Courtesy: CTV Vancouver

 

By Daniela Olariu (RSJ ’17)

Mi-Jung Lee (RSJ ‘90) and Scott Roberts (RSJ ‘06) both attended the RSJ as students and now they co-anchor CTV News at Six in Vancouver.   

As of Aug. 23, Lee and Roberts have been bringing their decades of journalism experience to the anchor desk, while continuing to report on issues that matter to viewers.

Scott and I are involved in the show all day long. We both have been reporters for years so we’re able to help reporters with contacts, ideas etc.  We also help write the show and do social media,” Lee says. “It’s awesome working with someone so driven and passionate about news.”

Not long after they took on their new roles, pot legalization was approaching. So they worked on a series leading up to legalization.  

“I went down to Olympia, Washington to investigate lessons B.C. could learn from our southern neighbours, who legalized 4 years ago,” Roberts says.

At the same time, they covered the civic election and co-hosted a marathon election show that had the highest ratings in B.C.

“We were on the air for six and a half hours straight with no commercials so it was a marathon broadcast but it was a lot of fun,” he says.

Roberts began his journalism career at the Toronto Star in the radio room, listening to police and fire scanners and writing mainly crime stories. He ended up getting a summer reporting gig at the Star for a few years and in his last year at Ryerson, took on a summer reporting job at The Globe and Mail.

“I got a chance to work with some of the best journalists in the country at a young age and I’ll never forget that.”

After that, he took a reporting job at Citytv in Red Deer, Alberta where he got into broadcasting.That led him to a VJ/reporting job at CTV Edmonton where he worked for five years before joining the CTV Vancouver newsroom in 2012.

Since bringing his talents west, he’s received multiple journalism awards and nominations for chasing stories, such as the Edward R. Murrow Award he won for an exclusive report on animal abuse at dairy farms in the Fraser Valley.

He was in Tofino when a whale watching vessel capsized in 2015, killing six people. His coverage earned an award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Roberts says Ryerson was an important stepping stone into his journalism career.

“It laid the journalism groundwork for me to be able to pick up what I learned and apply it to the real world. In journalism, the real world is where you’re really going to gain the most knowledge and hone your craft. There’s no question. But being at Ryerson helped me get my foot in the door.”

He also mentioned that his first year print journalism professor, Shelly Robertson, taught him a great deal about story structure and knowing the CP Style Guide like the back of his hand.

During Lee’s time at Ryerson, she recalls the broadcast journalism course as memorable.

Courtesy: CTV Vancouver

“Stuart McLean was such an amazing story teller,” she says. “And Ann Wright-Howard taught us how to decide what’s news. The first criteria is ‘“Is my world safe?”  If a story deals with that question, it’s the lead. That has stuck with me.”’

After her undergrad, she had no idea which direction her career would take.  

“I just knew it was a competitive industry and was anxious about landing my first job.  Thankfully, my first job was as a TV reporter in Victoria and then my career evolved from there.”

Lee became the first Korean-Canadian newscaster in B.C. history.

I’m thrilled when young women of colour say they were inspired to become journalists after seeing me on-air.

She has since become a household name in the Lower Mainland, earning a reputation for in-depth investigative stories. Some even led to public policy changes.

“I did a lot of investigative stories on money laundering in casinos. Years later, a government report recommending sweeping changes acknowledged the reporters who had highlighted the problems –  including me.”

She also raised awareness about the lack of breast density notification in Canada, which affected her personally.

“When I had breast cancer, I shared my personal journey with viewers and received more reaction to those stories than any others I’ve done.” she says. “Last month, the B.C. government announced it would notify women if they have dense tissue and are at higher risk of breast cancer.”

Most recently, Lee and Roberts were honoured together for co-anchoring CTV Vancouver’s comprehensive coverage of the 2017 worst wildfire season in B.C. history.

“It’s such an honour and a privilege to be given this kind of opportunity and I can’t think of anyone better to work alongside than Mi-Jung.  She’s been a fixture in BC journalism for nearly 30 years and has such a wealth of knowledge,” Roberts says. “Of course, the job also comes with a lot of responsibility to make sure we’re telling the stories that impact viewers and help them understand their community and their world.  But we’re loving the challenge, for sure. “