Articles Student Profiles

CMU student records announcements for the Canada Summer Games

CMU student Jason Friesen recorded PA announcements for the Canada Summer Games.

If you attend the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg this summer, chances are good that you’ll hear Jason Friesen’s voice.

This past spring, Jason recorded announcements that will be broadcast over the PA systems at venues throughout the games, which start tomorrow (Friday, July 28).

The announcements endorse the companies and organizations that are supporting the games, and also let spectators know things like where they can buy merchandise and how they can connect with the games on social media.

Jason, who completed his fourth year at CMU this past April, has some prior recording experience, thanks to taking the Media Workshop class with David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media at CMU.

The class teaches students how to research, write, and record interview segments for broadcast on the radio and internet.

Jason worked with Balzer, recording engineer Darryl Neustaedter Barg, and Canada Summer Games Host Society media relations consultant Monique Lacoste to record the English version of the announcements at the studio in Mennonite Church Manitoba, which is located next to CMU’s Shaftesbury campus.

CMU students Emily Hamm, Jason Friesen, Thomas Friesen, and Canada Summer Games Host Society media relations consultant Monique Lacoste pose for a picture in the recording studio.

Recording the announcements was a fun experience, Jason says.

“It feels like a different level when it’s going to be broadcast in venues across Winnipeg and people from across Canada will hear it,” he says.

“It really makes you focus on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, that you’re doing it right and doing it in a way that grabs people’s attention while they’re at these venues.”

Jason, who is majoring in Communications and Media, is an avid sports fan and a member of the CMU Blazers Men’s Volleyball team.

“Watching sports, you always hear these announcements going over the loudspeaker,” Jason says.

“That will be me now, I guess. It’s a dream come true in some senses—not one I had set my mind to, but it’s neat to take advantage of (the opportunity).”

CMU student Thomas Friesen has spent the past year working as one of five sports and venues coordinators for the Canada Summer Games.

The opportunity came about as a result of Thomas Friesen (no relation to Jason), a CMU student who has spent the past year working as a sports and venues coordinator for the Canada Summer Games Host Society.

In addition to coordinating the venues and volunteers for the volleyball, golf, basketball, and triathlon competitions, Thomas’s work has involved producing the content that will be broadcast over the PA systems at the games. (Read more about Thomas’s experience working for the Games here.)

Like Jason, Thomas is majoring in Communications and Media. He took the Media Workshop class during the winter 2016 semester, which sparked his interest in getting CMU involved when it came time to recording the announcements he needed for the games.

Thomas knew that working with David, Darryl, and Jason would result in a professional recording.

“Just to get CMU involved in that way seemed like a great idea,” Thomas says. “They did an awesome job. They sound great. It’s pretty cool to think we’ll have (a CMU student) being the English voice of the games.”

This year’s Canada Summer Games will include 16 sports and 250-plus events featuring more than 4,000 athletes.

Over 7,000 volunteers were recruited to make the games possible, and more than 20,000 visitors are expected at the events.

The games start this Friday and go until Sunday, August 13. It’s the 50th anniversary of the games.

For Thomas, a lifelong sports fan who has played soccer and volleyball with the CMU Blazers, working for the games has been a dream come true.

“One of the best things about it is just working with people in sport,” Thomas says.

He adds that the passion he’s encountered from his supervisors, colleagues, and the volunteers is palpable.

“That’s probably the coolest thing,” he says, “always seeing that passion everywhere we go.”

Articles Faculty Profiles

Faculty: In Their Own Words – David Balzer

David Balzer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media, has taught at CMU since 2009.

What do you love about your work here?

I love it when I can mentor students to find their voice. I mean that almost literally, because when students first walk into the recording studio, it’s often quite an unnerving and anxious-filled experience for them to speak into a mic and literally discover the tone of their voice—and then on a deeper level, to find out who they are as creative communicators.

What are you researching and writing?

