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Beyond The Broadcast: Megan Shaw on Change, Celebrations & Callings

To say that life has changed since we last interviewed Ottawa CTV News reporter Megan Shaw in 2020 would be an understatement;

between reporting breaking news throughout a pandemic, returning to school to obtain her Masters of Journalism, and a wedding to her now husband, Mike McMurtry, the past three years have been busy for Megan. Though one thing that remains constant is her groundbreaking work on the scene of Ottawa’s biggest news stories, remaining a familiar face to the community for nearly eight years. Despite the highs and lows, Megan has taken life’s curveballs in stride; with an adaptive nature that allows her to pivot with grace, she continues to deliver the facts and keep Ottawa citizens informed—all while balancing her life as a devoted wife, sister, daughter, aunt, and new dog-mom.

We sat down with Megan to talk about all things CTV News, life, family, and holiday traditions—and, as is the case with her daily broadcasts, you won’t want to miss it.

It’s been 2 years since you were last featured in our Faces 2020 Holiday Issue, how has your life changed since we last spoke?

Life has been busy lately! From working through the pandemic, to heading back to school for my Master of Journalism, getting engaged and now married and getting the sweetest puppy – there has been a lot on the go. I’m grateful for so much but certainly taking it easy as we head into the Holidays and New Year.

What was your dream job when you were a child? Did you always know you wanted to work in broadcasting?

I would say I first started thinking about careers in High School, and originally wanted to become a teacher. I have always loved learning and little kids so it seemed like a perfect fit. I started working at a local daycare and would volunteer as a Sunday school teacher on my weekends. My mind was seemingly made up until our schools introduced a morning news segment that would be broadcast to the students, by the students. I was never picked to anchor the show, but I loved watching it and seeing my classmates deliver our community news. It was the first time I thought about broadcasting as a career. There were no courses in my hometown, so I decided to study English and Communication, Media, Film at university. Eventually I moved to Toronto, Alberta and now Ottawa, to pursue my passion.

 

Who has been your greatest inspiration in your career?

I wouldn’t pick one person, but would instead say that I have always looked up to the women in our industry. Whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera, in my employment journey there have always been many more men in the room. I idolized the strong and brilliant women who were breaking barriers and holding space. I watched their careers for years idolizing their work. Upon meeting some of them later in my career, many were as amazing and kind, as they were talented.

Your work is so important to keeping Ottawa citizens informed. What does it mean to you to be the face of breaking news stories?

I consider it a very big responsibility and I take it very seriously. My reporting style has always been straight forward – about the facts. I want to ensure Ottawa residents get the information they need – and that it is clearly communicated. I also always keep in mind in these scenarios, that there are at times people who will be directly impacted and so as you are learning more information about a scenario, I do my best to take a respectful approach to sensitive topics. Outside of breaking news, I’m also just as honoured to be able to cover community events, fundraisers or cool and unique stories. I’m grateful to be trusted by our community and to keep them informed.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?

I have been with CTV Ottawa for nearly eight years now – and I have spent more than a decade in different newsrooms. What I have learned – is that there is always something to learn and I would suggest giving grace during those learning periods. I have always been my toughest critic – and I think looking back, I would tell myself not to sweat the small stuff.

Congratulations on your recent marriage! How did you meet your partner, and how is newlywed life treating you?

Thank you! I met my partner at a birthday party for a mutual friend. We found out we have the same taste in music and went to a concert shortly after that (The Lumineers!). The rest is history! Newlywed life feels much the same as before. We still try to squeeze in dates when we aren’t working, or spend time with our pup. We both had really busy years and so I think we are focused on relaxing and just enjoying our time together.

What are some habits you have that you would say contribute the most to your success?

I’ve always been a hard worker but I think my willingness to learn and master new skills has gone a long way too. This industry is always changing and evolving and I have made sure to do the same. I started in radio, before moving to video-journalism, hosting, reporting, producing and now anchoring on CTV Ottawa.

We can’t get enough of your Bernedoodle puppy, Finn! What has dog mom life been like?

I love Finn the most. He has a big personality, just like many Bernedoodles, which we can’t get enough of. He’s recently become a big snuggle guy – which is my absolutely favourite. He just turned one and is about 75 pounds!

How would you spend a perfect day in Ottawa?

I’m honestly all about simplicity. My favourite days are spent with family and friends either having dinner, just sitting by the pool, or I love to go on walks with friends, or Finn. Throw in a coffee and I am all set!

You’re both a head anchor at CTV News at 11:30, and you do hourly casts for CFRA. What is the biggest difference between these two roles for you?

Great question! For CTV News at 11:30, we spend hours building a 30 minute show with all of the latest live-local-breaking news from across the capital region.

The show is very community focused. I am the anchor for this specific show, I also produce it, working with our multi-skilled-journalists (MSJs) and web-team to provide up-to-date information to our viewers. On CFRA, I am responsible for hourly newscasts, which run about 4-5 minutes each and include a few top stories from across the region, or breaking news across the province and country.
These hits run from 7 until 10 p.m., and keep our listeners up to date on the top stories of the day.

Take us behind the scenes of an average day at CTV News Ottawa, what is something that you think most people don’t realize is a part of your day?

Our viewers see me on the 11:30 news, but much of my work at CTV Ottawa is done in the hours leading up to the show. I arrive around 4p.m. and assist with breaking news and script writing/reporting for CTV News at 6. From there, I start my nightly radio newscasts, update our website, watch for breaking news, and write much of our late show. I also work alongside our MSJ’s on the evening’s top stories.
You’ve been with CTV News since 2015. Now almost 8 years in Ottawa, how has your job changed? How has it stayed the same? And what is your favourite part about the work you do?

My role within CTV News Ottawa continues to evolve. I started as a part-time reporter for CTV Ottawa and soon after starting working with CFRA Ottawa, writing daily newscasts. I started to really idolize producing, and spent time learning how our shows are put together. Eventually, I became full-time, delivering local news Monday-Friday, before moving to anchoring our 11:30 p.m. show.

If you weren’t a News Anchor and Journalist, what career do you think you would have chosen, and why?

This is a tough one! I love the excitement that comes with working in media. I also teach part-time, and I absolutely love it – so potentially teaching. While I can certainly be reserved at times, I’m very social and know I would need a job where I get to engage with people – and community. Luckily, I get to do what I love at CTV Ottawa.

 

Holiday Quickies:

You’re clearly a very involved aunt to your adorable nieces and nephews––do you have any new or old holiday traditions you celebrate with your family?

Growing up we did the traditional gifts in the morning. Now watching the kids open the presents with so much enthusiasm is so much fun. I also love having coffee by the fire with my mom, and being able to catch up. This year, I will be in Ottawa with my husband’s family, where I’m excited to begin some new traditions.

What are your top three favourite holiday movies?

I feel like I change my mind on this all of the time – but I would say Elf, Home Alone and Love Actually.

What’s one holiday memory that you’ll always remember?

I remember so much from the holidays but I think my favourite thing was getting together with all the extended family at a big holiday party. There would be a big meal, dessert, tons of games and so much catching up with everyone.

What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

I am keeping it simple this year and focusing on health. 2022 was busy! It came with a lot of blessings, but I think I need to take a step back now and take it easy. I want to get back to getting active, eating well and spending time with loved ones.

By Maijia Stevenson

Photography by Sean Sisk

 

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