Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all Bionic).
He went to the University of Winnipeg with the greatest of intentions, completing his undergraduate degree with an unexceptional 2.65 GPA -- exactly what he deserved. Jason fared miserably on nearly every exam he took, but his short stories and essays were classics. He had mastered the art of BS, so a career in journalism seemed most appropriate.
He spent two productive years at Red River College in Creative Communications and was off and running on a career path in the newspaper business that wended its way through Arborg, Selkirk, Brandon and Winnipeg.
There were a few detours along the way, such as working in public relations for a non-profit organization and a stint in corporate communications. Jason even sold mattresses for one of the country’s largest manufacturers for a couple of years, and can still recite coil counts and foam thicknesses.
In 2002, he hit the big time, joining the Free Press as a sports reporter and then moved into news a year later as a general assignment reporter. He worked a whole lot of Saturdays and Sundays those first few years, meaning he raced out to a whole lot of crime and collision scenes and house fires. He got to know cops, firefighters and lawyers. He talked with many grieving family members.
Luckily, he also covered high school and university athletics, Teddy Bear picnics, charity runs, Folkloramas, zoo animal births and other feel-good stories – the kind his lovely wife and two amazing kids prefer to read.
He was promoted to assistant city editor in 2007, and became the newspaper’s breaking news editor in 2012.
For Jason, much has changed in 12 years with the Free Press, but it’s still an awesome gig. He still gets a rush pursuing a story – The News Chase, as it were.