As Co-Anchor of Global News Toronto, Queens Park Bureau Chief and Host of Focus Ontario, Alan Carter wears many hats in the newsroom.
What is it like to be an anchor for Global News in Toronto?
This is a dream job for me. I grew up watching Global News in Burlington, Ontario. To now sit in the chair once held by the likes of Peter Trueman (plus the producer of the show talking in my ear is Trueman’s son, Mark) is an honour and a thrill. For someone who has dedicated his professional life to journalism, I get a ‘pinch-me’ moment almost every day.
How do you decide what to cover?
We have a great team of reporters and producers at Global News Toronto who are part of the daily process of deciding what to cover. We know our front line staff will be the eyes and ears on the city, but we also strive every day to ask the questions that people watching will have. Everything from will my taxes go up to is my garbage going to be picked up.
How does social media factor into your work?
Social media is part of our everyday work. Twitter is both a great source of news and also a way to inform followers of what’s going on. Facebook is a different beast – it tends to be the place where people want to share pictures, videos and stories that impact them. As a journalist I’m looking to be part of that conversation, which is why I no longer just work on a nightly newscast from 5:30-6:30 pm, but also post regular shareable updates to social media platforms.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day begins with an editorial meeting where producers and managers discuss coverage options for the day. After assigning reporters I usually monitor proceedings from Queen’s Park if the legislature is in session. As anchor, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief and host of Focus Ontario, I split my time between researching stories, booking guests, and writing segments for the nightly broadcast. Then after an afternoon editorial meeting, it’s time for makeup. Get out the spatula because high definition is unforgiving! Then I tape some promos and interviews, write and review scripts for the 5:30 and 6:00 news, and pretty soon the light atop the camera goes red and we’re live. It’s often exhausting, but never dull.
What’s your number one tip for PR people?
Time is short so brevity and clarity in pitches is the best advice. Plus, take the time to look for a unique angle to pitch. Feeling like one of thousands being pitched an idea doesn’t motivate me.
What was your favourite story to work on?
This is a tough one. I would say the 2014 Ontario election campaign. I decided that year to push the envelope of what was being done on the campaign trail. I ambushed Premier Wynne while she was on one of her many jogging photo ops. This relates back to my points about creating shareable content on social media. That segment was widely seen by people who are not regular Global News viewers and helped win Focus Ontario a National RTDNA award.
What’s the story you’d most like to cover?
Crankworx! The annual mountain bike festival in Whistler. I’m a huge mountain biker – both downhill and cross country — and Whistler is the Mecca of the sport. Now if I was only young and fearless enough to attempt some of those crazy jumps and tricks.
First website you load in the morning?
Coffee or beer?
Ontario Craft Beer. Now available in grocery stores.