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Exchanging room and board for blogging

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WHERE are the Exchange District boundaries?

Well, you walk and there's this sensation. And when the feeling's gone, you know you're no longer in the Exchange, says Kayla Jeanson, the Exchange District's resident summer blogger.

"I don't know, it's a feeling -- you get a feeling that it's arts infused with business. You get outside of it, you can feel it diffuse," said Jeanson.

A University of Manitoba film studies grad with a minor in English, Jeanson has been selected as the first recipient of a contest called The Greatest Summer Job.

Red River College is putting her up in residence in the former Union Bank Tower on Main Street, now the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, and covering all her meals for six weeks. All she has to do is blog.

"Who's my audience?" said Jeanson. "People my age and people interested in living here, maybe parents of people interested in going to Red River College."

So far she's written about how the Exchange District challenges her dislike of walking, about the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's adult classes, complaining how the Globe allegedly starts movies long past the posted showtimes and about quirky microwave-in-rooms rules in the RRC residence.

Jeanson works as a freelance videographer and records people's events, performances and weddings.

"I took a screenwriting course from the Winnipeg Film Group, which re-invigorated my love of writing," Jeanson explained. She'd been limited in recent years to academic writing, but when she blogs, "the language is less niche," she said.

Jeanson has to write a minimum of 500 words a day, but topics are not scarce. "I'm a little overwhelmed by things to write about," she said, reckoning she can walk down the street and see five possible blog topics.

"I'll be writing about all kinds of experiences here in the Exchange, good and bad. I hope to not get injured, but to have some bad experiences, too," she laughed.

She'd like to spend some time at the walk-in clinic on McDermot -- observing, not awaiting treatment: "It seems to be a really important service for people here.

"The farmers market is awesome.

"I know a lot of students go to Giant Tiger. I don't know if they have the best food available (as groceries), but I'm going to find out," Jeanson said.

A graduate of St. Maurice School on Pembina Highway who grew up in St. Vital, Jeanson didn't spend much time in the Exchange District until she was in university.

She has since spent a lot of time at the Winnipeg Film Group and the Contemporary Dancers, and acknowledges that in her day she's lined up for a nightclub or two.

Her blog can be found at blogs.rrc.ca/housing/blog/.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2013 B1

History

Updated on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 7:33 AM CDT: replaces photo

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