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A Rising Star: Maya Johnson

by Archives January 17, 2007

A 22 year old Concordian graduate, Maya Johnson is a familiar face to most of CTV’s viewers. This passionate journalist has been working as a freelancer for CTV for two years. She thinks of journalism as being a noble profession. “Being a journalist is so different. You have access to other people’s lives. They let you in their homes; they trust you with their stories of personal life [.] this is simply a great job,” she says.

Johnson’s love for journalism started earlier in her life. She always loved storytelling, reading, writing, learning and sharing other people’s experience. That is what brought her towards a career in journalism. She admires people “who prove themselves against all odds of life.”

People like Oprah and Michaelle Jean, who had no special opportunities but still they achieved a lot in their lives. She considers Oprah as one of the most powerful women on Earth. Growing up poor and in a time when black people had little opportunities, she worked hard to prove herself.

Along with CTV news reporting, Johnson loves to write. She is contributing to Community Contact, a black community newspaper, whereas for her professional work, she gives preference to broadcast media.

Creativeness is an essential part of writing. You have to find interesting stories that “catch reader’s attention. You hear about politics, taxes, murders, and fires all the times. Its refreshing to hear stories that are original.” Those are only a few reasons why she likes to do stories of human interest. It’s a quality of a journalist to “express old ideas in new ways. Nothing in this world is new. Things always happen over and over again. You just have to express them in creative ways,” says Johnson.

She prefers to work under deadlines. Deadlines “give me an incentive to work harder and faster. And the quality of my work under pressure is also high,” she says. “I have never missed a deadline ever! I come close to it. And it even makes me more productive.” She believes that working with variety of people is very important as you get a chance of learning from elders, sharing with colleagues of your own age, and teaching your youngsters.

She is a person who is deeply aware of her image. She keeps a strong track of whatever she says and whatever she does. “I try to keep my political views to myself. If your audience knows that you are too left wing or too right, then they might think that there is a bias in your reporting.”

She was one of many Montrealers who actually faced the terror of Dawson shootings. She was already downtown that day, working on another story, when her boss called her up and demanded her to reach de Maisonneuve street right away.

“I had no idea at that time about the magnitude of what was happening; maybe because he didn’t want to freak me out! I was expecting a few gun shots at the corner of the street but it turned out to be a school massacre where thousands of students were running out of school. It was scary and I was actually taken up that day,” says Johnson with a terror in her voice. She was not able to do the reporting that day as she is one of the youngest news reporters on CTV. She was only sharing her clips with seniors. “People were running out of danger and we were actually trying to go towards it,” says Johnson. Sometimes, that’s the choice they have to make.

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