By Lindsey McNeill
My first glimpse of Daryl McIntyre was in the cafeteria of the historic CTV building. I was hired as a receptionist for 100.3 the Bear–my first job after graduation–and I spent my lunch hour with my nose deep in a book, pretending not to watch the soaps that were broadcast on a small television mounted on the wall.
The lunch hour check-in from CTV News popped on the screen and Daryl walked into the room. It was a meta-inception moment and I was struck by how tall he was in person. He noticed himself on screen, looked at me and said, “that guy is a total asshole.” He left the room like he had dropped the mic. He instantly became my favourite.
Unlike the stereotypical tv personalities that Daryl himself describes as, “paper thin, shallow pieces of jerk,” McIntyre exudes a welcoming and attentive presence, effortless cool and, as you now know, a wicked sense of humour.
McIntyre has recently announced his departure–not a retirement –from CTV after thirty-three years on the station. He’s led an impressive career covering Edmonton’s top stories: the golden era of the Oilers, the aftermath of our F4 tornado and landed the prestigious Canadian Screen Award for “Best Local News Anchor.”
But instead of a career boasting ode to a great alumnus, I wanted to know how thirty seven years of covering humanity would form a man’s opinion of our world and our future.
I think people would be surprised at how funny you are.
Not everything is what you see on TV… not everybody is what they do.
You’re no Ron Burgundy, thankfully.
Well I don’t know, I’ve always wanted to be that. In some ways I have lived that, minus the mustache and the good hair.
You’re probably better with the teleprompter.
Maybe, yes. I can ad-lib around swear words and question marks. It’s a gift.
Three decades. You’ve seen the evolution of the city, of the world… is it all going to shit?
Things have certainly changed for broadcast in what we do. So much of what you see is al la carte online, you read what you want and you read the spin that you want or watch the things that seem to cater to your own beliefs in the first place. That’s a dangerous thing. It suddenly removes other thoughts, other choices and other points of view which is what critical thought should be all about. And that’s rapidly disappearing. So yes, that does worry me.
What kinds of things do we need to look for in our news to make sure we get the bigger picture?
Variety and credibility. You need to look at a variety of sources, that’s always been the case.
Recognize where the story is coming from. Who would have created it? Is there an angle? Is it a trusted newsbrand that’s still desperately trying to cling to the principles of journalism, which the major ones all do–regardless of what the crazies are yelling about mainstream media.
You still need to look at where it’s coming from and use critical thought. And a lot of people don’t now, you just accept it or it becomes very subliminal. It’s an insidious little world and I know it sounds so doomsday, but it’s important that people recognize what is being thrown at them and you have to pick and choose what you believe.
It requires us to be awake.
Yeah, but not woke. That’s a totally different kettle of fish. You gotta be awake, you gotta be aware. You have to be engaged, ideally. That’s hard because, especially politically, it’s an ugly little world.
What keeps you hopeful?
To this day I love writing and putting together a newscast and presenting it and trying to make sure we do the best job we can, so that’s always been a joy. But you know, it’s been a long time. I don’t really get the butterflies anymore because I’ve done it enough times, so some of that excitement level is gone. As soon as that disappears a little bit, it’s not a bad time to think about sliding on.
Some of the biggest thought-leaders talk about the importance of failure, for instance Simon Sineck. Brene Brown talks about vulnerability… what has been your greatest lesson in failure?
I guess I’m not a great thought leader because I actually always had a fear of failure. It wasn’t: ‘What can I learn from failing?’ It was, ‘I’m scared to death of not doing it well, so I’m going to do everything I can–short of being an asshole–to get there’.
When I got my job in Prince George I was scared out of my mind. For me it was the first time I was away from home and I was coming in as the main news anchor and I was twenty-one years old and I was scared out of my bloody mind. I shook the set for a couple of weeks. I was so nervous the entire set would shake. The news director at the time said, “You gotta figure it out or I’m gonna have to let you go. I can’t have you keep doing this.” That’s when the fear of failure said, “Get over it. Move on. Do your job or you’re going to have to do something else.” And I don’t want to do something else.
I like reading sci-fi. You can call it crap, but it’s not reality, I get enough reality with my job. There’s a line in the Dune novels that says “fear is the mind killer, fear is the little death that eats away at you.” I’ve always wrapped my head around that and said, ‘don’t let fear scare you’. Use it as a motivator if you have to.
News tends to be all doom and gloom…
But the exciting things and the sweet things people get bored with. And really, they’re not going to impact. They’ll make you feel good for a little bit, but that’s what Facebook is for. You have to know what’s going on around your world, otherwise it will sweep you away.
If you don’t know that horrible things are happening, how do you know to protect yourself, or take action to try and help, or to take a stand or do something? Otherwise the world goes by and you don’t even notice it until the flood takes you away and you’re dead. How’s that for a dark little world?
Do you have a sense of what the future will look like?
No and that’s exciting. Because for the first time I am going to reinvent myself.
My line is, I didn’t want to decompose on the air and hold on to something so long that I couldn’t be seen doing anything else or being anything else. It’s a short life. I’ve devoted thirty-seven years to this one area and I’m sure whatever I end up doing is going to have connections to my experience, otherwise why bother doing it in the first place.