“Did a man bring you out here?” and other awkward questions.

I love my job. I love asking questions, getting answers and sharing them with the public. However, sometimes, I find myself answering questions, but not the kind you’d expect…

Questions from viewers are never meant to offend…but sometimes they’re just terribly awkward. I remember meeting a viewer for the first time when I lived out east. They were curious as to why I would want to move to eastern Canada (Newfoundland, of all places!) for work. “Did a man bring you out here?,” they asked.

Now, if someone had asked me this question back in–oh, I dunno–the 1940s, it probably would have been fair. But in 2012?? I couldn’t help but laugh before, politely, answering.

Over the years there have been more questions–and sometimes puzzling statements–that I’m still at a loss for words over.

“Are you single?”

“Is that your real hair?”

“You’re prettier in person.” (Well, what do I look like on TV then?!)

“I love your tan. It’s just such a lovely shade!” (NB: The viewer was talking about my skin tone…)

“Are you from Africa?” (See my earlier post about this FAQ)

In my defense, there is no appropriate response for some of these questions/statements (#3 is a perfect example). Often when I return to the newsroom and share these stories, the only thing my colleagues and I can do is laugh. The viewers are sincere and this is just their way of letting you know that they like you (they really like you!).

I’ll be honest, I don’t entirely mind these encounters. Awkwardness aside, it confirms an important fact: people are still watching local news. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

 

Nadia

“Reporting LIVE, from the top of this box…”

standing on two boxes
“Reporting LIVE, from the top of this box…”

I still remember one of my first live hits in Newfoundland–a story about Kathy Dunderdale not too long before she became Premier–and nervously going over my script, while my camera man shuffled around me. Everything was in place–the monitor behind me, the lights, my mic was on–but there was just one problem: I was too short.

Since 2010, this has been the story of my reporter life. No matter what city I find myself in, live truck operators, directors, shooters have to break out the box–sometimes multiple boxes–to compensate for my vertical challenges.

standing on a box in edmonton

I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that a few times a week, I will find myself reporting live from the top of a box. For some reason, elections seem to highlight just how short some of us are (see below).

So far at CTV Kitchener, I haven’t had to stand on a box (give it time), but I have had to…modify the anchor chair…slightly. Over the course of my first few days on the anchor desk, I could tell that something was different, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was. After watching the show (twice), it finally hit me: I was too short for the anchor desk. The only problem was that the height of the chair couldn’t be adjusted.

The solution: a stack of papers and a pillow.

"Coming to you LIVE, from atop this pillow..."
“Coming to you LIVE, from atop this cushion…”

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as I’m in television news, I will always be perched atop something for the purposes of the camera. I’ll also forever get a chuckle out of the viewers who remark how I look so much taller on television…

 

While interviewing Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil on election night, a Sun News reporter needed quite the boost.
While interviewing Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil on election night, a Sun News reporter needed quite the boost.
During last year's municipal election in Calgary, I too needed a boost.
During last year’s municipal election in Calgary, I too needed a boost.