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Government of New Brunswick

Sylvie Mousseau

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Sylvie Mousseau

Originally from Montreal, Sylvie Mousseau has been living in Acadie (New Brunswick) for over 30 years. After studying drama, she completed a bachelor's degree in communications at the Université du Québec à Montréal and worked for CIBL community radio. In 1989, she joined l'Acadie Nouvelle as a general news reporter for the Acadian Peninsula.

After a brief time on the arts desk at l'Acadie Nouvelle, she moved to Moncton in 1998 to cover arts and culture in the southeastern part of the province. She is particularly interested in theater and literature.

During her career, the journalist has also called upon to cover major events such as the Congrès mondial acadien in Louisiana, the Festival interceltique de Lorient, the Semaine de la musique de la Côte Est, the Sommet de la Francophonie and the Jeux de la Francophonie in Ottawa.

She has also contributed to the cultural magazines Livre d'ici and Liaison. On October 19, Sylvie Mousseau received the 2023 Arts Advocate Award from the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation. In her spare time, Sylvie Mousseau enjoys skiing, kayaking and nature hiking.

Tell us a little about yourself and your role as a cultural journalist.

As a cultural journalist, I cover the full range of artistic news in a variety of disciplines: theater, music, visual arts, film, dance, literature and comedy, etc. Being based in Moncton, I cover mostly activities in the southeastern part of the province but may be called upon to travel throughout New Brunswick and beyond. We also cover subjects and issues that concern the cultural and artistic milieu of Acadie and New Brunswick. I also write a weekly book and record review and take photos of the events I cover.

How have your training and experience helped you to create and innovate in your profession?

My university education in communications led me to develop the skills I needed to become a journalist. Of course, with experience, you gain confidence, and that allows me to find new angles on subjects and develop the depth of my articles.

What led you to become a journalist?

First, I'd say curiosity about a wide range of subjects and a passion for writing and storytelling. I started out as a general news reporter on the Acadian Peninsula but having always had an interest in arts and culture, I was writing more and more about the arts. And finally, I became a cultural journalist after telling the newspaper's editor-in-chief that I wanted to move to Moncton to cover cultural news.

What do you like best about your job?

There are lots of things, but I'd say it's the variety of artistic proposals I get to see and meeting artists who talk to me about their creative process. I always try to convey as clearly as possible what the artists tell me and also what I experience as a spectator.

How has living and working in New Brunswick helped and/or inspired you in your career path?

It was in New Brunswick that I got a job as a journalist, so I can say that I was able to do the job I love thanks to the fact that I moved to the province. I also think that living in a less populous province like New Brunswick makes it easier for me to develop contacts. What also fascinates me is seeing how artists and organizers of cultural events have very original approaches, often out of the ordinary. The activities are very varied. I've also discovered the richness of Acadian poetry.

How do you follow artists' careers and cultural events in the province?

In many ways. Through social media, press releases, direct contact, over the phone or in person. Sometimes you can also get information from other media. Artists also often contact me directly to tell me about their projects.

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How do you spend your days, and how do you manage your writing schedule?

The best answer to this question is to organize your time, anticipate upcoming events and do your research so you're ready. Sometimes, I may go to meet an artist or attend an event to write a text the next day. I may also prepare interviews or gather information in advance, so that I can eventually write a text or a more in-depth feature. Some subjects require immediate attention, such as the death of an artist, an announcement of funding, a new event, an awards ceremony, etc. This kind of text can't wait to be written. Usually, if I can do interviews in the morning and then write in the afternoon, that's ideal. When I'm covering a festival, we obviously must write on a regular basis almost every day, depending on the size of the festival.

I also do a lot of reading.

The more experience we gain, the faster we develop our writing techniques.

What is your vision for your work and what do you hope to achieve?

Being a journalist means first and foremost informing and providing the most complete and verified information possible on current events, and in my case, this is cultural news. I try to report on practices and events as clearly as possible.

Why do you think it's important to inform people about artists and artistic and cultural activities?

In my opinion, arts and culture are as much an integral part of society as politics, health, education, and the economy. Without art, the world would be a sad and boring place. By informing the public about what's happening on the cultural scene, they can participate in and attend these events, and witness the vivacity of the artistic world.

What have you learned about yourself and New Brunswick's artistic community through your work?

I've learned that my interests are varied and that I love meeting artists and discussing their projects. New Brunswick's artistic community is vibrant, original, and very inventive, despite the challenges that can sometimes arise. I'm always amazed at the richness of the arts scene in New Brunswick.

What impact do you think cultural journalism has had on the arts community and the province as a whole?

Without a cultural journalist, people wouldn't know what's going on in the arts. By providing detailed and comprehensive reports, it also gives people a better understanding of artists' approaches. For artists and cultural workers, I believe it allows them to see how their work is received.

Describe what you are most proud of in your career?

I think what gives me the greatest satisfaction is having succeeded in getting l'Acadie Nouvelle to create a position for a cultural journalist. Before I moved to Moncton, there was no position for a cultural journalist as such. By pointing out the importance of arts news in Acadia and the large number of activities, the newspaper's management also saw the relevance of having a journalist dedicated to cultural news. I feel proud and privileged to work for a francophone media in a bilingual province. Where francophones are in the minority, I believe our role is very important.

What advice would you give to people interested in this profession?

You must keep your eyes open for everything that's happening on the cultural scene, be prepared to work intensively at times, be open to others, read a lot and keep yourself informed about the arts in general, not just in Acadie. Of course, you need to have a certain talent for writing, meeting people and enjoy flexibility in your work schedule. When I travel outside New Brunswick, I also go to shows and exhibitions to see what's going on elsewhere.

To read Sylvie Mousseau's articles:

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