Early to Rise, First to Shine

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By Amanda Thomas

After working in many locales across the country, Winnipeg native Courtney Ketchen was able to land her dream job right here in the ’Peg. Armed with passion, a strong work ethic and a twist ice cream cone, Ketchen takes the city by storm weekday mornings on Breakfast Television.

After following your career all over Canada, what made you decide to finally choose Winnipeg? 

Winnipeg is home, I was born and raised in the city! After high school I studied journalism at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Then I was able to land an internship at CTV Saskatoon, which led to my first job at CHCA News in Red Deer, Alberta. In 2009, I worked as an anchor/reporter at TBT News in Thunder Bay, Ontario. And three years ago I was hired at Breakfast Television and was able to move back home. I joke that my mom nearly called my boss at the time to thank him for hiring me! It was great to come back after many years away to all the family and friends that I had missed so much.

What’s a typical day like for you? 

I get up at 2 a.m. Yes, 2 a.m. I arrive at the station by 3:30 a.m. and work alongside the morning writer to gather news of the day, write and edit scripts. I also prep for my interviews for the show, and surf the web to see what people are talking about – this is important because I go to bed around 8 p.m., and a lot happens after that time! At 5:30 a.m. we have a rehearsal and team meeting to go over the show. We are live from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays. During that time, I anchor seven short newscasts, and host a variety of segments. After the show, I book guests for upcoming interviews or take part in various shoots outside the studio. I finish my day at 11:30 a.m. and usually take an afternoon nap!

What is your favourite part about your job? 

Winnipeg is not exempt from its challenges and this spring proved that. Between frozen water pipes leaving thousands of residents without running water, to potholes crumbling roads, and the coldest winter in decades, it would have been easy to focus on the negative. But my job allows me to highlight the successes of Winnipeg no matter what! I get the chance to meet the hard working, inspirational, talented people that make this city special. We have a wonderful network of people who work tirelessly to plan fundraising events and raise awareness of various causes, and it’s great being in a position to shine a spotlight on their work. Every professional athlete, touring musician, local artist, politician, and hilarious kid I get the chance interview leaves me feeling inspired in one way or another.

Any advice for women trying to thrive in the media world? 

Chase down your dream job like you would chase a story. Make phone calls, write emails, be persistent, but respect people’s space and time. The media world is constantly changing and evolving, which means you have to be ready to jump at any and every opportunity. If it means moving to a new city, look at it as an adventure. If it means taking lesser pay than you hoped, remember it’s temporary. My job now isn’t one that I initially applied for. Due to changes at the station, my former position as news anchor evolved to include co-hosting duties and I couldn’t be happier about the dual roles.

What is your favourite Winnipeg past-time?

As someone that favours warm weather, I love making the most of our beautiful summers by spending as much time as possible outdoors. One of my favourite places to be is Assiniboine Park with my two dogs, Kingston and Phoenix. A day at the park wouldn’t be complete without a trip for ice cream across the footbridge to Sargent Sundae or visiting the famous Bridge Drive-In. A soft serve twist cone is my favourite, hands down.