Tony Care, RSJ ' 96, is Senior Producer at CBC Sports, Digital.
What did you originally see yourself doing when you first enrolled in journalism school?
A beat reporter covering one of Toronto’s big sports teams (Leafs, Blue Jays, Raptors) for one of the big newspapers in the city.
How did that vision change as the years went by?
I graduated right when online journalism was starting up. As the years went on – and with newspaper jobs becoming increasingly more difficult to find with a shift to online – I gained more and more experience in every facet of what we now know is digital journalism.
How did you arrive at your current position?
I’ve worked for CBC Sports since 2003 and I gradually gained more responsibilities as time passed. I officially became Senior Producer in 2019, but essentially have been doing most aspects of the job for a number of years. When it comes to digital you wear many hats. You simply don’t just do reporting or editing any more.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Impactful journalism. There is no better evidence than the storytelling CBC Sports has been able to contribute from an athlete’s perspective to the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, the anti-racism protests following the police killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, and the cases involving Canadian Indigenous people facing brutality at the hands of police.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
There is nothing more challenging in journalism – at least for me – than covering a breaking news story. When he worked at Reuters, media critic Jack Shafer wrote that news stories, especially the early reports of breaking news events, are very likely to be inaccurate. He was making that point with the emergence of social media, specifically Twitter. The thought still frightens me.
What has been your biggest accomplishment as a journalist?
Three months ago, I would’ve said the seven Olympics Games I’ve covered in a variety of positions. COVID-19 and the protests have changed everything. Our team has done meaningful work telling the stories of professional, Olympic and Indigenous athletes impacted by these events. Recently, we published a digital panel discussion, which explored systemic racism and the lack of movement on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to reduce barriers and become more inclusive of Indigenous athletes. These are the stories I’m most proud of.
Thinking back to your first year self, how do you think he would react to where you are now?
Shocked that I’m not the big-time reporter I envisioned 24 years ago (LOL). But I feel I’m making more of an impact setting the strategy and guiding a team of dedicated journalists.
How did your time at Ryerson prepare you for your current career?
I was exposed to practical reporting classes by some first-rate professors leading the way. There is no substitute for actually going out and doing real reporting. Frankly, I’ve never liked theoretical classes. It’s simply not the same thing.
What’s one of your favourite memories from j-school?
In third year we didn’t have a reporting class but I took a politics course that was basically a reporting class. That opened my eyes to the abundance of political stories out there. I’ve been a political junkie ever since.
Any memorable RSJ professors during your time at Ryerson?
Joyce Douglas and Loren Lind were two of my great reporting professors. They always preached the idea of “Get it right.” Getting it first means nothing if you’re wrong.
What advice would you give to current journalism students?
Check and double check your work. Make the extra call. Trusting social media is a recipe for disaster.