Sun News reflections and trying to move on

It’s old news to the public but still startling news to me.

Sun News is dead.

My job is gone. The team has been broken up. The fight is over. My three year journey has come to an end.

And even though it’s been a few weeks now, I’m finally ready to speak out.

The first day I started at Sun News Network as an intern, the internet and pretty much all the essential programs went down. On my first day as a freelancer, the Luka Magnotta story broke and I ended up working from 7 am-11 pm that day. And on my last day – a Thursday – I stayed three hours after my shift ended so to have a show ready for Monday- for which was supposed to be a day off.

And then that Thursday night after I had finally left: I was at a friend’s place when I got a phone call from someone from a local media outlet.

“Hi Tevy, this is so and so…”

“Hi so and so. How can I help you? (and how do you know me and how did you get my number?”)

“Well, what do you know?”

“Um… what do you know?”

He tells me what’s been reported in other outlets and I figurative say, “oh… isn’t that so… Well no one of importance within the company has told me anything… But if that is true, are there any openings where you are?”

Fast forward through a few work email and Facebook group message chains where everyone’s wondering what’s going on and whether of not we should come into work tomorrow. One report says we’re off the air at 5 AM. Well that’s assuring. I’ve got an 8 AM shift. Nonetheless maybe I should copy down all my work contacts just in case.

And at 5:01 the following morning, “just in case” was confirmed. Upper management finally told us in an email that we were dead. Come to the office and pick up your stuff.

And that’s what we did. And we commiserated, laughed, smiled, hugged, told stories, praised each other, kissed and made up, took pictures and some cried. We were all in the same boat, no one higher than the other. It was like the last day of camp, except the definition of camp included putting a roof under your head and kids to feed.

Yes, it happened that way. We were kept in the dark until the channel itself went dark. But I hold no hard feelings. I choose to focus on all the positives that occurred over my three years at Sun News Network

Call me crazy but I really enjoyed waking up at 4 AM to make it downtown for a 6 AM shift. That included having your car being the first one parked at Finch Station, taking the TTC vomit comet all the way down Yonge Street To King Street (the subway didn’t begin operating until 5:45 AM), the server at Tim Horton’s knowing my face and my order, the thrash metal I’d listen to while walking down King Street to the office that would help fire me up once I got to my desk. And once I sat down, it was go go go…

And I loved every minute of it.

We were feisty folks (a word I grew to hate) at Sun News. We ruffled feathers. We were shit-disturbers. And we wanted to be different. And I’ve always loved different. And sure I didn’t always agree with the network’s definitions of different or the ways of implementing it, the positives of SNN always outweighed those disagreements.

Say what you want about my network, I don’t and have never taken it personally. I took pride in being a member of the Sun News family. I would often get two responses from people I told that I worked at Sun News. The first one was the “what’s Sun News?” and the other was “I love Sun News!”

I love those “I love Sun News” people. They got it.

There were many highlights: The 2012 US election, Magnotta, Rob Ford, all the provincial elections (In BC – Clark beats Dix, Cummings was left behind). And one day I’ll finally tell the Rabbi Shmuley Boteach story online. But I fulfilled a dream that my sixteen-year-old self would be so happy of and want to give current Tevy a massive hug and high-five. To be able to contribute to pro-Israel coverage in the media was immensely fulfilling. To be able to speak my mind about the crisis, views on Israel and Judasim, was comforting and confidence-boosting to the max.

And to work at a company that never gave me troubles as an Orthodox Jew was fantastic. I could wear my keepah and tzitzis with pride and gladly share some of my beliefs and customs with those who inquired about them. My intent was never to preach or argue, but rather to educate and discuss.

I even learned myself in that regard. For example I was having a really bad week, and one co-worker – an Orthodox Christian sent me an email containing the text of Psalm 23, which happens to be my favourite of them all. I was so so grateful and reinvigorated. We would then exchange Psalms and inspire each other to do and perform well because G-d can make it so. It was a very different source of inspiration to strive for good.

I’d be lying if I said these past few weeks haven’t been easy for me. There’s been moments of depression, hopelessness, and feeling all alone. The return of anxiety and panic attacks (there is a difference) and chest pains that are physical manifestations of those conditions. Losing a job plain sucks. And add on your already fun elements of mental illness to the fold is a fun celebration to be a part of.

But I’ve been trying to find the good in all this. For example, it’s one thing when an individual loses their job – the conversations are between you and whomever you feel comfortable enough to tell. But when everyone who knows you and knows that Sun News exists, knows that you’ve lost your job, in comes those people reaching out to me and wanting the best for me.

There’s been hope, smiles, laughter and good initiative. I do my best to stay positive and have assurance that things will turn out for the best, whenever that might come.

I am so grateful for all the opportunities. I learned so so much. I met and grew with some incredible people. Sun News gave me the chance to grow and dammit did I grow. Regardless of the circumstances that lead to today, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my time there. It was an honour. Thanks to everyone who made it such a special place to come in to work (and laugh) your ass off. I loved my coworkers. Just a pleasant group of people to work and learn from and with. I was able to meet and learn some incredibly intelligent and experienced people in the business. I will miss them all immensely.

In news you’re taught to write in the present tense. And while it’s hard to think of Sun News in the past tense, I choose to look forward. G-d has plans and I trust in them. This is a blessing in disguise. We’ll all land on our feet.

As one Sun sets, another day begins. Let’s make the best of it.


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