.
I am also grateful for the guidance of Ms. Gita Hosek and Ms. Esmeralda Blasi who were my supervisors throughout my 15-weeks at Salt and Light. They have accompanied me and offered their assistance on the technical side, especially during the first weeks at Salt and Light.
My last words of gratitude go to the Salt and Light team from the production department to the master control department… I thank them for their hospitality and assistance in making this co-op experience a positive one.
I now have a much deeper respect for those who work in Catholic media. It takes a team of people who are passionate about the work they do In order to deliver to the Catholic audience salt that would flavour their spiritual food and light that they can use to shine on others.