Career path for CTVís MacMillan was mapped out as a Grade 6 student
By Debra Downey, Senior Editor
Marcia MacMillan wasn’t one of those young adults who didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives.
MacMillan was just a tiny tot in Grade 6 when she discovered where, what and who she wanted to be.
“I was watching a female news anchor, and I thought, ‘That looks interesting. You get to talk and read and interview people,’” said MacMillan. “...I was one of those rare beings and very single-minded in my purpose.”
Born and raised in Ancaster, MacMillan graduated from Ancaster High before heading off to the University of Western Ontario and Ryerson University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a graduate degree in journalism.
MacMillan began her broadcasting career at small market television stations in Northern Ontario. She anchored the news at CKWS in Kingston and worked as a reporter and anchor for MCTV in Sudbury and North Bay. MacMillan also did a stint at CHCH TV and covered the health beat for Toronto 1.
She landed at CTV News in 2005. In the past decade, MacMillan has covered a wide range of breaking news and major events. She counts among the highlights anchoring during the 2010 G20 in Toronto when CTV News Channel had the highest ratings since its inception. Other notable accomplishments include the 2009 Buffalo plane crash, for which MacMillan won a Radio-Television News Directors Association award.
A typical day for MacMillan involves getting up at 6 a.m. and checking in with the television and Internet about what has been happening in the world overnight. MacMillan arrives at CTV by 8 a.m. and goes into hair and makeup, still reading everything she can about the latest news from around the globe. By 9:30, she’s meeting with producers, tweaking scripts and being prepped for interviews. She’s on the air at 11 a.m. and repeats the process leading up to the 2-3 p.m. broadcast. Although the schedule may sound a bit hectic to some, MacMillan said her career has taken her precisely to where she had hoped.
“I am exactly where I want to be...talking to real people with real stories,” said MacMillan.
MacMillan said she knows her interview skills and the person she is talking to are having an impact when she hears absolutely nothing — both on the set and from callers on the switchboard.
The riveting silence occured just recently, when CTV’s coverage of the missing Malaysian plane included MacMillan interviewing a woman from San Francisco who lost her husband on the Swiss Air crash.
“She (the woman) was trying to reach out to other people with similar experiences,” said MacMillan. “I knew I had a good interview because I could hear nothing in the background.”
MacMillan said she doesn’t really have a particular favourite moment that stands out among a series of memorable moments in the past 15 years, just the special feeling that comes with doing something for the first time.
“Every sort of first would be memorable, my first job, my first lead story, my first day at CTV, the first day I backfilled on Canada AM...,” said MacMillan. “I was over the moon.”
On the day Hamilton Community News caught up to MacMillan, she had spent a portion of her day talking to a Grade 11 careers class at Nelson High School in Burlington. She talked about her professional life and gave students some advice on choosing their careers — do whatever you feel passionate about.
“Achieving what I set out to achieve, and at the same time having amazing, supportive parents and friends, so I can do all of that I do and all that I aspire to do, is a wonderful.”