Journalist and professor Jeremy Copeland shared the journey of his career with UTM students. Professor Tracy Moniz asked Copeland to speak to her journalism students, and welcomed any other students who were interested.
Copeland grew up in downtown Toronto, attended UWO, and graduated with a political science degree. He travelled for a year and then attended King’s College to study journalism. He then moved to Vancouver and became a casino dealer.
After 18 long months of creating and looking for work, Copeland landed a job at CBC in Toronto as an editorial assistant.
“It’s basically a job a 13-year-old kid can do,” Copeland explained. He delivered newspapers and booked guests at first, but later became a senior writer and then a producer.
When Copeland’s wife scored a job in London, England, Copeland called a contact from BBC World TV in England. Within 15 minutes Copeland was hired. While in England, Copeland was able to work on stories like 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan.
A few years later, Copeland embarked on a new adventure. He bought a camera, a laptop, and the video editing software Final Cut Pro, and moved to New Delhi, India. Copeland worked for CBC, BBC TV, and BBC Radio, and wrote for The Globe and Mail and CBC Online. While he was working in India, Copeland interviewed the Dalai Lama at his home.
After two years in India, Copeland went to Iraq to help run two elections and a referendum. Copeland’s new challenge was reporting for live TV. Afterwards, Copeland joined the TV station Al Jazeera English. He covered stories like Jack Layton’s election night speech and Vancouver gang violence. Seventy percent of the time, Copeland worked as a video journalist. He wrote, shot, and recorded his stories, then sent them to Washington to be edited.
Copeland said that he wanted a work/life balance. He attended Carleton University for one year to become a teacher. He and his wife now live in London, Ontario, where Copland teaches at Western for the master of arts and journalism program.
Copeland said the stories he loves to share are stories people don’t hear about, with people who are very passionate. “I’m still a journalist,” he said “I like to meet people and tell new stories, but it’s nice to have a base.”
Copeland recently covered the U.S. elections, and continues to take on the work he’s most interested in.