My name is Dean Gutheil. I'm a Television Journalist with
CBC TV. I've been at CBC since 1990 (early part). Before that
I was at CKTV for three years. Before then I was a Sports Writer
and a Radio Announcer. So I've sort of gone from print to radio
to TV. I don't know if it's a natural progression but that's
the way it's gone.
[Typical Work Day:]
Every day is different but normally we would
start off in a story meeting where you basically
bring ideas to the table. Sometimes the ideas
are brought to you on the table or on a sheet
and sometimes they're assigned to you. At the
meeting we decide who's going to do a story.
From there we usually get on the phone. Sometimes
you get on the phone or you go to a news conference.
You know, they'll say there's a news conference
at ten o'clock so you go to that.
Sometimes they're sort of self-generating
stories where you think you have an idea of
a story. You might call a guy up and sort of
pick his brain for five or ten minutes and
realize, "Hey, there's something here." So
every day is very different and that’s
the joy of the job.
You're not pigeonholed into a routine of every
day is going to be the same. Every day you're
talking to new people about different things
and your day is never the same. The only consistency
is probably the meeting in the morning at nine
o'clock and beyond that your day takes off
and you go wherever news is happening.
[Hours Of Work:]
Your shift is supposed to be 9:00 am to 5:00
pm, or 9:00 am to 5:30 pm but many times you're
working nights. Many times you're coming in
at 4:00 am to go on an out-of-town shoot. So
it can be all hours of the night sometimes.
I've been called out of bed at 1:00 am or 2:00
am in the old days and there's something going
on. There's a shooting or a fire breaking out
or you're on call that particular night - you
can be called at all hours of the night.
Generally speaking I'd say it's a 9:00 am
to 5:00 pm job; but I've worked weekends, night
shifts, a 168 hours a week - every hour of
that week at one point in my life.
[Most Challenging Aspects:]
I think the most challenging is probably just
making a deadline. Every day you're basically
asked to do up a story, an item every day,
a news story every day. So getting all your
ducks lined up and getting all the people you
want in that story is the most challenging
Also trying to be fair. Trying to hear both
sides of the story. Your job is basically to
find the truth.
Sometimes people aren't home or aren't answering
their phone. People don't want to talk. The
toughest job is just to get all those players
on camera to talk. A lot of times people will
talk to you on the phone. On radio they'll
do a clip for you and they'll talk to you if
you're in print. But if you're on TV, something
about that television camera really intimidates
people because they're not used to having a
camera in their face. Even though (in this
video age) people own video and camcorders,
a lot of people just aren't comfortable with
a camera in their face. They don't want to
talk to you so you have to (sometimes I say, "I'm
just a glorified used car salesman") convince
people to go on camera.
[One Thing That You Would Change In This Occupation:]
The one thing I would change about the job
is perhaps to change people's perception about
the media. I think a lot of times people have
sort of a negative feeling towards the media.
They think we have an agenda or they pigeonhole
you, "You're from the CBC so you have
a left-wing agenda or you're this or you're
that." So I would just change people's
attitudes about the media.
I think people have a negative attitude toward
the media and some of that was brought upon
ourselves I'll admit, because there are some
pushy journalists, some sensationalism, and
tabloid culture out there now. And then the
Diana situation with the paparazzi - I think
that gave the media even a worse name. I would
try to change people's perception of the media.
[Most Satisfying Aspects:]
I think the most satisfying is when the tape's
been dubbed over, the story is finished and
it goes to air and you see it and think, "Yeah,
that was a good item considering the time constraints
I was under and the difficulty getting the
stories." There’s a lot of job satisfaction
when it finally sees the light of day and it's
seen by the hundreds of viewers out there.
I love my job so I get satisfied. Some days
you're working on dog stories. They're not
the greatest of stories but on a day when you're
working on a good, tough story and it took
a lot of digging to get it and you get it,
that's really satisfying.
[Education & Training:]
Obviously, you go to school but I don't know
if that's a prerequisite. I think we can point
to Peter Mansbridge as a fellow who I think
probably has a Grade 12 education. I think
your life experiences prepare you for this
I went to the University of Regina for a year,
I believe, before they had the Journalism program.
So I took Arts and Science, all my electives...realizing
that there'd be no Journalism program for several
years. As it turned out, there wasn't. I transferred
my credits to Mount Royal College in Calgary
and took Broadcasting and Journalism there.
I think beyond the schooling, your life experiences
help you in your job - probably more so than
school. Obviously school prepares you for the
basics, but I think just living your life and
experiencing many things gives you a good base
to do your job because your job is about reporting
what happens in life. So the more you live,
the more you experience and the more you can
offer to the viewers.
I think being a good listener is key because
basically you're taking information from someone
else and trying to relay it to the viewer.
So you have to be a good listener.
Teamwork is pivotal. There are so many links
in the chain here. You've got an Editor, a
Camera Person, an Assignment Desk - you've
got so many links in the chain and every link
in that chain has to be operating pretty well
or the link breaks and the chain breaks and
Teamwork is very important and sometimes it's
tough when you've got artistic, creative people.
You always have a difference of opinion about
what's news and the treatment of that news.
You’ve always got conflicts so it's really
important that you work together and come to
a consensus even though you may agree to disagree.
Because at the end of the day, you've got to
get that story on the air and there has to
be some consensus.
[Advice For Someone Entering This Field Of
The first advice I would give them is to read
as much as possible. Learn as much about everything
as possible. Don't just watch TV. Read the
papers, good Canadian magazines, Saturday Night
or MacLeans. Read anything you can get your
hands on that you think is good. Read about
the legal system or politics. Read about anything
but always stay informed.
If you go to journalism school or broadcasting
school, or even if you're a history major or
political science major who has a leaning toward
journalism, don't think you're going to start
in a major market. Don't think you're going
to start in Toronto or Ottawa or Vancouver.
For the most part you have to pay your dues.
I was in Melfort, Saskatchewan and Medicine
Hat, Alberta. Those are great places but it's
not New York City. You have to pay your dues
and that's where you learn to do a lot of things
because you have to.
Now the new reality is that you are doing
lots of things in bigger markets. But I would
say, take small steps and you'll get to where
you want to go. You can go as far as you want
to go but you have to start somewhere - sort
of "walk before you run."