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.
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