Now here's a mafia you wouldn't mind messing with.
Several decades' worth of Creative Communications students (known in local media circles as the "CreComm Mafia") gathered yesterday to pay tribute to a colleague, mentor and friend: departing Red River College instructor Steve Vogelsang, who'll be moving to British Columbia at the end of the school year.
The combined send-off and reunion, held at The Roblin Centre downtown, drew upwards of 250 people — many of them current CreComm students who were taping their final "Live At Five" newscast of the year. The majority, however, were recent graduates and media colleagues who'd returned to thank Vogelsang for the impact he's had on their careers.
"It was in second year that Steve said to me, 'Martin — you should try anchoring,'" recalled recent CreComm grad Shannon Martin, who entered the program intending to study print journalism, but now works as Global Winnipeg's late-night anchor.
"I didn't want to do it, but I did — and I loved it. Steve was the turning point in my broadcasting career."
Vogelsang joined the RRC team in 2002, following a long and distinguished career with CKY-TV (aka CTV Winnipeg). In the ensuing years, CreComm students have benefited greatly from his knowledge and experience, and from the countless curriculum-related initiatives (among them, the aforementioned "Live At Five" newscasts) he's had a hand in implementing.
"Being able to share that experience with enthusiasm and humour has made him a favourite here on campus," said RRC President Stephanie Forsyth.
Vogelsang, for his part, seemed genuinely touched by the tributes. While addressing those gathered, he referenced common qualities among the so-called mafia, including "a certain hunger, a certain desire, and certain self-destructive tendencies that cause you — against your better judgment — to put up with instructors like me."
"When you survive something like that, you're bound together with all those people who survived it right along with you," he said. "That characteristic is what brings us together as alumni. It's what makes it easier for me to go, because I'll be taking that with me."
Click here for more information on RRC's Creative Communications program.