The NTV Evening Newshour is the province’s most-watched newscast, providing the latest on the day’s top stories and going beyond the headlines to tell the story
The NTV Evening Newshour has been the province’s top newscast for two decades, averaging more than 100,000 viewers each night in this province alone. In fact, it’s not only the top newscast but is the most-watched program in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are nights, for example, when over 120,000 people are tuning in, astonishing for a province of about 500,000.
“It says a lot about the incredible work this team does,” says Mark Dwyer, NTV’s Director of News and Current Affairs. “Hard work, consistency, a commitment to local news and a very talented team of people has earned us the trust of our viewers. We take that responsibility very seriously.”
NTV’s news team features many of the province’s top journalists. The anchor team is led by veteran broadcasters Glen Carter and Toni-Marie Wiseman, among two of the most trusted names in local news. Carter, of course, began his career with NTV in the early 1980s before taking his craft to newsrooms across the nation, anchoring broadcasts at stations in Halifax, Ottawa and Calgary before returning home to this province over a decade ago.
“The desire was always there to come home. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some great people across Canada over the years but, honestly, this team is incredible,” says Carter, who has covered provincial and federal elections, filed award-winning stories and interviewed world leaders.
‘Stories that matter’
His co-anchor, Toni-Marie Wiseman, is one of the province’s most recognizable faces. She’s won awards for her work as an entertainment reporter, has anchored news programs since she arrived in 1989, was the station’s popular weather person for two decades and, in perhaps her biggest test professionally, has grown the First Edition audience at 5:30 to numbers that would be the envy of newscasts across Canada. There are evenings when that show generates 100,000 viewers.
“I think (our success) it stems from the Stirling family’s commitment to news,” she says. “In an era when other networks are looking for ways to cut, we look for growth. I’m very fortunate to be part of a team that works together to tell the stories that matter in this province, and around the world.”
It’s the early stages of the federal election and PM Justin Trudeau is facing a political firestorm. The emergence of images – particularly the “brownface” picture from 2001 – has dealt the Liberal leader a serious blow to his multi-cultural brand.
Trudeau, of course, won a landslide victory in 2015 with affirmations of a diverse Canada, one of tolerance and acceptance. For four years, he emerged a global leader for inclusion – embracing a gender-balanced cabinet and, more importantly, a country built on tolerance.
The embarrassing Time image – with the PM’s face darkened and wearing a feathered turban – generated international headlines and had news outlets, like NTV, scrambling for reaction. Trudeau’s Liberal Party, we know, is facing a tight race against Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives ahead of the Oct. 21 election and, as political pundits confirmed, this could swing the vote.
NTV’s legislative reporter Michael Connors, like so many of his contemporaries across the nation, quickly went to work. The party – including incumbents Seamus O’Regan and Nick Whalen – was doing damage control. The opposition was taking advantage of a slippery political football and, well, everyone else seemed to have an opinion.
One of the most fascinating local interviews came from Dr. Syed Pirzada, president of the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Please grow up,” he cautioned Canadians in a compelling conversation with NTV: First Edition anchor Toni-Wiseman, reminding viewers of how this country prides itself as a peace-maker and a humanitarian country. “Let’s focus on the real issues, seniors and global issues – like Gaza, Palestine and Syria. We need to lead from the front, not focus on these petty issues.”
The premier, in an exclusive interview with newly-hired veteran journalist David Salter, expressed his disappointed but said the country could use this as an opportunity to open the dialogue on racism.
The Trudeau controversy, of course, was merely one of many stories the award-winning team at NTV News was tracking that particular day. There was senior reporter Jodi Cooke’s story on how the Public Utility Board approved a 6.4 per cent rate hike for electricity users. The long-standing feud between the FFAW and FISH-NL got physical at a meeting in Baie Verte. Central Newfoundland was lobbying for an air ambulance story and, at a hospital thousands of miles away, Kelly-Anne Roberts filed reports on Team Broken Earth’s incredible work in poverty-stricken Haiti.
The station’s commitment to news – provincially, nationally and internationally – is what separates it from the competition.
The NTV News brand is demanding. There are morning news checkpoints, a half-hour Newsday newscast at noon (weekdays at noon), not to mention 90 minutes of news from 5:30 to 7 (First Edition and NTV Evening Newshour). There’s news-driven programs like Issues and Answers (hosted by legislative reporter Michael Connors), Eyewitness News (hosted by Glen Carter), Week-in-Review (a half-hour recap of the week’s top stories), not to mention a half-hour weekly entertainment show hosted by Amanda Mews.
There’s also breaking news programs, everything from the provincial budget to election coverage.
“It’s a challenge to deliver all these programs but it truly shows how much depth we have at NTV. Veteran reporters like Jodi Cooke or Mike Connors, for example, often move from the field to the anchor desk on the same day,” says Dwyer, the station’s news director since 2013. “We have so many multi-talented professionals here, people who do incredible work.”
NTV’s latest additions
And the team keeps getting better with the acquisition of young talent. Beth Penney, the 2018 Geoff Stirling Memorial Scholarship winner, has been a great addition, as has King’s College graduate Ben Cleary, who pursued a journalism degree after graduating with a political science degree at MUN. And the latest addition is veteran David Salter, also a King’s grad.
An award-winning journalist, Salter began his career with The Telegram in the early 1990s before working for publications across Canada. He’d spend over a decade working in communications, with government and the private sector, before returning to his first love, journalism. “I’m exactly where I want to be, working alongside a great group of people here at NTV. I have so much respect for this station and it’s a dream come true to come back home to work here,” says Salter, born and raised in St. John’s.
With the federal election just around the corner, and a myriad of other stories developing, there’s never a dull moment for the NTV news team.