Reporting on traffic-related information for the Edmonton region as well as provincial highway incidents and conditions, Daintre Christensen also conducts interviews for the morning news program. She is a strong supporter of community campaigns such as The Little Warriors and Angel Whispers. “Community work is absolutely a responsibility of a broadcaster,” Christensen says. “We have a huge opportunity to make a difference.”
Christensen also donates her time to promote animal rescue groups. In fact, she is a foster mother to three African elephants. She is committed to nature conservancy and participates in shoreline clean-ups and tree planting.
Born in North Bay, Ontario, Christensen is an Ojibway from the Nipissing First Nation. As an indigenous broadcaster, she encourages other indigenous people to pursue careers in journalism.
A graduate of broadcast journalism at Canadore College, North Bay, in 2003, Christensen worked as a DJ at CKFX in North Bay (2001-2003) and behind the microphone at CISN Country 103.9 FM in Edmonton (2003-2006).
Her television broadcast career was launched as a reporter in the Global 1 helicopter in 2006, where she filed traffic reports for the Morning News, the Early News, and Corus radio. She covered breaking news events for the News Hour on Global Edmonton, live from Global 1.
From the Desk of Daintre Christensen
Q = What are some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of your job, unseen, emotionally rewarding, challenging, or perhaps even tedious?
A = The rewarding aspects are meeting impactful citizens who make a difference in our community through charity work and awareness campaigns. Most especially, The Little Warriors founder Glori Meldrum, and Lori-Ann Huot from Angel Whispers. Both programs deal with difficult and emotional issues that members in our community confront. It is deeply meaningful to have people like these two women providing assistance in a time of struggle.
The emotionally challenging and at times tedious moments are often the task of reporting on collisions involving possible impairment and/or dangerous, distracted driving. Traffic fatalities are especially difficult to report. You know that person was loved by someone. It can be frustrating to see campaign after campaign against impaired driving fail to reach people. It’s difficult to wrap my head around why it just doesn’t sink in for some drivers. I lost a friend because of impaired driving; far too many people have. It is also discouraging to continue to see people texting while driving. I try not to react to it when I see it but I just want to shake my head at them for it.
Q = You do a lot of community work such as being an animal advocate. Why is this important to you?
A = Mainly because I feel that animals are vulnerable. Too many are treated as though they are disposable. I have a big soft spot for animals but I try to help both animal groups and children’s charities. It is rewarding to see the good work being done; often quietly. Many are smaller groups who rescue animals. Others are wonderful volunteers who are serving food daily in school lunch programs. Besides attending events, and emcee work, I share information through social media and post volunteer opportunities.
Q = Is community work a responsibility of a broadcaster?
A = Absolutely! We have a huge opportunity to make a difference. We are role models for many of our viewers. It inspires people to do more when we promote and participate in events across the city and the province.
Q = What training is required to be a co-host as well as a traffic reporter?
For starters, good interview skills. We typically have three minutes to conduct an interview. It’s important to convey the information that our guests are providing in a concise manner. Sometimes it can be tough because there can be a lot of background information to communicate to the viewer. You need to get to the core of the issue and progress the interview as smoothly as possible. Afterwards, I upload the interview to our website and social media platforms.
Q = What do you enjoy most about your job?
A = The people I work with. If you don’t have a positive working environment, it’s tough to feel invested in your job. I am glad that we have such a great team. We feed off of each other and share a similar sense of humour which adds to the fun. Despite the early hours, I love my shift. I get home before noon and have the rest of the day to do what I need to do.
Q = How important is attitude to a broadcaster?
A = It is so very important. You have to be willing to adapt because news reporting is constantly changing. From new technology to being social media savvy, we are required to be willing to continually learn in our industry. We are more engaged with our viewers than ever before. You have to be willing to take on new tasks to stay relevant.
Q = How does teamwork fit into your job?
A = With regards to traffic reporting, I work in conjunction with the helicopter team to cover traffic incidents. It is vital to get the confirmations and updates on issues from the chopper so that we can relay the information to the viewers. When I fill in for weather, I consult with our weather team for their analysis on weather occurrences. For interviews, our producer fills me in on background information for a guest and any changes to the interview layout.
Q How would you describe yourself (in relation to your job)?
A = I suppose I would describe myself as a typical Alberta driver. I try to form my reports around the big issues with a bit of a fun attitude. You need to laugh sometimes when it comes to dealing with traffic issues in the city.
I understand the trials and tribulations of the Edmonton area commuter. We don’t get a break at any time of year. In the winter months, we deal with poor road conditions and spin outs galore. In the summer, we have construction projects on the go. While we love fresh paved roads and potholes that are filled quickly, we dislike the process at times. With road construction it’s a big pain for huge gain, but when stuck at a crawl during the summer months, it’s a struggle to maintain perspective. That being said, I am happy to see the completion of the Anthony Henday NE! When I report on traffic, I try to remember who I do this for: that person who needs to know what road to avoid today.
Q = How do you handle sexist comments?
A = By not responding! I really can’t stop people from posting comments online. I try not to get worked up about it. Both male and female co-workers get comments about their appearance so I don’t take it to heart. I admit though, it can be frustrating when the traffic report I deliver is overlooked because of the outfit I am wearing or my appearance.
Q = What are your current goals?
A = I certainly hope for a continued career in broadcasting. I would love to be with the Global News Morning for a very long time. We are seeing so many changes to conventional television and the integration of digital media. I wish to continue to learn and adapt to the changes in our industry. We strive to provide the latest information for our viewers on all platforms. Plain and simple, my goal is to continue doing what I love.
Q = Who were the biggest influences in your life?
A = Most certainly my family. It is a mix of blood and bond but I have always been surrounded by supportive people who have encouraged and enabled me to pursue my career in journalism.
Q = Who were the biggest influences in your career?
A = I have been lucky in my career to work under some big names in broadcasting. Here in Alberta, I got my start in a major market gig behind the mic courtesy of the loveable Chris Scheetz. He arranged for Bruce Bowie to mentor me. When I moved over to television, Mike Sobel was such a huge help. He offered great advice as I was stepping into a new role in front of the camera. Live television doesn’t always go as planned. He advised me not to panic, to capitalize on the moment, and to just relax.
Q = What skills are most needed by today’s media workers? Advice to readers?
A = Adaptability and a willingness to learn are key skills. This industry is evolving. We need to roll with it in order to stay on top. My advice to readers: maintain your credibility. Credibility is vital for any successful journalist. Always check your facts. Never try to be the first to post; instead, strive to be the first with the correct information.
Outside of the Global Edmonton studios, Christensen enjoys travelling with her husband, jogging with her dog Virgil, and target shooting.
Check out Daintre at: https://twitter.com/Daintre_
By Constance Brissenden for MediaMag.ca
Constance Brissenden’s writing, editing, and teaching career spans more than 40 years. A Masters graduate of the University of Alberta (Theatre), she is co-author of award-winning children’s books by Cree author Larry Loyie, as well as more than a dozen titles of history and travel. Website: www.firstnationswriter.com.