BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN
On Conway Fraser?s first day as a reporter at CBC Radio in Sudbury, he was so sharply criticized by his boss that he started to regret going into journalism.
Rejean Grenier, then the senior producer at CBC in Sudbury, had asked the 21-year-old to come in for a three-day tryout.
?The very first story I did was about an alleged scam at a gym in town. I was working on the story, and everything I?d ever learned was going into this
thing. Rejean looked over my shoulder and said, ?OK. That?s crap,? and deleted the whole thing,? he said.
?I?m thinking, ?Oh God, this is it. I?m done. I?m getting married in three months. I?m never going to get work. I picked the wrong career. I should have gone into the mines?.?
But Fraser, now a 35-year-old husband a father of four, shouldn?t have worried.
He has spent his entire career at the CBC, working alternately in Sudbury, Prince George, Toronto and Winnipeg.
On Nov. 18, Fraser and several CBC Winnipeg colleagues were honoured for their work when they received a Gemini award for the best practical information segment.
They won for a television documentary on violent video games produced for The National.
?We were absolutely shocked. It?s almost a cliche and cheesy when people say ?It?s just great to be nominated.? But it was just great to be nominated,? said Fraser.
Usually, Gemini awards go to established television programs like the Fifth Estate, not to reporters from outlying CBC stations, he said.
Fraser was thrilled to meet celebrities such as aboriginal actor Graham Greene and CBC News Sunday host Evan Solomon at the awards event.
?The story we won for was about violent video games...Provincial governments had been promising since the late 1990s to start regulating violent video games in the same way they regulate R-rated and X-rated movies,? he said.
?Almost six years had passed, and nothing had changed. After a bit more research, we found out that the (video game) industry had done some pretty aggressive lobbying of provincial governments to make their case, and managed to convince them that regulation was not needed.?
The documentary centres around the freak killing of a Canadian man in Tennessee. The man died after two young boys got tired of playing the popular video game Grand Theft Auto, and decided to act out a real version by shooting at cars on the highway with rifles.
?After the story aired, we saw some action happening from the provinces on video games. We can?t say it was related to our story. It might have just been a neat coincidence. But certainly, the story helped to foster some debate,? he said.
Fraser studied broadcast journalism at Canadore College and political science at Laurentian University.
He has won several awards for his journalism besides the Gemini, including citations from the Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA)
and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).