A local reporter has received B.C.’s top journalism award for his coverage of a hostage situation at a Kamloops government building.
Trevor Metz received a Jack Webster award for best news reporting of the year: radio, at the annual awards dinner Thursday night in Vancouver.
“It’s an honour to be recognized by your peers,” Metz said, “doing something you love so much that you’d probably do it for free if you didn’t have to eat.”
Metz, 31, currently a reporter with both PGTV and the Drive, received the award for his part in covering the Richard Anderson hostage-murder-suicide at the Ministry of Land, Water and Air Protection in Kamloops last year. Receiving the award alongside Metz were his former co-workers at CJNL – a Kamloops radio station – veteran news reporters Jim Harrison and Bob Price.
Metz began his journalism career fairly late. Enrolled in his third year at BCIT, taking civil engineering courses, Metz had had enough. At the age of 27 he quit the engineering and re-enrolled in the school’s broadcast journalism program.
In his final year of school Metz applied for a job with CHNL in Kamloops.
“Everybody told me they were the toughest news room, the best, but the toughest news room to work for. I applied and Jim Harrison, the news director, said, ‘Your read sucks, but you have a deep voice … so maybe you have some potential.
“It was one of the hardest places to work. They require a ridiculous amount of hours put in.”
Despite everything, Metz credits Harrison with making him the reporter he is today.
“He’s my mentor,” he said. “He’s the man that taught me honesty, accuracy, and accountability are our only currency in this business. They’re the model of professionalism and the model of dogged determination.”
It was approaching 3 p.m. on a slow Tuesday when Metz, looking for school board stories, heard reports over the police scanner of shots being fired at the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection.
Metz grabbed two cell phones and a tape recorder and drove to the scene while Harrison and Angelo Iacobucci stayed at the office.
“Angelo and Jim did a fantastic job of gathering the information,” Metz said. “They went right to Rich Coleman and were getting information before the police on the scene were getting information.”
The situation took six hours to unfold. And despite the huge influx of coastal media, Metz and company continued to break the news. After the situation was over, Metz got an exclusive interview with Gail Lagowski, the survivor who hid in the bathroom while Richard Anderson was on his rampage.