I’ve got two projects on the go. One of them is on the history of Mennonites and radio in Manitoba. I’m looking at two seminal radio programs that originated in the late 1940s and 50s: “The Gospel Light Hour” from the Mennonite Brethren community, and “Abundant Life” from what was then known as the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. I’m trying to understand the way these programs were shaped theologically as well as shaped from a communications theory perspective. My hunch is that exploring these two programs might tell us something about why we’re doing broadcasting the way we are now. The other thing I have on the go is my ongoing “Oh My God” project.

Where or how do students give you hope?

A student who is originally from Uganda walked into my office the other day and she said, “I have a dream.” The media in her country is governed by a very different system—one that doesn’t allow grassroots efforts to easily have a voice or access. She wants to take what she’s learning here at CMU and bring it back to her home country. She’s started to understand the power of media, and she wants to empower local writers and journalists to be able to tell their stories. That’s inspiring. That gives me hope.

What do you most long for in your work?

The thing I really long for is for students to recognize communication as a gift from God. We’ve been given this incredibly beautiful ability to communicate. That’s something that’s fragile, so how do we give that gift away in a way that is life-giving? I hope students will get that.

Do you have any interesting projects underway in the broader community or church?

I’ve developed a series of workshops that I present at schools and churches called, Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful. It tries to get participants thinking about how we use social media, and also presents some very direct how-tos they might use if their social media use is going to be beautiful in the end. I don’t go out there as an expert, but instead I tell people, I’m living the question just like they are.

What saying or motto inspires you?

I have a couple one-liners that I use to keep me focused. One that I like is, “Communicating for Life,” with a capital L. That in a nutshell encapsulates my desire to equip and help people, and also produce things that at the end of the day lead people to capital L Life with the One who created us.

Articles Student Profiles

CMU a safe space for conversations about faith

Ayla Manning initially wasn’t sure she’d want to study at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). But attending CMU on a Campus Visit Day helped change her mind.

“I interacted with the professors who would be teaching me, which hadn’t happened at any other schools,” she says. “It was a sign of how the relationships between students and staff would go.”

Ayla Manning
Ayla Manning, 2nd year student at CMU

Although she had intended to come for only one year, Manning has since decided to pursue her full degree at CMU. A second year Communications & Media major, Manning learned about CMU through Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, which she attended for grades 10-12.

Manning, who doesn’t come form a Mennonite background and is an atheist, says CMU is a great place to “talk about faith, religion, beliefs, and why people think and live the way they do.”

She says she hasn’t felt pressured to “think one way or act one way.” Being surrounded by people who live their lives in a way that mirrors what they think about has encouraged Manning to think about her own perspectives and beliefs.

“Being in a religious environment hasn’t caused me to become religious, but to think about the way I live my life and why I live my life in this way,” she says.

For those who wonder about attending CMU and are not from a Mennonite or Christian background, Manning encourages a visit to “see people in their everyday school lives, because that’s pretty much how it’s going to be.”

Having an open mind and being prepared for others to have different beliefs is also important, she says. “Based on my experience, you’ll never feel pressure, shame, or being left out.”

As one of CMU’s commuter assistants, Manning helps make life easier for students who commute to CMU. Organizing monthly events and being available to answer questions or provide some assistance during times of crisis are some of the services commuter assistants provide. Manning is also a member of Committee Council, which includes representatives from all areas of life at CMU.

While she hadn’t anticipated studying at CMU, Manning expresses appreciation for the atmosphere and people on campus. “People are really nice and make an effort to reach out,” she says.

By Ellen Paulley, Writer & Social Media Coordinator

Alumni Profiles Articles

Storytelling experience in the classroom equips student for work in radio

As a reporter for CHVN 95.1 radio, Matthew Veith is doing what he loves—storytelling.

Veith is responsible for seeking out local news stories, conducting interviews, writing pieces for CHVN’s website, and reporting live. Through the stories he tells at CHVN, Veith says he has seen how God is working in many different places and ways.

