Deep in The Aquinian web archives, the last published Ross Report details the failure of the 2009 Montreal Canadiens, author Jamie Ross’ favourite team.
“I would cringe really hard if I read even a sentence again,” he said.
The St. Thomas University column was the highlight of Ross’ sports editorship at The Aquinian over a decade ago. Now, the 35-year-old journalist holds the sports editor position at the Globe and Mail since February.
Ross said he was really surprised when he first got hired.
Growing up, Ross said he would rather play sports than write about them, claiming he was a subpar student.
“I don’t think I even knew the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your,’ and ‘they’re’ and ‘there,’ until I was like 18 — that’s not an exaggeration.”
When he was in Grade 10, his English teacher, Mrs. Klinenberg, complimented an essay he wrote – foreshadowing his future career.
“It was probably the only positive feedback I think I’ve ever gotten,” he said. “But I did remember it, and obviously it stuck with me.”
Before entering STU, Ross played junior hockey with the Woodstock Slammers for three years after graduating from Sussex High School in 2004.
Ross said he wasn’t in the right mindset to attend university directly after high school.
He was 21 when he began classes at STU, but found no issues starting later than the average first-year.
“I was the oldest person in most of my classes,” he said. “Eventually, by the time I got into third-year, there were a number of my classmates even older than I was. So we all kind of got along.”
In his second year, he was offered the sports editor position.
Ross strongly believes that working and contributing to The Aquinian began the development of his writing talent. Despite a little bit of oversight by a faculty member, the team was largely autonomous.
“There was a lot of responsibility that came with that,” he added. “I think that we probably weren’t prepared, but we figured it out as we went.”
He said he’s certain that his time on campus cemented how to write and report properly.
Ross first contacted the Globe and Mail for a summer internship after both his second and third year, hoping his work for The Aquinian and Brunswick News would get his foot in the door.
After consistently receiving no word, he still packed his car and headed to Toronto in 2010.
While there, he found another internship with The Hockey News. This is what Ross considers his first exposure to professional sports writing.
The position was unpaid, leading Ross to pull a rickshaw through the city streets.
“It was a real lesson in the years that were coming for me. It was a lot of work, but it was great work with great people,” he said.
Ross returned to New Brunswick after finishing his degree in 2011, finding a place at the Telegraph-Journal. Not long after, he was driving to Toronto with no plan in mind, again.
He started doing a public relations program at Humber College, while still jumping from article to article. After Humber, he came back to his home province determined to break free from freelancing.
While writing without a publisher, Ross continued to work multiple jobs. Apart from landscaping, he drove trucks for Picaroons, delivering kegs across N.B.
“I can remember actually going into residential streets, pulling over, getting out my recorder and doing interviews from the truck and then getting back on the highway.”
Ross said he had no idea what he was doing at that point, but felt disappointed he wasn’t working full time in journalism.
That all changed in 2014, when Ross was hired by MLB.com to cover the Blue Jays. While there, his beat focused on players, scores and features.
Following his stint with the website, he was finally offered a spot at the Globe – his current employer.
In spite of the bumpy journey to a national paper, Ross considers himself a goal-oriented person.
“I felt like I was on the right path. But things don’t happen as quickly as you’d like them to — they never do and I guess that was just a little bit of a lesson for me. Be patient,” he said.
Starting at the Globe, Ross found himself in the deputy sports editor seat. After holding the position for six years, he was promoted to head of the department, which he said was “right place, right time.”
“They call sports the “toy department,” and it is. It can be fun and games, but it can also be very serious.”
As section leader, Ross said his duties aren’t far off from his editorship experience at The Aquinian.
He meets with his writers twice a day. In-between, there’s countless emails, planning interviews, delivering photos and communicating with other desks. The thing that surprised Ross most was the number of contacts he had to keep up with.
Ross encourages younger journalists to take as many varied stories as they can, as politics and finance will always overlap with athletics.
“Make sure that you’re well rounded, because the needs of modern newsrooms are enormous.”
Regardless of the future, Ross is proud of the work he’s done.
“When I got this job, I did in fact know that I had actually gotten my dream job.”