Thursday, 29 March 2012

Journey for Justice

I had never heard of Candace Derksen and “Project Angel” before I read the book Journey for Justice: How Project Angel Cracked the Candace Derksen Case by Mike McIntyre. The murder of then 13 year-old Candace happened four years before I was born, but in recent years, the case came back to life when DNA evidence testing had developed enough to become useful in court.  

Because I had never heard the story of the young girl's death, my initial reaction to the book was shock and curiosity. The author gave plenty of details about the case, the murder and the family, I somewhat morbidly wanted to know more about what happened the night she was killed. I wanted to know why Candace didn’t scream on the night she froze to death in the Elmwood shed, or why she followed her killer in the first place. Of course these details could never be concluded, but I still had some questions regarding the book writing process. 

When McIntyre and Candace’s mom, Wilma Derksen, came to the RRC campus to discuss the details of the book, I was looking forward to what they had to say about writing the book together.  I wanted to ask about their collaboration and what it was like to sit down and go over the details about the days of Canadace’s initial disappearance. I also wanted to learn about how McIntyre decided on dialogue from the day of her disappearance and the days afterwards.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask any of my questions because McIntyre spent much of his time discussing how to write books about murder cases in general.

McIntyre explained that he wrote the book in segments and didn’t go back through the book to do much editing. This shows in his writing because there is a lot of repetition and re-explanation of places and names that had already been brought up. This made the book redundant and exhausting at times to read, which didn't work well for readability. I like that he paid close attention to detail especially concerning the trial and the jury. Despite the details being a little boring, they were important to explain how high of a profile this case had in Winnipeg and around the world.

Journalist can learn from McIntyre's mistake of not going back and doing key edits through out the book, as well leaving out redundancies such as repeating the name of Candace's school and about the pool built in her name at Camp Arnes. Also, because the family and McIntyre worked so closely on the book, it seems like he wrote the book so the family would be pleased with the outcome. McIntyre emphasized their religion and their beliefs which at times were too much for the reader. Journalist who build relationships with the people in their stories should learn to still keep a safe distance so the story's plot does not get lost. And so the story written properly, and not to please the family. 

The book is similar to McIntyre’s column in The Winnipeg Free Press because he likes to use strong soft leads in his longer columns. The leads grab the interest of the reader, and get them interested in the story. Similarly, I felt McIntyre did a great job with the opening chapter leading into the book. He told the tale of a lonely street cleaner who turned out to be Candace’s killer. He also gave the reader a sense of being in the room when the family panicked about their missing daughter. Like his column, he gives the reader the same amount of details about what police officers do to catch criminals, which allows his readers to understand what officers do. Over all, the book read like a series of news columns which stays true to his style of writing.

Because I was still curious about Candace Derksen, I decided to call and ask my mom about what she remembered about the case.  At the time she didn’t have children, and she had just married my dad a few months earlier. My mom remembered the killer’s name, Mark Edward Grant, easily. She told me she couldn't recall if she remembered the details about the case from back then or from the recent years, but she remembered the feelings she felt when she first heard of Candace’s disappearance.

“I was worried there’s a creep out there. You always have to look over your shoulder. But, in retrospect, now that I have children, it would be horrible. There are horrible things that happen in our own backyard, we’re all acceptable of great love and horrible things. There are two sides of humanity.”

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Get Free Stuff, Check Out Some Magazines.

Are you bored? Want FREE stuff?

Wanted to eat sushi off a naked body? Pose next to a Harley? Play street hockey? Listen to some rad music? Watch some stand-up comedy? Drink some free booze? Eat candy? Get on TV (maybe)? 

You can come do ALL those things at:

The Magazine Trade Fair
March 30, 2012 at 160 Princess Street 
(Red River College downtown)
Noon until 4 PM

I know you're probably thinking: "What's the catch? All that stuff is so sweet." 

I know. It is. And the only reason why we're giving out all that stuff is because we're students trying to show off our magazine project...and to get a good grade in P.R. class for organizing an event.
So check it out on your lunch break, drop by if your in the neighbourhood, eat some free food and get free stuff. Roam around check out different booths we've worked very hard on.
We know you're bored, so you may as well.

Here's a sneak peak of our booth at the fair:
sushi magazine

We will have a naked sushi model serving free sushi and copies of Umami PDF's. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Portage Place

Ask yourself: When was the last time I shopped at Portage Place?

For the first time in three years, I went into Portage Place to shop.

I snuck by some kids who were playing on the escalator, and hopped on. Walking around the second floor, I remembered why I hadn't visited the mall in such a long time, despite living and attending school near by.

There are stores I would shop at, but not very often. Bargain shops in particular. Not to say there's anything wrong with these stores, except, I don't know how many times I would go in to buy questionable canned goods and cleaning products.

Four security guards ran by me, while two others discussed what was going on. I wish I was making this up. Really.

I probably sound like such a snob. Like maybe I'm too good for bargain shops and for Portage Place in general, but that's not at all true. I love downtown Winnipeg, and try to support it as much as possible, but they aren't making it easy to.

I found this clip from 1988, about how Portage Place tried to make their stores open 24 hours in order to get more customers to come in. According to the clip, it was a big fail. Which means for over 23 years, Portage Place has been trying and failing.

A few months ago, we had a representative from The Forks come speak to our class about what properties that are managed and owned by The Forks. According to the speaker, The Forks owns the IMAX, which LOSES thousands of dollars of revenue every year. The only reason why they continue to keep it open is, and I quote, "because we'd rather loose money than see another bargain store go up (in Portage Place)."

So what can we do to improve it?

Here's what I think:

Portage Place needs to put in a Safeway or IGA or something that sells quality foods in order for people living in the surrounding area to buy fresh produce and not canned cheap foods. There is a Safeway down Main street, and a Superstore down Ellice, but I'm guessing a lot of people who live in the area, (like myself) don't have cars, and bussing is hard with groceries.

Either Portage Place needs to step it up by getting rid of their dumpy stores, and dying movie theatres and put in more quality restaurants (which would be put to good use on nights when the Jets play or when there's a concert). Or maybe add a store that is no where else in Winnipeg, like Urban Outfitters or H&M, which would force girls like me to go there. Or downsize the mall and make it more business person friendly, like the malls in downtown Vancouver.

Here is a fairly accurate representation of what Portage Place is like now... except on warm sunny days, when there usually is lots of people around.

Next time you're near the big PP, picture yourself as a downtown innovator, and ask yourself:
What does this place need?

Maybe you'll be the one to finally save Portage Place.

Side note: comments have told me there are a few close by food store. So I changed my blog post slightly.