As a Managing Editor, Dawn Walton lives in the moment, making (and remaking) decisions all day long around editorial priorities, breaking news and trying to be ready for what comes next. In the midst of her busy schedule, Dawn was kind enough to pause for a moment and reflect on her role for Beyond the Wire.
Follow her @CTVDawnWalton
What is it like being the Managing Editor for a local TV station in Calgary?
Our priority is to deliver news that is local, live and breaking. So, Calgary – and region – is our first priority. We will localize news of national or international importance where warranted, and of course, include stories from around the world in our broadcasts.
How has social media changed the Canadian media landscape?
Reporters can’t do their jobs, or at least do them well, without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. That’s often where we find information, photos and videos of victims and suspects. But reporters have to be careful not to rely social media posts instead of conducting old-fashioned journalism — cold calls and door knocking. There’s also the danger of getting sucked into social media. Just because something happens on social media, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a story.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake up. Wade through many, many emails. Scroll through local media websites. Check what’s happening on Twitter, Facebook. Work with our assignment desk, reporters, producers to prioritize our stories of the day. Reprioritize. Vet scripts. Repeat. And somewhere in there, plan upcoming assignments, stories and projects.
What’s your number one tip for PR people?
Don’t call to see if we’ve received your email. If we’re interested, trust us, we’ll call you. And, our interest tends to diminish commensurate with every subsequent email and call about it.
Favorite story you’ve ever worked on?
It seems heartless to say favourite, but while covering the Mayerthorpe massacre for The Globe and Mail with my former colleague, Katherine (Harding) O’Neill, we delivered an insightful piece into the mind of Mountie killer, Jim Roszko. Following a trail of half-tips and gut feelings – and this was long before Twitter and Facebook – we found a man who told us how Roszko molested him. As he poured out his heart, it was the first time even his wife had heard his story.
Dream story that you’d love to work on?
Full-time heli-ski travel writer and videographer. I’m not confident this will ever be a thing in the current media environment.
First website you load in the morning?
Usually Twitter, to see what’s new and interesting or just what’s trending.
Coffee or beer?
Work day or ski day?