It wasn’t even supposed to happen — in fact, it nearly didn’t.
I was backpacking through Europe when I first heard of the job opening back in my hometown. A full-time position had opened at 570 News, where I had interned and worked the summer before. “Would you be interested in applying?” the news director asked me.
At the time, I was leaning towards going back to school for a year-long postgraduate program. I was hoping for summer employment, but beyond that, I was ready to spend one more year as a student — it had been my plan for the last year or two.
Still, I applied. If there were two things I had often heard repeated in my four years of broadcast journalism schooling, it’s that 1) you take your first job in the field, wherever it is, and 2) full-time job offers right out of school — in your hometown, no less — are like winning the lottery: sure, it happens, but you’d be a fool to count on it.
Well, sure enough, it happened.
I was in Switzerland when I got the news: the job was mine if I wanted it. Fantastic! But here’s the catch: I still wasn’t sure I wanted it, and now the clock was ticking. I may have been in a whole other continent, an ocean’s-length away, but I couldn’t just push the offer aside until I returned. I resolved to sleep on it and reply in the morning.
The answer wasn’t any clearer in the morning (not a surprise: travel has a tendency to shake up your decision-making process). With no sign from the heavens, I proceeded to type out my reply: I was going to decline the offer, figuring I’d be better-suited to make school and career decisions once I returned home. A job could wait — for now, I just wanted to travel.
As I hovered over the ‘Send’ button, however, I found the clarity I was looking for. “What am I doing?” I thought. In a rush of panic and adrenaline, I jammed on the ‘Delete’ button and typed out my acceptance. One click later, and I was flooded with a mix of elation and immense relief.
I had my first full-time job in the industry.
It was the opportunity of a lifetime. For a young reporter and anchor, 570 News is the perfect environment: if you come in ready to work and full of ideas, they’ll open all kinds of doors for you. I anchored weekends, afternoons, and even mornings (although never as skilfully as our stalwarts, Glenn Pelletier and Lisa Drew). I interviewed authors and activists, mayors and Members of Parliament, Hockey Hall of Famers and Harlem Globetrotters. I covered soccer scandals, reported on visits from the Prime Minister and Governor General, and spent many, many mornings talking about the topics of the day with whomever would graciously speak to me at 5am.
I got to work with some of the most talented, hard-working people in the business — people from whom I’ve learned a great deal about how to tell a story, but more importantly, how to be a dependable team player. More than that, though, I had a tremendous amount of fun. Being in a newsroom is like being in a room full of stand-up comics — each with a better story (and often saltier language) than the last.
To top it all off, I got to do it in my hometown — watching each day as my city grew, produced new leaders, and built a reputation around the world. Leaving will be bittersweet — after all, it’s home and always will be.
But here’s the beautiful thing: when one chapter ends, another begins — and this story is still being written.