RTDNA Canada recognizes Marie O'Neill with a Central Region Lifetime Achievement Award

About Marie

I joined CTV in February 1988 after coming off of a 10 year stretch on Bay Street…quite long enough to realize it wasn’t where I belonged long term.

Eric Morrison was the Executive Producer of CTV National News at the time, and needed an assistant and a newsroom staff scheduler.   Our then tiny newsroom had fewer than 20 people working in it – and was the pulse of National News.  42 Charles Street housed the rest of the team – Canada AM, W5, tape, Master – the logistics were quite challenging.   

We had ancient artifacts in that newsroom – fax machines, a telecopier, a few manual typewriters for emergencies and PAPER wire copy was laid out on a desk in layers!   The satisfying loud noise a phone would make when hung up hard enough back then!  Yes, I’d found my spot!   

My job was a great vantage point to learn what was involved in delivering News – and the most important part…the technology and people who made it happen.  The team that pulled it all together from inception to airtime. 

I told Eric I wanted to work on News Specials…to learn the ropes…I was not afraid of long hours and even volunteered some vacation time (!!!?!) to be a sidekick and learn what was involved in pulling all the pieces of a news special and breaking news together.  I did anything and everything I could to learn.  Some of the most talented people in the business were willing to give me their time – and my background was strictly finance – so the learning started! 

I began working on news specials, breaking news, going on remote, and in the control rooms or mobiles as we covered live events. 

Positions Held: 

In addition to being “drafted” into our “Specials Unit” whenever News events warranted, I held various positions in our News division: 

W5 – Assistant Production Manager – 1993/1994
Resources Desk – CTV News – 1995 
NewsChannel Launch – 1997
Production Manager – Canada AM – 1999 

In 2002 I was asked to join Canada AM’s Control Room team, coordinating our remotes and taking them to air. I eagerly accepted and got up at 4am for the rest of my 27-year career!   

During this period, I also coordinated remotes for NewsChannel. I’d wrap up 3 hours of Canada AM and go into the next control room to do NewsChannel for the balance of my day. Doing live TV news for about 7 hours a day was often stressful, no question, but the satisfaction I felt when I got that hit that had all the odds against it…was the best! Most important to me though, the relationships I developed with the technical crews, our reporters and our guests – all around the world.   

In addition to multiple leadership conventions and election specials, I had the privilege of being in the newsroom and/or control room for some of the biggest news stories of our generation… 

Lillehammer Olympics – 1994
Quebec Referendum – 1995
The Death of Princess Diana – 1997
Swiss Air Flight 111 – 1998
9/11 – 2001
Indonesian Tsunami – 2004
Funeral of Pope John Paul – 2005
Royal Wedding (Charles/Camilla) – 2005
Live8 – 2005
Royal Wedding (Will and Kate) – 2011
Parliament Hill Shooting of Corporal Nathan Cirillo – 2014 

Messages from colleagues

A message from Lis Travers

A few words from Marie