By Tom Willcox
That is me – at the Canadian TV (CTV) news desk. Cool, eh?
This January, my mom was given two tickets to tour the CTV studios in downtown Vancouver. When she asked if I wanted to go, I was hesitant.
I had been to the CNN headquarters in Atlanta — and I didn’t think anything could top that. However, I agreed to go because I thought it’d be nice to see the Canadian side of things.
I would soon realize that my mom and I didn’t really understand the value of the tickets.
After struggling to find the unmarked doorway on a rainy Vancouver night, we were met at the entrance by our awesome tour guide, Johnny. He took us through the offices and gave us a bit of background on the company. It was interesting, but nothing too exciting.
Next, however, was the newsroom — and man, was it ever cool. As my mom and I followed Johnny like shy preschoolers, we walked by the editing rooms, the graphics room and even the anchors while they casually sat at their desks.
Nobody stared at us despite the fact that, according to Johnny, we were on a very rare tour.
As the five o’clock news started, Johnny grabbed a couple chairs and sat us beside the cameras. We even had to scoot back when the floor manager had to pull out the green screen for the meteorologist.
I felt like a kid in a superhero’s secret lair. I was amazed how everything was done so casually. You would think that every live production is full of nerves and intense focus — but it really isn’t.
The anchors walked to the news desk, without haste, less than two minutes before they went live. The floor manager gave his commands like he had done it a thousand times. In the control room, the staff casually talked and cracked jokes while cutting to different cameras and running news clips.
At one point, something was wrong with the teleprompter, but rather than stressing out, the director let out a quiet curse word and calmly got back on track.
I was giddy when the anchors stopped to talk to us on the way out. Here I was, a journalism major, watching these seasoned broadcasters do their job like it was another day at the office. It was inspiring.
That night had a profound effect on my motivation. Since then, I have joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) numerous programs and have built strong relationships within my department because I don’t want to miss out on another opportunity.
I suppose the lesson I took away from that night is to look for inspiration.
Try to catch a glimpse of the world you want to live in. It will remind you of what you’re working for.
Tom Willcox, a native of British Columbia, Canada, is a U of M journalism major who competes for the Tiger track and field team. He occasionally takes online courses to accommodate his training schedule.