“So many spaces we might have expected can be redeemed by God to do incredible stuff,” he says. “God can do more than we can conceivably ask or imagine.”

Using stories to invite listeners or readers to be a part of an event or opportunity is one aspect Veith enjoys about his job.

“It’s very easy to dismiss something if it’s simply being presented to you as fact,” he says. “When something is presented to you in the form of a person, as a unique story, it’s so incredible to experience that.”

Matthew Veith (CMU '13)
Matthew Veith (CMU ’13)

Veith graduated with a BA in Communications & Media from Canadian Mennonite University in 2013. He says his interest in graphic design and photography made a communications degree a logical choice.

“The degree is relatively open ended, but still gave me a lot of instruction broadly in terms of communication and media,” he says.

During the course Media Workshop, Veith gained hands on experience in radio production. Along with fellow classmate Amy Davey, Veith hosted a radio program called Let’s Talk as part of a class assignment.

“It introduced me to how incredibly rewarding, interesting, surprising, and humbling it would be to say ‘I’m here to listen to what you have to tell me,’” he says.

Veith says CMU equipped him with the skills in how to work in radio and that having a BA makes a radio host an interesting interviewer. Having a degree provides the interviewer with a deeper understanding of the larger context within which radio programs operate, according to Veith.

“Doing a university degree gives you a sense of the greater reality of what radio is doing—the idea that media figures into the way that communities sustain themselves, the way public opinions are formed, the way that politics unfold,” he says.”

In all his communications work—Veith also works as a freelance graphic designer—Veith says he is regularly reminded of the importance of storytelling.

“There is nothing more true about communications than the need to keep telling stories,” he says. “I see myself as a storyteller, bringing ideas to people, helping people see things that they might not have seen.

Note: As of early December, Veith has been lending his voice as the talk show host to the morning and afternoon drive shows due to staff transitions at CHVN. He aims to return to the news department in the near future.

Ellen Paulley is the Writer & Social Media Coordinator at Canadian Mennonite University

Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Video – coffee with recent grad Mike Duerksen at Siloam Mission

Mid-afternoon I caught up with Mike Duerksen, Communications and Media grad (3-yr BA 2010), who is about 10 months into his position as Communications Coordinator for an incredible organization – Siloam Mission.

Here’s a bit of what it means to him.


Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Communication students interview on-air personalities

I can never wait to see and hear what the COMM-1000 Introduction to Comm/Media students come back with when they’re sent out to ask Winnipeg on-air personalities and creative communicators what it takes to be successful in the communications industry. Students choose audio or video and tackle what often is their first media production project. It’s all about meeting a professional in the industry, technical production is helpful but content always comes first! Check out a few video and audio projects from this past year, 2010-2011.

Cameron Friesen interviewed several team members at Handcraft Creative, one of Manitoba’s premier new media companies.

Bronwynn Fenn went down to Winnipeg’s Hot 103 to interview radio personality Ace Burpee.
[audio:|titles=Bronwynn Fenn Project – Ace Burpee interview]

Nathalie VanderZaag sat down with Heather Plett, who was working as Director of Resources and Communication at Canadian Foodgrains Bank to discover creative communications in an NGO context.

Articles Graduates 2011

Alumni Profiles – Christy Anderson (CMU ’11)


This video features Christy Anderson at In Gratitude, April 16, 2011, a graduation weekend event that celebrates CMU graduates by inviting class members to share their experiences through spoken word or musical performance. The event brings together family members, graduates, students, faculty, and staff.

Christy Anderson
Bachelor of Arts, 4 year, Major: Communications and Media

Video Production: Laura Tait, Communications & Media Student (2011)

Audio Student interviews Sunday@CMU Radio

Christy Anderson – Becoming a New Person

Christy Anderson
Communications and Media Major
Interview Date: August 8th, 2010

In this interview, Christy speaks with David Balzer – host of Sunday@CMU Radio,about her life story and what God’s grace has meant for her.

Play/Download Here