Renowned TV Host Marci Ien shares insights about Canada’s newsrooms
An award-winning host and news anchor, RTA School of Media alumna Marci Ien is a familiar face across Canada. Many now know her as co-host of CTV’s The Social -- a daytime talk show delving into the latest topics in pop culture and lifestyle content -- but the highly sought after speaker and emcee got her start over 30 years ago on the classic Canadian children TV series, Circle Square.
After completing her studies at Ryerson University, Ien worked as a reporter at CHCH-TV in Hamilton, covered top stories while at CTV Atlantic and CTV National News, and co-hosted the beloved morning news show CTV’s CANADA AM alongside Jeff Hutcheson and Beverly Thomson.
The renowned broadcast journalist and TV personality is also known for her generosity; volunteering her time and experience to mentor emerging and aspiring journalists, and advocating for press freedom around the world. Ien regularly gives back to RTA as a distinguished visiting professor; presenting workshops and offering insights on broadcast journalism to students and faculty. In 2016, the RTA Wall of Fame inductee was appointed to Ryerson University’s Board of Governors and was recently the host of a virtual graduation celebration, live-streamed on multiple platforms.
An Interview with Marci Ien
You’ve had a long career on Canadian screens, from children’s TV to broadcast news and now The Social, what are the principles that have guided your career?
A strong work ethic has been important to me throughout my career. Even as a ten-year-old actor it was firmly in place. My guiding principles have changed somewhat through the different stages of my career. When I got my first reporting job--my goal was to improve my storytelling with each daily report I delivered. Better writing. Better story composition. Later, in national news, it was about the art of the interview. Intensive research. Listening. Learning. Asking the questions that would elicit the most interesting responses. Now, it's about legacy. Speaking up and speaking out. Telling my truth and in doing so modelling for the next generation of young journalists that they should speak theirs.
Canadian media is in the midst of a major shakeup, stemming from calls for accountability and greater equity. What do you think is needed to build a more inclusive and anti-racist culture in the industry?
It really is a time of reckoning. It is one thing to have diversity in your talent pool and another to have it in the halls of power. In my almost 30 years as a journalist, I have never had a supervisor of colour. Not one. That says a lot. If we are going to see real change--the reins of power have to be shared. Newsrooms should reflect a country's citizens and Canada's do not.
What role can emerging young talents play in building a more diverse and inclusive media industry?
There is an abundance of young talent that is producing innovative content--a lot of it online. Traditional media outlets could learn a thing or two from the next-gen about inclusivity, creativity and empathy.
What skills and tools do you apply from your time at RTA School of Media?
Teamwork is so important. Working effectively in news and production environments means a collaboration of ideas and skillsets. I learned this in the early days of RTA as we did a number of group projects. The best results happened when there was diversity of thought but people were unified in wanting to do their best work.
What advice do you have for aspiring and emerging storytellers?
It's important not to let anyone derail your dreams. But also remember that dreams only become reality through perseverance and a serious work ethic.
"The future of creativity is …"
FCAD at Ryerson University
Entering its eighth decade, FCAD is a global centre of media and creative invention. As a disrupter in innovative education, FCAD is dedicated to developing creators with authentic voices who engage directly with creative industries around the world.
With 23 undergraduate and graduate programs that are shaping the future of their fields and tight-knit partnerships around the world, FCAD offers more opportunities to educate the next generation of creative leaders than anywhere else.
FCAD at Ryerson University
Coordinator, Marketing and Communications