5 things I learned from the CBC Ottawa Tour

By: Georgia Fox

I believe CBC is a prominent factor in the life of anyone living in Ottawa. Every student has listened to the radio shows or watched their news broadcasts at some point in their lives. This past week I was given the chance to participate in a tour of the CBC news station in downtown Ottawa with the Communication Undergraduate Student Society at Carleton. Here is what I learned from the experience:

  1. The station looks just like it would in the movies

When we first walked into the main room of the station it felt just like you think it would. It was exciting, like the air was buzzing. There were cubicles filling the room, smaller rooms moving outward with walls of screens, and broadcasting equipment, and television sets. I have to admit I felt like a child the entire time, completely overwhelmed and in awe.

2. Reporters are the most lively people you will ever meet

After the initial walk about, we were introduced to one of CBC’s most senior reporters Laurence Wall. I recognized his voice almost immediately, deep and smooth and filled with wisdom. Right from the start he was kind and witty, cracking jokes left and right. Later in the night when we met some of the news reporters which it was yet another moment of awe. We all felt like we were in the presence of celebrities because after all these are people we have all come to know in the every day media. Among them were Lucy van Oldenbarneveld and Teri Loretto, two of the most personable, enthusiastic and women I have ever met. I have to admit, my preconceived notion of reporters was that they would be undeniably serious, but they were all a lovely surprise.

3. I could never be a television producer

At one point during a live newscast we were invited up to the operating room. We were only in there for about five or ten minutes, but I swear they were some of the most stressful minutes of my life. The producers job is to make sure everything runs smoothly and absolutely everything is timed to the second. They give instructions to people on and off screen, they apply live edits and switch from one camera to the next. Their only moments to breath are during short commercial breaks yet they seem completely at ease the entire time.

4. Anyone can have fun with a green screen

One of the most memorable parts of the night, and I’m sure I speak for much of the group when I say this, was when they let us play with the green screen. A few of us got to put on a green blanket and stand in front of the screen looking like body-less heads. All of us joked that we felt like we were in a Harry Potter film wearing the invisible cloak.

5. Timing is EVERYTHING 

From the minute we arrived we were told that timing is everything in the world of broadcasting and media. Whether it be getting a story out first, or being on time to the second for the 7 o’clock news, or shifting from one story to the next at the exact moment. All the clocks at the station are connected to an atomic clock which is how they ensure the timing of everything so precisely. Everyone we spoke to said without the proper timing would ever run smoothly.

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