Interview with JJ Carrier

10425392_10154329610705088_1450494822597874936_nJJ Carrier was a staff reporter, and correspondent, for 45+ media outlets in the Maritimes and New England from 1986 to 2016, including more than a dozen publications in the Brunswick News media chain, based in Saint John, N.B.

The N.B.-based company includes numerous award-winning weekly and daily publications which represent the Campbellton, Moncton, Saint John, Bathurst, Fredericton, Woodstock, Sussex, Perth-Andover, Nackawic, Miramichi, Grand Falls, and Edmundston regions. As a staff contributor to these publications, he met daily and weekly deadlines for their print and on-line editions, encompassing up to 40 stories/columns, and accompanying photos, per week.

He has also freelanced for numerous radio and television outlets in Canada and the U.S., including CBC-Radio, and CBC-TV (The National/The Journal). He was also a guest contributor to Rogers TV’s community channel network in N.B. as an colour man/announcer, as well as a guest panelist for its highly-rated weekend call-in show It’s Your Call, which drew more than 15,000 viewers every Sunday from 2002 to 2008.

After a tenure at the Dalhousie News as a sports editor/staff member for eight years from 1986 to 1994, Carrier moved on to the Campbellton Tribune as a senior reporter (1994-2008) for the Restigouche East region when his previous paper merged with his new one.

His duties, as with the News, also included investigative (crime) reporting, political reportage of the municipal, provincial, and federal levels in Canada, community-based coverage, photojournalism, feature writing, entertainment coverage, business reportage, photo essays, advertising sales, and spot photography.

During his eight years as a News staff member/correspondent, the publication won five top newspaper prizes at the annual Atlantic Canadian Newspaper Awards (ACNAs). He was also recognized with his division’s 1993 ACNA Best Sports Coverage prize, and was runner-up in the category four times.

With The Tribune he won, or shared, numerous ACNA and regional prizes for news, sports, and photography, including the 2002 Sport NB Media Award, marking the first time a community reporter, and the first indigenous (Acadian Metis) scribe, won the provincial prize for excellence in amateur sports coverage.

While with The Tribune, Carrier also covered numerous national and international events, including a dozen sports at the 2003 Bathurst-Campbellton Canada Winter Games, national cross country skiing and biathlon events in Charlo at the Les Aventuriers venue, and an early 1990s Russia-Canada pre-Olympic hockey series.

A noted columnist, he has received international recognition for his Sportsfile sports column, his movie essay/history column Screen Shots, and his television column Remote Control, which reached 100,000 readers per week in a half-dozen publications and on-line sites, including groups as diverse as the Canada Media Fund, Wikipedia, and the CBC.

As a Brunswick News staff member, Carrier was promoted to be the new sports editor of the Bugle-Observer in Woodstock in 2008, a twice-weekly publication, where he joined an award-winning staff which eventually took home two more ACNA Best Newspaper awards from 2008 to 2011 and one Canadian Newspaper Award in 2010 for best publication in its category on the national level.

While with the Bugle-Observer, he had similar duties to his tenure with The Tribune, but he also took over editing and layout duties of its sister newspaper, The Advertiser.

After a tenure in semi-retirement after a successful three-year battle against diabetes/partial vision loss which began in 2013, which stymied his return as a media member, he returned as a freelance reporter in 2017 in hopes of continuing his career as a correspondent, columnist, or contributor on issues he is passionate about chronicling, for print or for on-line outlets.

A 2000 inductee to the Belledune (N.B.) Wall of Fame as a builder, he also has volunteered for more than 100 charities since 1973 in New Brunswick and Maine.

He was also the chairman of the Chaleur Local Service District in Restigouche East from 2003 to 2005, the largest LSD in the province of N.B., a region which entails more than a dozen communities.

Tell us about yourself.

As a child, What did you want to be when you grew up?   QB for the Cowboys…

What were you like at school?  Were you good at English? Advanced in all my classes, but my specialty was History and Current Events

What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer? SI, NFL Football and The Ring

 Why do you write? In my blood…

 Where do your ideas come from? Whatever inspires me in the moment…I also draw upon all my experiences and views for non-assignment work…

Describe your writing practices. 35-50 minutes at a time, with three edits every 10 minutes with that time frame…

What is the hardest thing about writing?  What is the easiest thing about writing? Hardest? I’m the only person who writes like me…Easiest? I’m the only person who writes like me…

Do you ever get writer’s Block?  Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? No, but every writer has their own battles. Sticking to your vision helps.

 Any amusing story that happened to you as a writer? When one of my readers claimed someone else was writing my stories. I told them “go back to smoking your hash councilor…”

Do you think about readers and their reactions when you write? In journalism, of course. You need to connect with your audience.

What advice do you give aspiring writers? Keep writing every day. Rinse, recycle, repeat.

What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process? As a reporter, that you don’t own your copy and you can get sued for something published decades before if incorrect.

What would you have done differently if you could do it again? More chocolate breaks.

Something personal about you that people may be surprised to know? I have worked for three billionaires and interviewed three.

What is your favorite simple pleasure? Vintage CBC programs.

What is your favorite quote?  The truth as you wanna hear it? I can’t do that. You couldn’t afford me.

What’s next for you? Onward and upward.

Where can readers discover more about you and your work? JJ Carrier on Facebook and my YouTube channel at JJ (Governor) Carrier





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