Less than a year after graduating from Red River College’s Creative Communications program, 23-year old Kyle Jahns has landed a dream job – covering the 2014 Olympic Games from Sochi.
“Covering curling at the Olympics has been an experience I’ll always remember,” Jahns says (via email). “I was here for a few weeks before the Games started and was able to watch the entire buildup. The Main Press Centre and venues went from being nearly empty to absolutely full. Watching all of this happen built up anticipation for the event.”
Jahns is covering curling for the Olympic News Service. It’s a busy job – with three draws a day, he works up to 14 hours in a 24-hour period.
“Before the competition started I was responsible for researching and writing stories about curling. There were small features on the players and articles on the basics of curling for the media who might not be as familiar with the sport.”
Now that the event is underway, he watches the Games, conducts interviews, writes, and sends content through the wire.
“Our job is to focus on all of the teams, players, and coaches at the Games. We’re here for every single game and aim to get all of their reactions at some point or another.”
As an Olympic News Service reporter, it’s necessary for Jahns to keep his cheering in check when working.
“Being a curling fan and watching from the tribune can be difficult because I’d like to cheer. But that’s something that has to be kept intact while I’m wearing my Sochi 2014 uniform.”
As a curling reporter, Jahns has the ability to help increase the sport’s popularity – especially in countries other than Canada.
“I’ve always considered the work I’ve been doing one part journalism and one part sport promotion,” Jahns says. “I think curling has hit a peak in Canada. However, there’s room for it to grow in popularity around the world. I believe if the sport grows in popularity in other countries, they will develop stronger teams, which would create even more parity in the sport. Then I think we’d be able to watch the sport grow more in Canada.”
This isn’t the first time Jahns has been to Russia. Last year he was selected for a World Curling Federation internship and worked as a trainee journalist during the World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi.
“It was a test event for the Olympic Winter Games,” Jahns says. “Between being recommended by the World Curling Federation, and working at some other world and Olympic trial events, I received an interview with the Olympic News Service and found out I had the job a few a weeks later.”
Some journalists work years without making it to the Olympics, yet Jahns made the transition from intern to Olympic reporter in just a year – something he chalks up to three things: networking, knowledge of a niche topic, and a little bit of luck.
“I wouldn’t be at the Olympic Winter Games if it wasn’t for the contacts I made in the past year, my past experience in the sport of curling, and being given the right opportunities at the right time,” he says.
Jahns curled competitively as a junior, but says his accomplishments outside the sport are much greater than his accomplishments inside of it.
“I’ve scored an eight-ender, which is quite rare, and that’s one of my proudest sports memories. Though, once I started focusing on school, curling took the backseat. However, I’ve been able to curl on ice a few times while I’ve been covering events.”
Although Jahns says the education and hands-on experience he received while studying Creative Communications prepared him for “any work situation,” he credits one project in particular with getting him where he is: the Independent Professional Project (IPP). The IPP is a yearlong endeavor wherein students propose, complete and market an original project that is meaningful to them.
“I created a position as media coordinator for the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour and operated their social media and website, and created news items from their events. I used the writing from that project as work samples when applying for the internship.”
When asked about his favourite aspect of RRC, Jahns is unable to single out any one thing.
“I loved everything about it. I went to school with many like-minded individuals. I had some inspiring and encouraging instructors,” he says.
“Even though I like the position I’m in now, I still wish I could sometimes go back and experience it again. Except for the all-nighters. I could do without those.”
Profile by Stacy Cardigan Smith (Creative Communications, 2006)