NTV senior anchor Glen Carter to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the RTDNA Awards Gala in Halifax this April
From the moment he began his first news job as a copy boy for the then Evening Telegram, Glen Carter was seduced by the sound of the wire. The clickety-clak of the ancient hump of a machine, with its endless stream of ink and paper, bringing stories from around the world to Carter’s fingertips. They were the stories written by craggy journalists on far-flung assignments and in the centres of power around the globe.
That was a long time ago. His job with the newspaper led eventually to a career in television news and postings in St. John’s, Halifax, Ottawa and Calgary.
NTV, though, is where it began, and today, it’s where Carter is the senior anchor for the award-winning NTV Evening Newshour. In April, Carter is being honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), recognizing his long career and his contribution to journalism.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Glen. His contribution to broadcasting is vast, not just in this province but throughout Canada,” says friend and colleague Mark Dwyer, NTV’s Director of News and Current Affairs. “He’s covered many of the stories that defined this province, from the Ocean Ranger tragedy to the Cougar 491 crash, and Glen told each story with true professionalism.”
His lifetime achievement award puts him in elite company, a distinction already bestowed on Canadian broadcasting’s giants like Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson, among others. “I am really humbled by this,” says Carter, 62. “It comes as a real surprise and I’m so appreciative.”
Carter broke into the broadcast business in ’80 with NTV. He would spent the next 25 years anchoring newscasts across Canada before returning to NTV in 2005. He championed First Edition for many years before making the move to the flagship show in 2013. And his talent is a direct connection to the show’s success. Sitting alongside co-anchor Toni-Marie Wiseman, the NTV Evening Newshour remains not only the province’s top newscast but the most-watched show in the entire province. His daily Carter File feature, which delves into the top news stories of the day, is also a staple in the show.
We sat down with Glen to talk about his many years and his many memories.
Take us on a journey back to your first memory of working at NTV.
My first day on the job at NTV was in 1980. It was my first day in television and it’s hard to describe the excitement I felt as a young television reporter. The newsroom was much different then, a very small, but dedicated crew. I was fascinated by the whole process of putting a show on air, still am, of course. I was just a kid with a lot to learn.
You’ve literally filed thousands of stories throughout your career. What was the toughest story you had to tell?
It’s not so much an individual story, but a kind of story. The stories that deal with someone’s pain are the one that stand out – whether it’s a family touched by tragedy because of an impaired driver or a victim of senseless violence. Or murder. The stories about people who are victims of some cruel circumstance beyond their control are the ones that stick with me.
This industry affords us an opportunity to interview some incredible people. Tell us about your favorite or some of your most favourite interviews?
My favourite interviews are with people who have honest, compelling stories to tell about something in their lives that made them stand out, and not necessarily good things, either. People who have faced things that most of us can only dream of or dread. I interviewed a Holocaust survivor once who described in detail her coming face to face in Auschwitz with death camp doctor Joseph Mengele. She survived, her parents and siblings didn’t.
In keeping with this theme, who would be the ultimate interview for you (alive or dead)?
John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I’m sure he’d have as many questions as me.
Is there a definitive moment from your childhood that stands out, perhaps even defining you?
I think my father’s involvement in politics (Walter Carter) helped drive me towards journalism. They go hand in hand, and well, I wouldn’t have been a good politician.
There are many facets to being an anchor, broadcaster and journalist. What is one part of the career that most people don’t know?
The degree to which journalism is a calling as much as it is a career. There’s a kind of personal oath that goes along with the job, a commitment to the fundamentals of fair, balanced reporting.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give a new journalist?
Be forever curious, often skeptical and always compassionate.
Toughest day you ever had on the job?
August 2, 1995. It was the day my colleague, sportscaster Brian Smith was shot and killed by a deranged man in the parking lot of our television station, CJOH, Ottawa.
What’s the most embarrassing moment of your career?
Too many moments and so little space. Live on air, I once called the American presidential election “A race for the outhouse.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen since breaking into the business?
The proliferation of cameras that enable anyone to tell a story. The easy access, on social media and the like, to news and information. The critical need for vigilance to separate lies from truth, and fact from fiction.