How my kid brother learned to love journalism
By Gloria Er-Chua
My 14-year-old brother Emmanuel has wanted to be a police officer since he was six. But a visit to the Star may have thrown that plan into disarray.
Weeks ago, my parents had coaxed Emmanuel into following me to work on Take Your Kids To Work Day. On Nov. 3, my unwillingly little brother followed me to the office, where he had an hour to kill with me in the radio room since his program didn’t start until 9 a.m. and my shift began at 8 a.m.
He half-listened as I gave him a tour of the Box. Thankfully, just as I had run out of things to say at about 8:05 a.m., all hell -- or water mains, I should say -- broke loose.
This was the morning a flood at the TTC’s Greenwood station had created a commuting nightmare on the Bloor-Danforth line. The overnight radio roomer had filed a short web story but the assignment editors wanted more details.
I called 55 Division police for crowd numbers. A few minutes later, I had TTC spokesman Kevin Carrington on the line. As I frantically typed out a story while speaking to him, I heard officers give a description of the commuters waiting for shuttle buses over one of the police scanners.
“Manny,” I said distractedly, “follow this.”
To my surprise, the next time I looked up from the computer screen, he had pulled his chair next to the scanner and was listening intently. As I typed, he read over my shoulder.
“What about the alternate bus routes?” he suddenly asked.
An e-mail had just arrived in my inbox from the TTC with two other ways to get downtown, he told me. I hadn’t noticed it, but I quickly threw in a line about the suggested routes and sent the story off to the web editors. A few minutes later, we checked thestar.com and the story was on the homepage.
“Whoa,” he said. “That was fast.”
My brother had always thought of reporters as the boring people who broke exciting news but, at that moment, I saw a flicker of admiration in his eyes. The action doesn’t only exist on the police side of things, I reminded him.
I asked if he would ever consider reporting or working in a radio room.
“This is pretty cool,” he answered. In teenage boy-speak, that means yes.
Gloria Er-Chua works in the Star radio room. She has previously interned at the Kingston Whig-Standard and a magazine in Quebec. You can follow her on Twitter