Global News celebrates 20 years on the air in Quebec

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WATCH ABOVE: Global News came to Quebec twenty years ago, becoming the third English-language television station in the province. Global's Anne Leclair tells the story of our humble beginnings – Sep 14, 2017

Global News came to Quebec 20 years ago, becoming the third English-language television network in the province.

The first newscast hit the airwaves on Sept. 14, 1997, with the top story being the take-off of international flights at Dorval Airport.

A handful of veteran employees are still working at the station two decades later, and over the years they’ve gained many memories and a few grey hairs.

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“It was a great experience, a lot of stress, a lot of pressure,” post-production editor Daniel Girouard said.

“But we all came together. We made it happen and we kind of pumped out one of the best products in the city.”

For many young reporters and technicians, it became one of the biggest opportunities and challenges of their careers.

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“I was working for a French TV station before, so when I moved to Global everything was done in English so that was a pretty big challenge for me,” videojournalist Jean-Vincent Verville said.

Global News in Montreal is 20, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Max Kalinowicz/Global News

After building a newsroom from scratch in the summer of 1997, the evening and late night newscasts were launched, followed by sports, entertainment and the morning show.

“I’m one of the original six and I’ve been on camera this whole time, which astounds me,” senior anchor Jamie Orchard said.

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In Global News’s two decades on the air, the award-winning team has told thousands of stories.

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“On Oct. 13, 1997, we had just been on the air for literally a month, when there was a huge bus accident in Charlevoix,” said station manager Karen Macdonald.

The Charlevoix crash claimed 44 lives, mostly senior citizens, and only one reporter was working that day.

“The technology — even live capabilities — were not as sophisticated. Of course, there was no iPhone back then or anything like that,” Macdonald said.

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For others, big news events like the Summit of the Americas and the Dawson College shooting were the most difficult to cover.

“We were taking phone calls from parents who were missing children; we found ourselves in our role as connectors to the community,” Orchard said.

Global News was later recognized with an RTNDA award for the coverage of the Dawson shooting.

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For some, the toughest stories weren’t necessarily the biggest ones.

“I can tell you that today as a parent I feel for those families and I felt a lot.”

Videojournalist Karol Dahl, senior anchor Jamie Orchard, assistant news director Kate Shingler, station manager Karen Macdonald and post-production editor Daniel Girouard, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Max Kalinowicz/Global News

Technology has evolved and faces have changed but through it all, Global News’ connection to the community remains.

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“We really feel that we’re offering a really important product to the English-speaking community of Greater Montreal, something that is needed,” Macdonald said.

We may no longer be the “new news kids on the block,” but there’s no denying everyone loves what they do and couldn’t be prouder to celebrate 20 years on the air.

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“I’m still very proud of the work that I’m doing and I hope that I’ll keep doing it — for at least 15 years,” Dahl said.

The original six have no plans to go anywhere just yet, and who knows, they may still be in the newsroom to celebrate the station’s 40th.

“If they’ll let me do it for 20 more years, yes, I’ll be here for 20 more years — for sure; it’s my city, it’s my station, I love it,” Orchard said.

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