Concordia University

The good, the bad and the critic

Ambre Sachet receives Young Arts Journalism Award finalist’s trophy
October 30, 2017
By Lucas Napier-Macdonald

When Ambre Sachet, GrDip 16, got the link to the Young Arts Journalism Award (YAJA) from her big sister, she applied on a whim, thinking she wouldn’t hear back.

Sachet had just graduated from Concordia with a Graduate Diploma in Journalism, and she was freelancing for various publications, working in her spare time on her film blog “Le Bon, La Brute et le Critique."

Ambre Sachet Ambre Sachet, pictured at Université de Montréal in September 2016. | Photo credit: Kathy Chaput

Then Sachet got an email. “Congratulations,” it read, “your piece 'Tickled' is runner-up for the 2016 YAJA.”

“I was thrilled. I worked a lot on the article,” Sachet says.

The piece, subtitled “When the Funniest Hobby turns into your worst Nightmare,” is a review of David Farrier and Dylan Reeves’ Tickled, a darkly comic documentary about journalists who uncover the creepy cottage industry of competitive tickling videos.

For the article, Sachet actually interviewed one of the directors of the film, New Zealand TV and radio reporter David Farrier. He spoke to her for an hour about making the documentary and being bullied by Jane O’Brien Media, the creators of the occasionally non-consensual tickle tapes.

When Sachet hit the upload button on the article, she knew that she had written something particularly good. “It was one of the best I had done so far,” she says.

Sachet thanks the YAJA committee for choosing her piece “Tickled” as a 2016 finalist. | Credit: Ambre Sachet, Xavier Rosalie

A life abroad

The daughter of a French headmaster, Sachet followed her father to schools far from her hometown of Brest. Growing up, she spent five years in Mauritania and three years in Beijing.

Sachet still had the travel bug when she finished high school, and she headed to Université de Montréal for further studies. She says she chose Canada because she wanted to go somewhere she would have opportunities both in French and in English.

In university, Sachet contributed to the student newspaper Quartier Libre, developing her interest in journalism. When she graduated, she applied to various journalism schools, including at Concordia.

“This graduate program at Concordia was really meant for me,” she says. “I didn’t want to do a whole master’s. I just wanted to come to grips with the facts of journalism, and what Concordia taught me was what you can really do when you go out in the field.”

Becoming bilingual

Sachet’s mother tongue is French, and she did most of her writing in that language before starting the diploma program.

However, with the help of her professors and her editors at The Concordian, one of Concordia’s two student newspapers, Sachet drastically improved her English prose. Writing for the latter, she also found her beat — arts and culture.

“My two amazing editors, Elijah Baron and Lydia Anderson, helped me so much with their comments. I could just see, week by week, the improvements in my writing,” Sachet says.

“That’s an experience that you just can’t have when you go out in the professional world and people tell you, ‘Either you write a good article or you don’t work for me.’” She says that she still holds out hope that some newspaper editors will acknowledge and nurture a fledgling journalist’s talent.

Although most of its articles are still in French, Sachet’s culture blog now contains frequent posts in English, including the Tickled review that garnered her a YAJA. Adhering to the journalistic conventions she learned at Concordia, Sachet hopes to professionalize the bilingual blog article by article.

As she says, in journalism, all editors care about is a person’s portfolio. And she sees “Le Bon, La Brute et le Critique” as hers. Whether her command of both official languages or her mastery of journalistic style, Sachet wants the blog to show off the skillset she worked so hard to acquire.


Back to top

© Concordia University