Alumni, Journalism

Alumni Stories : J.R Manatad and the Journey to Becoming a Journalist

Ever wondered what it’s really like to enter the work force after finishing college? Curious how your program will help you succeed at your first job? Want to know what you can do to stand apart? Alumni Stories is a series where Seneca Media alumni share their experiences from working in their respective industries. From first jobs to interesting internships, this series explores how students take the knowledge they learned at Seneca and apply it in the real world. They’re honest, open, and proud of what they’ve accomplished and we couldn’t be happier to share their stories.


Meet J.R. Manatad

It’s all about the stories. I watch documentaries and the good ones tell a story that isn’t being told. I want to create those.


Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m J.R. Manatad and I’m a new grad from the Journalism program at Seneca College. I’m a host and producer at Filipino TV for a show called Pinoy Crossover where we talk all about basketball from the NBA to local leagues within the GTA and I also have a podcast alongside my good friends from the journalism program called Just Sports Talk. I produce and shoot videos here and there for small projects or even bigger ones like documentaries. Just recently I released my new sports documentary covering Filipino-Canadians playing basketball within the GTA on my YouTube channel. Go check it out!


What inspired you to get into journalism? Why did you choose Seneca?

It’s all about the stories. I watch documentaries and the good ones tell a story that isn’t being told. I want to create those. There are sports personalities and reporters who give their opinions and report on the facts about different types of sports, sports teams, or players and I wanted to be like them. Studying at Seneca College has helped me tell the stories and report on the facts as a journalist the right way, not just on sports but also in general news, politics, and even the weather. Seneca had the right tools for me and my peers to report on the news, whether it be on radio, television, or online.


Tell us a little bit about your internship experience at 590. What did you learn? How did you get the most out of it?

I really loved my internship experience at Sportsnet 590 The FAN. It was a whole new experience for me being in a newsroom setting and at a sports broadcasting company I dreamt of working at. Being so familiar with the Burli News Software at Seneca helped me work at their standards for how they wanted their audio clips to be edited and cut and what should and shouldn’t be recorded. I learned about “Kicker Stories” from senior editor and producer Eric Prime. He taught me that “Kicker Stories” are stories that fill air time, and typically include things like short interview cuts or viral content that should be discussed near the end of a segment or show. I met a lot of great people there from producers,  to editors and broadcasters, and also took advantage of my time by asking for some advice about getting into the sports media industry. Although I was at a radio station, it opened my eyes to starting out in radio, which I originally thought wasn’t an option for me. I will never forget my time at Sportsnet 590 The FAN.


What advice do you have for prospective students considering taking the program at Seneca and becoming journalists?

There will always be stories around you and if you come into a pitching meeting without one it could show that you probably didn’t research enough. When it comes to news stories, especially within sports, there are a lot of them and it doesn’t stop; it’s a 24/7 cycle.

This is a competitive industry. Being a journalist and getting into this industry takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It could be difficult to set yourself apart from others who want the same job as you and it could take years to get a big break. There are people who won’t get a job right away after their internship or after they graduate. But there are ways to open up opportunities for yourself; create your own blog, create a YouTube channel, use social media to showcase yourself and your work, whether you have opinions in sports or like to report on the news.

At the end of the day you just have to keep reminding yourself that your time will come. It may not be right now but if you put the work in, there could be an opportunity that will present itself at the right time.