Getting a foot in the door of sports and entertainment journalism

By Kane Geng

Henry's hometown: Kingston, Ontario

Henry Standage is from Kingston, Ont., and both of his parents worked at Queen's University. He jokes it is only natural for him to finish his bachelor's and master's degrees at Western.


One year was all Henry Standage needed to transition his side gig as a podcast coordinator for the Faculty of Science at Western University into a professional career.

As a new grad from the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication in 2022, Henry became the youngest showrunner working for Sportsnet to create and produce a podcast from start to finish. Titled Painting the Pitch Red, the audio series tracks the rise, fall, and ultimate triumph of the Canadian men’s national soccer team.

Prepared in time for the 2022 World Cup, the four chapters tell the story of the national men’s team and include interviews with sports media personalities like Sid Seixeiro, Brendan Dunlop and Kristian Jack.

Henry says that arriving at this highpoint required that initial spark of interest in audio work that he got from working with the Faculty of Science.

"I wasn't good at science, but I had a pretty good idea of what a podcast sounds like," he says. "It was a big turning point for me."

For four years, while he studied English as a major, Henry concurrently held his position with Science as their podcast coordinator. He honed his production skills, dedicating 10 hours a week during the academic year and working full time over the summers. Despite not having a background in science, Henry's passion for storytelling and appreciation for podcast quality guided his work.

“Doing a podcast about Canada being at the World Cup for the first time in 36 years was like a dream come true.”

As his skills improved, he learned to step outside of his comfort zone to interview people.

Still, he knew that to make the jump to professional work, he would need an opportunity to kickstart a career in podcasting and media. When he discovered the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication (MMJC) program in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, he felt it could open the way for him.

Fun Fact

Henry thinks it's unfortunate that Jordan Peele's Nope received no Oscar nominations this year. "In five years, it will likely be considered a missed opportunity. This film was unjustly overlooked, and we will feel embarrassed," he says.

"I was looking for something to get my foot in the door, and MMJC worked out perfectly. I worked at Mustangs TV as a lead broadcaster during my master's, which also helped a lot," says Henry. "MMJC really went storybook for me."

Henry says that the MMJC program provided the necessary recourse and structure for him to adapt to the challenges of school. It gave him a daily routine, allowing him to overcome difficulties and adjust to his new learning style.

"MMJC gave me that structure I needed where I had to work every day not to drown," he says. "Then, all of a sudden, I found myself in the routine."

The fast-paced, challenging learning atmosphere also helped to prepare him for a similarly demanding work environment he would enter as a professional. And despite the challenging circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic, he was able to build relationships with his peers that he can now maintain as he and his classmates establish themselves in their careers.

"It was a special community-building experience," he says. "I really enjoyed building relationships with classmates and extending that into the future. It was really rewarding."

As he continues his work at Sportsnet, and through other professional opportunities, Henry looks to expand his reach into other entertainment areas and interview people from other corners of the industry.

"I want to do sports, and I want to do pop culture. I love movies, I love music," Henry says. "I want to carve out a place where we can entertain and have nuanced conversations."

The MMJC program has allowed many students to launch successful careers in journalism, communications, marketing and other media-focused industries. If you’re interested in starting your media career, apply to Western’s MMJC program to Start Your Story!


Profiles in the Start Your Story blog are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.