Paige Ellis, Reporter, BNN

Paige Ellis, Reporter, BNN

Paige is a Bay Street reporter at Business News Network.

What is your morning routine?

News never stops, so like many of my peers, my days start early. My alarm sounds around 5 a.m. and I immediately walk to my living room where a big comfy chair awaits. I meditate for 10 minutes, preparing my mind for a busy day ahead. After jotting down six things I’m grateful for, it’s go time. I head to the washroom where I turn on my favourite business radio station, shower and do my hair. By 5:50 a.m. I’m in a cab heading to the studio. The next half hour is spent in makeup, where I eat my oatmeal breakfast and discuss the day’s top stories with colleagues. By 7 a.m. I’ve received my assignment and head to the Toronto Stock Exchange where I’ll appear on national television within 50 minutes.

Tell us about your career path.

In another universe, I’m a dentist working towards owning my own practice. Ever since I was 13 years old, I was convinced dentistry was my calling. But after a week in a biochemistry program at Wilfrid Laurier University, I knew I was chasing the wrong dream. Dentistry wasn’t my passion – journalism was. I immediately switched programs, landed a summer job as a radio reporter and started sketching a whole new blueprint for my education and career.

After completing my master of journalism, I worked several contract jobs before accepting a full-time position at a magazine. Within a year, I decided I was meant to be a television reporter and took a huge risk: I quit my full-time magazine job for a freelance role at CTV Kitchener. Fast forward another year, I accepted a job at Business News Network where I hustled to get on air.

Journalism is an industry in transition. People aren’t consuming news the way they once did. They’re increasingly going online or turning to social media (ahem…Facebook) to stay informed. The industry is working hard to figure out the best way to reach consumers, but as far as I can tell, the puzzle remains unsolved. This ongoing shift is why I believe aspiring young journalists who are attuned to changing technologies and trends have a tremendous opportunity. They’re the ones best positioned to lead our industry into the digital future.

What challenges do you or women face in your industry?

Newsrooms used to be boys clubs. Older male journalists have recounted stories set in male-dominated studios where whisky was stored in desk drawers and reporters forged bromances with male sources. Fortunately, times have changed. Nowadays, most newsrooms are female-dominant and desks are alcohol-free.

But challenges remain. The hours can be tough, which is why scheduling and time management skills are critical in my industry. While I’m blessed to work predictable (if early) hours, most women in my field don’t have this luxury. Many work night shifts, weekends, or are at the mercy of their sources’ schedules. It can be a grind, made harder for those women who pull the “second shift” at home.

What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?

Hustle hard and be your own advocate. No one will offer you the dream reporting job, the on-air role or the front-page story if you don’t ask and if you don’t prove you’re capable. I always made my goals clear to my bosses and worked hard to prove I was up to the task. Also, read and consume as much news as possible. Not only will it expose you to new ways of reporting, it will also ensure you’re never caught without a working understanding of recent events.

How do you separate work life from your personal life?

Honestly, I struggle with this. I’m passionate about the news and regularly find myself checking for updates long after I should have gone to bed. It’s partly out of necessity – news doesn’t stop and I have to be in the know. But I’m trying hard to disconnect: recently I set a goal to turn off my phone at least an hour before bed.

What inspires you?

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by successful, hard-working people. My friends who work in the industry inspire me to dig deeper for stories, write more creatively and take risks with my storytelling. My fiancé inspires me to work harder and dream bigger. I also find inspiration in travel and casual conversation. My ears are always attuned and my eyes are always peeled for untold stories worthy of the full television treatment.

When you’re off the clock, what are your indulgences?

I’m a proud homebody. I love to spend my weeknights and weekends at home, cooking, relaxing, sketching and indulging in my guilty pleasure: celebrity gossip. I also love to exercise, travel and spend time in my hometown of Kincardine with my adorable nephew.

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