The Swift Current, Sask., native, who has an undergraduate degree in jazz performance, worked in film, sold art and helped save a historic theatre in his hometown, grew up listening to and watching CBC. “It was our window onto the world.”
After his first successful pitch, Nakonechny went on to work on other documentaries for the national broadcaster, as well as segments for CBC programs like C’est la Vie and Homerun.
But despite his real-world journalism experience and proven storytelling chops, Nakonechny felt the grad diploma would provide him with the tools he needed to make it as a reporter. “It gave me the skills I needed to work in the newsroom.”
Learning how to put together a television package, getting acquainted with journalism law and figuring out when to use a term like asylum-seeker and refugee are all lessons the have served him well post-university. “The classes were very practical and tailored to reality,” he says.
While in the program, Nakonechny received the Sportsnet Diploma Scholarship in Journalism as well as the Susan Carson Award, which he said helped ease some of the financial and emotional burden that came with his decision to go back to school.
“When I applied to the Sportsnet Scholarships, I was a 35-year-old graduate student with a spouse and a one-year-old. It was a tough time for our family,” Nakonechny wrote in a letter thanking the donors. “Their generosity made a difference in my life; I felt grateful,” he adds.