Tips, tales and tunes…

…from an eclectic life in media, writing and music

Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m a guy who loves to find out about stuff and tell people about it. Apparently, I once said to an old friend “I’m always looking under rocks.” I don’t remember saying that to her, but like what it says about me. I’m a seeker who’s comfortable with both complexity and mystery. Given that every blog has to start somewhere, this one has three types of posts:

Tales from the media universe: 20 years in TV current affairs.
Tips on writing: lessons I’ve learned as a freelancer that just might make you a better writer
Musical notes: anecdotes from a music lover and performer.


  • Tips: Choosing the Best Words

    Writing is all about choices—deciding what to communicate and how to communicate it. It’s about selecting ideas and deciding how best to express them. Decisions about words and sequencing—the order that a writer presents ideas in a piece—are also important. The most important factor to consider when making these decisions is audience (the topic of ...

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  • Tunes: My Celtic Journey

    Celtic music had never been part of my universe, despite the fact that both of my parents hail from Nova Scotia and Dad’s from Cape Breton, the land of fiddlers and ceilidhs. This changed for the better in 2010, when I joined the Sarah Burnell Band. I had brought my guitar and mandolin along on a ...

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  • Top Five Writing Tips

    I switched to freelance writing after leaving the television industry nearly 15 years ago. I began at Stiff Sentences, a company that emphasized collaboration and a commitment to the craft of writing—that focused effort makes us better writers. I continue to apply and refine the tips that I learned and shared there. 1. Never stare ...

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  • Tunes: Keith Richards’ 1979 Concert for the Blind

    In 1977, police arrested Rolling Stones Keith Richards for possession of heroin during the band’s stop in Toronto. He was eventually sentenced to play two charity concerts—fundraisers for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind—in Oshawa in 1979. The tickets went on sale toward the end of my first year at Ryerson. I drained my bank ...

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  • Tales: Politics and Media—Perennial Dance Partners

    Brian Mulroney’s cunning attempt to conclude a deal on Canada’s constitution provided a backdrop for one of the most telling moments of my career in the news media. For me, it perfectly illustrates the co-dependent relationship between the media and public figures. In 1990, I was a reporter-editor with Sunday Edition, the hour-long weekly newsmagazine show ...

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  • Five Speechwriting Tips

    Although I write in all promotional genres (articles, websites, reports, multimedia scripts, etc.), I have had particular success with speeches. A unique and unusual genre, speeches can be great fun to write. Here are a five tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way: 1. Speeches are all about persuasion. The goal is to ...

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  • Tales: A Funny Moment at Canada AM

    Live television news, like any real-time performance, is imbued with excitement and tension because unusual events occasionally occur: a microphone or light fails, a host stumbles or says something unexpected or controversial. Live bloopers can be hilarious and I played a direct role in a memorable one. My odyssey through television news and current affairs included ...

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  • Tunes: We’re not in Detroit anymore

    My sojourn at Ryerson in Toronto was an incredibly exciting time: along with the sense of unbridled freedom and self-expression, there was a world of new foods, cultures, music and friends. I hung out a lot with a guy in the same program from my high school; we hadn’t been close at home, but we ...

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  • Tips: It’s all about audience

    Another way of saying “well written” is “strong connection between writer and reader.” Good writing, like any good communication, involves creating a link between sender and receiver. This is why I believe that the most important factor in any communication project is profound consideration of target audience. This means doing your homework: find out not ...

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