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CBC News National Anchor, Ian Hanomansing
By Nick Hounsell, Grade 9, Holy Heart High, St. John's, NL

....when you are able to see the effects of major events on everyday people,
you tend to create emotional bonds between you and your story....

Just one of the things students learned from CBC news national anchor Ian Hanomansing on February 17th at Gonzaga High in St. John's. More than one hundred students from the Avalon East School District gathered at the school to listen and chat with CBC news national anchor Ian Hanomansing talk about his career and how he got started in the world of journalism.

Hanomansing is currently the host of CBC News: Canada Now the national early evening news program. He has been a CBC news reporter in Vancouver since 1988, covering several national and international news stories throughout his career. Hanomansing has created and hosted two specials for CBC Newsworld: "Downtown Drugs: A Night on the Streets" which had open discussion for addicts, their families, social workers, citizens, law enforcement and politicians to discuss the drug situation in Vancouver, as well as, "TV on Trial" where two experienced trial lawyers argue the issue of whether or not cameras should be permitted in Canadian criminal courts, calling witnesses and putting the case to a jury. Alongside these specials, he has covered news stories such as Vancouver's post-Stanley Cup riot, the San Francisco earthquake and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Hanomansing was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad but grew up in Sackville, New Brunswick. As a child, he spent his nights listening to radio stations in the big cities like New York and Boston, imagining himself, to one day, broadcast to people all over the country just like the D.J's he was listening to. His dream came true when he was just out of high school. He was offered a job with a local radio station, where he formed his passion for journalism and broadcasting.

While at university, Hanomansing took a variety of courses to broaden his education, and he received a BA in Political Science and Sociology at Mount Allison University in Sackville, and a Law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During his time at university, he won the National Debating competition three times and was nominated as valedictorian of his class.

He told students that he truly loves his career in journalism, and he looks forward to going to work every day. He loves the variety of each assignment, the thrill he receives every time he goes on air, the rigorous competition of getting a key story, the excitement of being able to shed more light on pieces which need it and the feeling of personal satisfaction after finishing an assignment.

Hanomansing stated that he idolizes fellow broadcasters' Peter Mansbridge (CBC's Chief Correspondent) and Peter Jennings (ABC's World News Tonight Anchor), probably two of the most popular journalists in North America, because of their ability to present the news in an informative, yet interesting fashion.

He spends seven hours each day broadcasting show after show of Canada Now for the different regions of our country, presenting various stories applying to each region as well as an overview of the national news of the day, attempting to make important news in one region, interesting to another. He noted that you also have to avoid embarrassing technological glitches, and take extra caution during commercial break.

One of the many privileges of being involved in the journalism industry is the opportunity to attend special events and experience many things that most ordinary people may not. Hanomansing has been on location at three Olympic Games, Atlanta in 1996, Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002. When looking back upon these events, he said it was "pretty cool" to be on hand to watch the Canadian Men's Hockey Team capture the Gold Medal against the Americans.

Unfortunately, along with the privileges and advantages of journalism, there still exist some stories that are quite eye-opening and emotionally tolling. Whenever he takes an assignment such as famine in third world countries, AIDS in Africa, and the foreign assignments of war in the Middle East, he always feels changed in some way. Hanomansing stated that he feels when you are able to see the effects of these events on everyday people, you tend to create emotional bonds between you and your story.

One of the most eye-opening stories of Hanomansing's career was his intense coverage of the L.A Riots of 1992. The L.A Riots were provoked by the extreme beating of an African-American man named Rodney King, after he was pulled over for speeding in Los Angeles by four white LAPD officers. The video of this unprovoked attack was all over national airwaves and the trial received heavy media coverage before the verdict, and initially, from a white majority jury, all officers were acquitted of all charges until the federal government charged all four men with Assault and Use of Excessive Force. He was on location, and watched the people of Los Angeles begin to riot and continue for three days. Fires raged throughout the city, innocent bystanders were assaulted and looters ransacked businesses and schools and offices closed for the duration of the event. In total, 52 people were killed; more than 2500 injured and 12,000 people arrested and more than one billion in property damage. He believes it to be his most in depth view of racism in our world, and truly demonstrated the difference between the rich and poor and black and white; a lasting memory he will never forget.

He told students that he absolutely recommends this occupation to anybody, but says that they must examine the reasons why they would want to follow this path. He recommends trying to find a summer job with local media like CBC or submit articles to the city newspaper or even throughout the school year publish articles in your school newspaper to get a feel for investigating stories and deadlines because one of the toughest things to do in this industry is to find a way to get in, and the connections you make through these experiences will help. According to Hanomansing, some sought after characteristics in journalism are curiosity, creativity and determination but the most important part of journalism and broadcasting is public speaking and debating.

At this point in his career, with Hanomansing's vast experience as a journalist, anchor, and reporter he is now viewed as an expert in his field, drawing national and international attention, nominations for several awards and a celebrity status throughout Canada.

Also in this issue - News Section:  Ian Hanomansing, by Julia Rideout


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