sauga success story: Francis D'Souza Citytv
Tell us a little about your interesting story on how you caught the TV bug?
When I was in high school, I organized a trip down to Citytv to be part of the audience on Lunch Television. They selected one audience member to announce the “Welcome to Lunch Television” on Queen St. and I was selected to do that. It was fun and exciting but thank God the tape is gone.
Is it on YouTube?
No, none. YouTube wasn’t even around then. YouTube was the tube.
What is your Mississauga connection?
I was born, raised and still live there.
What was your first job in television?
I was at Rogers Community Television in Mississauga. I was a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee and we put in a proposal for a youth show and we were flatly rejected but I was told go to this meeting at the Rogers studio so I went. It ended up being a training session on how to use ENG tv camera’s. After the presentation, the producer came up to me and said “you were asking a lot of questions.” I said “sorry”, and he said “no, that’s good”. He also mentioned that they have a youth show on called “Get Real” and were looking for two new hosts. That my first day walking into a tv station. He asked “what are you doing Thursday? Come on down at 4 pm and we are live at 5 pm”. I also did (a show called) “Plugged In” and I volunteered a long time at Rogers.
Was that your big break?
Oh ya, for sure. Up to that point I wanted to be a teacher, I had no idea tv was a possibility. I was on the route to become a teacher up to that point.
What was your most memorable moment as a new anchor and why?
It was covering G20 for Citytv. I was in the middle of that kettle situation on the corner of Queen and Spadina. We have this great technology where we didn’t need a live truck to go live and our camera had a built in transmitter on the back of it. We were following this protest from King and Bay and we walked with it to Queen and Spadina and it escalated to this huge situation where the riot squad encircled the entire intersection. I was in the middle with all these other people not knowing what was going to happen. It all played out in our 6 pm news cast. Gord Martineau was telling me to volunteer to get arrested because we heard they were going to start to bring out rubber bullets.
Did you volunteer to get arrested?
No, I volunteered to keep going on air live and we kept going. It got to the point where I saw a camera man next to me who worked for a national station . Police came out from behind their line grabbed him and pulled him down and dragged him out. I looked at my camera guy and said “Okay, I think I’m ready to go”. I started asking members of the riot squad to let us out and one guy recognized me, opened up the line and let us out . This was all while we were on live television. I won a Gemini award for that.
Dead or alive who would you want to interview?
Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II
Why have you chosen Mississauga as your home when so many other news anchors choose to live in Toronto?
The honest truth is that my wife is from Sudbury and she wants a backyard and you can’t get a big backyard in Toronto. I love the suburb life and I love Mississauga and I would not live in another city. This is where we want to raise our family. We love parks, and we love the family atmosphere that Mississauga neighborhoods can bring.
What do you love most about Mississauga?
I love and I am a huge fan of Mayor Hazel McCallion. I have done many stories with her. Mississauga is home. I lived away for two years when I worked in Northern Ontario and it was so nice to come back home.
The journalism industry is tough to break into. Can you give any advice for someone in school or just getting into the field?
You have to have dream, passion and drive. But you also have to have the smarts enough to say you know what, you might have to leave the Toronto area to cut my teeth. I left to go to Sudbury for 2 years then I came back to the biggest market in Canada to become a news Anchor. My big time advice is leave but always have a plan B.
What’s next for Francis D’Souza professionally?
You know many people ask - Will you go to CNN? Do you want to be an international correspondent? And my answer is always - No. I love local news and I love living here in the GTA. I have a lot of family here. My job changes every day and I started the 5 pm show about a year ago and it continues to grow as the audience grows with us. I think there is huge potential at Citytv so why would I want to leave?
Anything you would like to plug?
City News at 5. Your best local source for news and information at 5 o’clock. It’s not your usual newscast, it a great newscast when you are with your family. Good practical information for families. It’s news you can use when you are on the go.
Quick Facts with Francis D’Souza
Catch Anchor and Reporter Francis D'Souza weeknights on CityNews at 5 on Citytv, and CityNews Channel
on Rogers Digital Channel 15.