Outside of the congested 641 square km area of Toronto, it’s tough to get noticed if you work in the media. And if you work in Winnipeg, forget about any T.O. attention.
Despite myths prevalent to the east, the underrated city of Winnipeg is not perpetually frozen. It’s a place where promising young journalists and their established contemporaries go to thrive.
CTV broadcast journalist Janet Stewart is one of those established figures who lives and works in Winnipeg.
In a field full of forced smiles and arrogance, Stewart stands out from the crowd with her friendly, down-to-earth, but credible style. The 37-year-old co-anchors Winnipeg’s top-rated newscast, CKY News, which draws about 150,000 viewers a night.
“I love it here in Winnipeg,” Stewart says in a phone interview.
She means it, too. It’s a nice change considering most people talk about Winnipeg as if it’s located in the ninth circle of Hell.
“That’s a pet peeve of mine,” she responds. “Winnipeg has a lousy reputation outside the city limits and it’s undeserved.
But doesn’t the Halifax-born Stewart miss the picturesque east coast at all?
“Sometimes I find myself missing the ocean, but then I realize I miss the ocean in the Caribbean,” she jokes. “The Atlantic coast is a beautiful place though.”
In Halifax, Stewart was an anchor at CTV and Global News. She turned down the anchor position in Winnipeg no less than three times. Finally, at the urging of her long-time boyfriend, she took the job in August 2001.
But would she consider another big move if the CTV network called for a national gig?
“Unlike most people, I don’t see this as a stepping stone,” Stewart says. “The next step would be to move to a bigger market either in Toronto or Vancouver, but how much would I have to make to live the way I do in Winnipeg? How much would a nice big house cost in Vancouver?”
Stewart says she’s perfectly happy in Winnipeg. She lives in a “big, comfortable house” with her boyfriend (they’re “permanently engaged,” Stewart says) and the couple dotes attention on their “spoiled” pug dog.
In the end, Stewart says she can see herself growing old in Winnipeg.
“I want to be a happy, cool old lady. That’s my dream,” she says. “I’m not in it for the fame.”