Legal Counsel, WildBrain
Interview by Jenn Goldasic (RSJ '17)
Nikki Singh, RSJ '12, is a Legal Counsel at WildBrain. When this interview was conducted, she was the Manager—Business & Rights at CBC.
Why did you choose to apply to the Ryerson Journalism program?
I loved writing and always had an interest in journalism. When I got into the program, it was a no brainer where I would spend the next four years. Ryerson Journalism had a great reputation and was very innovative. The school constantly updated the program to reflect the state of the industry. I was one of the first graduated classes that no longer had to “major” in a particular stream. Rather, the program was integrated— TV, online, radio, magazine, you could do it all.
I also loved that you hit the ground running at Ryerson. Other schools, you write about three articles in one year. At Ryerson, I wrote three articles my first week. Being in the heart of downtown Toronto was also the best place to learn journalism.
What was your most memorable/ helpful class that you took while at Ryerson and why?
There were so many classes I loved. Two classes stand out the most to me: Journalism and Ideas, taught by Bill Reynolds, and Reporting for TV, taught by Mark Bulgutch. Bill and Mark were amazing professors, and those classes really impacted my experience with the program. Journalism and Ideas, was about memes, but not the kind people tag their friends on in social media. We learned meme theory in the academic sense, as a cultural idea that is contagious. We learned about fads, cultural hysteria, and how journalism plays a role in these phenomena. A more practical course that I learned the most from was Reporting for TV Workshop. Mark is a legend (rightfully so) in the TV journalism world. I built such a valuable skill set in that class and really pushed myself to learn. Not to mention, I remember Mark’s famous Butgutch-isms aka his frequent sayings. For example, it’s a news conference, not a press conference; a fire, not a blaze; died, not passed away. It’s been nearly eight years and I still remember these.
Also, not a class, but I feel like it’s important to add. I was the Editor-in-Chief at McClung’s, from 2011-2012. Arguably, this was one of the most rewarding experiences I had at Ryerson. Given the recent political climate, it’s even more critical to have a voice for women, especially when it comes to intersectionality and representing all facets of feminism.
What have you been up to since graduating from the program?
Although I loved journalism, I personally did not see myself doing it long-term. After I graduated, I wrote my LSAT and applied to law school. The application process takes about a year. In the meantime, I did communications work, landing a role in social media and content marketing at a media software company. That was a really fun and interesting job, and it gave me a lot of exposure to the corporate world. In September 2013, I attended law school at the University of Ottawa. Ottawa is a great place to learn law, since Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada are literally blocks away from the school. I stayed there until I graduated in June 2016.
Editor's Note: since graduating law school, Niki Singh has become Manager—Business & Right at CBC.
What made you get into law? was that always the plan?
Law was not a plan per se, but it was something I always had in the back of my mind. Law and journalism are both such interdisciplinary fields and you can work in virtually any industry. I also love learning, and although I got a lot of practical experience at Ryerson, I wanted more of an academic experience too.
How do law and journalism relate (in general or with your goals specifically)?
Law and journalism are so similar, it’s amazing more lawyers don’t become journalists and vice versa. Both are interdisciplinary fields. For example, you can have a career as a journalist or a lawyer in the industry of arts, business, technology, sports etc. Both professions also both play a critical role in a democratic society, and it would be impossible to function without journalists or lawyers.
In journalism, I developed skills in writing, ethics, research, interviewing, and critical thinking— all of which I’m using in law. For example, there’s a push for law to be more accessible by using simple language and avoiding jargon. That’s what journalists are trained to do, make information accessible. The two fields really do complement each other.
What do you plan on doing with your law degree?
It’s still a big TBD. I am still going through my licensing process to become a full lawyer. I would ideally like to mix my journalism experience with my legal training. I worked with the lawyers at CBC when I interned at Marketplace, which partially influenced my decision to go to law school. I am currently working in entertainment law, and would love to continue to build a career in this field.