The Night I Met Nahlah Ayed. And Other Superstars

It’s been a week since it happened, but I am still on cloud nine.

Lat Thursday my roommates and I went to a CBC 75th anniversary conference. I got a tweet from CBC letting me know about the event and sent me a link on how to get tickets.

The event, From Headlines to History was a panel discussion at the Canadian War Museum and I was pretty stoked to go.

I headed over to the CBC building because I was supposed to get a ride to the museum. Of course the building had closed by the time I got there at 6:30PM so I waited outside. And then it started to rain.

It was the best thing could’ve ever happened.

Why? Because Lucy van Oldenbarneveld just happened to exit the building and she stood next to me for a whole 45 seconds while she hailed a cab. Oh My Goodness. I was silently screaming with joy inside (imagine if I actually shrieked at her, I would never get a job with the CBC) while I creepily stared at her with awe. She was so real.

She got in a cab and went off to the museum (I knew she was hosting the panel, I am not THAT creepy).

My roommates and I got to the museum just in time to grab a couple of cool translator headphones. The event was bilingual (as everything in Canada is) and because of my lack of luster in French those gadgets really helped! I wanted to bring one home.

I was literally bouncing up and down in my seat when I saw Raymond St-Pierre and Nahlah Ayed on stage. I could NOT contain my excitement to see them in the flesh. When you watch as much TV news as we journalism students have to, it’s pretty surreal to see ‘real-life’ reporters.

I learnt so much during the two hour discussion. The journalists were joined by a historian, Andrew Burtch (he’s a Carleton grad!) and Lucy hosted the panel with Michel Picard.

With so many superstars in one room, one could only imagine the size of my eyes when any one of them looked in my direction.

Granted, they probably were looking at the 100 or so people who were also there. The room was full with boots, umbrellas and ‘older’ people. I think we were a few of the younger ones there.

It’s hard for me to explain to you what the discussion was about.They talked about war corespondency and how they basically ‘do’ their job. It was an enormous boost for the journalism keener in me. Everything that Raymond and Nahlah shared with the audience really “spoke” to me. Yes, feel free to roll your eyes at me.

Nahlah talked about her experiences while covering the middle east. She said that the best kind of journalist lives in the places he/she covers (back to Asia I go?). I ferociously scribbled in my notebook the entire time. I have five pages of advice and anecdotes that I will carry with me for a long time.

Raymond said “if it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead,” I think I’ll remember that for a long time. I used to complain that everything we see in the news is so gruesome, heartbreaking and sad. I suppose there is a reason all the ‘blood’ gets shown on TV. People want to know. A fire in me was ignited by the end of the discussion and I am now so pumped!

The night ended on such a high note.

I spoke to Nahlah. I told her how big of an inspiration she is to me (she was on Carleton brochures and was one of the main reasons I decided to come to Ottawa. I came to Carleton jschool so I could be like Nahlah!) She told me I was sweet and gave me a hug. I almost cried.

(Fact, I did cry)

The whole experience was amazing and I honestly hope that Thursday night won’t be the last time I get the opportunity to be in the same room as respected journalists.

Baby steps, I’ll be there some day.



About Iman Azman

Hello! I am Iman Azman and I am excited you're browsing my page. I am a twenty-something who loves (almost) everything the world has to offer. From books to bunnies, food to fitness, work to working-out and the tiny pieces in between. I am a proud Carleton University journalism alumnus and spent most of my early adult life growing up in magical Ottawa. I love being back in KL and super pumped about sharing this next phase of Life with you! Okay, you know a bit about me now, friends?
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