Father and son duo of Tony and Darrell Barrington make magic behind the camera at NTV
The Stirling family name is synonymous with broadcasting in this province.
The late media magnate Geoff Stirling founded the empire in 1946 and was a fixture until his death in 2013. His son Scott, of course, was his dad’s closest business advisor and best friend and has been company president for the past several decades.
It’s a family business that has embraced many other families over the past seven decades. Oscar Hierlihy, a local engineering giant, pioneered CJON in its infancy while his son, John, followed his dad into NTV’s engineering department and retired just last month after 29 years. There was also the Jamieson family, led by Don – the broadcaster-turned-diplomat who was a champion in those early years. His brothers, Colin and Bas, also had celebrated careers at the station. There have been countless other genetic combinations – like former news director Jim Furlong whose son John is now a valuable staffer – with the latest being a proud Barrington duo.
Much of the incredible images you saw during, and after, the historic snow storm that punished part of the island were brilliantly shot by veteran camera operator Tony Barrington and his talented son, Darrell.
From the moment the blizzard paralyzed metro, the duo focused their lens and captured its power. Yes, NTV’s talented anchors and reporters fronted the storm that captivated the country – even leading CTV’s national news program three consecutive nights – but the talent behind the camera was equally impressive.
“Congrats to the amazing team at NTV,” wrote Dan Taylor, managing editor at CTV’s News Channel. “They covered the historic storm and endured many challenges and obstacles and overcome every one of them. Congrats on a job well done, from your colleagues at CTV News.”
Many others praised NTV’s coverage of the worst winter storm in decades, from the local and national morning news checkpoints to daily coverage in Newsday, First Edition and the flagship NTV Evening Newshour at 6 p.m.
“I was just proud to be a part of it,” says Tony Barrington. “We have a great team here and everyone really stepped up and worked together.”
Learn if you try
Tony Barrington is one of the company’s longest-serving employees. The St. John’s native was a fresh-faced 19-year-old when he punched his first shift on June 5, 1978. It was a summer relief gig working in shipping and handling – receiving programs like The Jeffersons and The Dukes of Hazzard. Just a month later, he landed a job in master control operations (MCR), a department where he’d spent the better part of two decades. “The great part about this company is that you can learn just about everything if you want to try,” says Barrington, who’ll celebrate a 42nd anniversary at NTV this summer.
In his early 40s, Barrington would make the transition to news – directing and producing the award-winning NTV Evening Newshour. It was an important era for the station as NTV toppled CBC in the all-important ratings, a distinction it’s held now for over two decades.
“I really enjoyed it, working with so many great people,” he says.
In 2013, he left the director’s chair for the field, focusing his lens as a camera operator with the news department.
“Everyone loves working with Tony. He’s not only talented but a great person and such a gentleman,” says senior anchor Glen Carter. “We’re very lucky to have him here.”
Barrington, 60, has covered just about everything over the past seven years, from provincial and federal elections to breaking, live news. He was in New York for the premiere of Come From Away and, just months later, was back in the Big Apple for Fortis’ big day at the New York Stock Exchange. He’s also loaned his talent to TSN and Sportsnet, working the recent Paralympic sledge hockey competition as well as the NHL exhibition game between the Leafs and Senators.
“How can you not love this,” he asks, answering his own question with a wide smile as confirmation.
The apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the tree. Darrell followed his dad’s footsteps to NTV in 1999, landing a summer job in the library department. He’d also make the move to the VTR (video-tape-record) department, prepping shows for his dad in master control. By 20, he’d be working audio for various NTV news programs. “That’s when I knew what I wanted to do in life,” he says
In 2002, he moved to Nova Scotia to pursue a radio and television diploma at Nova Scotia Community College. Barrington soon accepted a job as an on-air operator at Global Calgary, a position he held for 14 years. Like in this province, he worked with Global’s top-rated newscast, learning the craft alongside the seasoned anchor team of Gord Gillies and Linda Olsen.
Moving on home
In 2010, he began shooting Calgary Flames games, honouring his craft as a camera operator to shoot the NHL’s biggest stars. He also worked memorable events like the 2012 world junior championships, the Calgary Stampede and other big sports competitions.
“That was so much fun and I learned so much doing that,” he says.
Just this past summer, he realized his dream of moving home when his wife, Kathleen, accepted a job offer in this province. His first call, of course, was to NTV’s news director Mark Dwyer with the hope of working alongside his dad. The opportunity soon came, albeit a temporary placement filling in for veteran camera operator and long-time friend Glenn Andrews.
“It’s a dream come true to work alongside my dad, especially knowing he will retire in just a few years. To learn from him is great to be able to spend time with him like this is everything I ever hoped for,” Darrell says. “He’s the reason I’m in this business. Every day working with my dad is a gift.”