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How an alum's field placement blossomed into a career in TV news

Sean Grech
Photo courtesy of Sean Grech

When University of Guelph-Humber alumnus Sean Grech landed an internship at Global TV’s flagship Global National in Ottawa while a student in UofGH’s Media Studies program, he knew the opportunity was not to be taken lightly.

Grech was passionate about broadcast journalism and he was determined to make a meaningful contribution during his time there. He even extended the internship, wanting to gain as much real-world experience as possible while beginning to establish his portfolio.

“At the end of my three-month internship, I walked away with a number of skills, produced work that went to air that I was proud of, and had a demo reel I could use to send to News Directors across the country to showcase my on-camera work to land my first on-air reporting gig,” Grech recalled.

“I cannot stress enough to students how important their internship is,” he added. “My internship was the launch of my career.”

Certainly, his diligence paid off. Since graduating in 2010, Grech has worked for major TV network news broadcasts around the country. Now, Grech is an anchor/videographer at CTV News Barrie.

A career with variety

Grech said it was an “easy decision” to attend the University of Guelph-Humber, given the opportunity to attain a degree and diploma in four years.

“I also knew that while I was learning the theory required for my degree, I would get the opportunity to receive hands-on experience, especially in the third year when I chose to focus on broadcast journalism,” he recalled. “The school experience was pleasant. A great mix of lectures and hands-on experience type classes.

“The campus was new and it was great to learn in a bright and spacious environment.”

One highlight of Grech’s time was anchoring and producing The Guelph-Humber Beat, the University’s TV newscast at the time.

“It was a chance to execute the skills I learned in the classroom and get a sense of what it would be like working in this career in the real world.”

He wouldn’t have to wait long to put those skills to use in a professional setting. After graduating, Grech got his first on-air job as a reporter working for Citytv’s Breakfast Television and City News in Winnipeg. In his time there, he covered the sentencing hearing for disgraced former hockey coach Graham James, he reported on the Winnipeg Jets’ return to the NHL, and he had an up-close view at the building of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights from the ground up.

Here, he found that his multi-faceted skillset and flexibility came in handy.

“I got the chance to share some amazing stories and learn more about how professional news stations operate. While reporting was my main role, I quickly received opportunities to anchor news, weather, and traffic,” he recalled.

“It gave me a chance to sharpen my ad-libbing skills and build my confidence while reporting live.”

Next, Grech returned to Ontario to take a position with CTV News Northern Ontario in Sudbury. The role offered Grech the chance to push deeper in his reporting.

“I had covered top daily news stories, but I was looking to do something more in-depth and timely,” Grech said.

His story “Life After the Military” focused on a local veteran who had served in Afghanistan and was now adapting to civilian life, representing Canada in the Invictus Games, and also acting as an advocate raising awareness about the need for more resources for veterans in Northern Ontario.

Grech’s story won an award for best long feature from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Another story, on a former Ontario Hockey League goalie in Sudbury coming out in the hopes of curbing homophobia in professional sports, also earned an RTDNA nomination.

“It was an honour to have my work recognized,” he said.

Now Grech is closer to home working on CTV News Barrie, a regional live broadcast covering stories in Simcoe County, York Region and Muskoka.

It’s another role that offers plenty of excitement and variety. As always, Grech relishes that challenge.

“What I love about my dual role as reporter/anchor is that I get to anchor and produce the weekend newscasts and during the week I get to report a variety of news stories,” Grech said. “No day is the same. You have to be ready for anything.”

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