(Photo by Jordan Mady.)
Stittsville news has been covered primarily in print for a long time. Sacred Heart student Devyn Barrie is trying to change that.
At the age of 16, Barrie has started a news-based podcast covering Stittsville called 960 News.
How does a 16-year-old become interested in local news?
“I listen to 1310 News every day and that’s what inspired 960 News. They even share AM frequencies, so that’s a bit of an homage,” he jokes.
Barrie said he started listening to radio news last October.
“I used to listen to CFRA a lot but the conservative talk was driving me crazy. I was listening to 1310 News because I was doing co-op and I kept getting bussed around, working in an office so I needed something to do while I was working. Radio was a great idea. And then the shooting downtown happened. I was listening to 1310 News and their coverage was amazing. It kept me hooked. I’m very passionate about it and thought I would like to do that,” he says, adding that he’d been listening to 1310 News on his way to the interview for this story.
Stittsvegas In The Morning’ the 960 news talk show, was the first podcast published by Barrie on July 25. His first 20-minute news report was released two days later. He plans to do continue this on a weekly basis.
“It’s interesting because, on the weekend, all of the radio stations go on auto-pilot. So we’re kind of the only ones doing anything. It works out kind of nicely,” he says.
Barrie has no formal journalism training and admits that running the podcast has its challenges.
“It’s really hard. You have to have your ear to the ground, you have to be on social media. That’s the best way to find out about breaking news. StittsvilleCentral.ca already does such a great job of that and I thought I could compliment it,” he says.
Barrie rides his bike to locations in order to interview and cover stories. He says he hasn’t been turned down, but to not let that fool anyone.
“I’m super shy. I’m very shy but I’m trying to overcome that. Eventually it’s just going to be a muscle thing,” Barrie says.
The are two overall goals tied into the podcast: to set the foundation for a resume before he attends his prospective broadcast program of choice at Algonquin; and simply doing what he enjoys.
“it’s getting me out there. But also, I’m just doing what I like to do,” he says.
Thought it’s taken some time to hone, he says he’s sure that this is what he wants to do for his career.
“It just took so many years of thinking. You know, everyone thinks they know what they’re going to do in grade two or something. And then it changes. But there’s just this allure to news and broadcasting that I can’t quite place. I’m quite certain of it. I’ve never been so sure of something like this before,” he says.
Besides his passion for news, he says Stittsville will eventually require more voices.
“[Stittsville] is getting bigger. There are cities that are the size of Stittsville. About 30,000 people. I love Ottawa. I love saying that I’m from Ottawa. That’s really special. But Stittsville’s also really great. Eventually we’ll have LRT in Stittsville, though that may be a few decades off. It’s one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Ottawa. And to have more local news voices, is probably going to become essential,” he says.
(Last June, Barrie wrote an article for StittsvilleCentral.ca about Sacred Heart’s new student leaders.)
He acknowledges that there may be a young person stigma stopping people from taking him seriously, something he and his contributing friends try to distance themselves from.
“I’ve always been separate from that crowd. I think I mentioned it on the show, one time I was out biking, it was sort of secluded and there were kids blocking the path smoking who knows what. We just try to not do that. And we want to be productive. Neither of us have jobs so we want to contribute to society,” he says.
“Anyone who goes on “Stittsville Neighbours” (a Facebook group) will see that. It’s like constant kid bashing. But they do forget that there are bad apples and then there are the majority of us and the majority of us are not that bad. We’re not that bad. We don’t bite…most of the time.”
He invites Stittsville residents to check him out, saying that they’ll appreciate the younger voice.
“What we do on 960 News is really unique in that we’re the only people, possibly in Ottawa, who do something from a youth perspective,” he says.
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