Print this page
Saturday, 01 October 2016 06:31

Former SWTV reporter now national Ottawa Bureau Chief for Global TV

Written by 
Rate this item
(2 votes)
Vassy Kapelos is the Ottawa Parliamentary Bureau Chief for Global News. Vassy Kapelos is the Ottawa Parliamentary Bureau Chief for Global News. Global News

Millions of Canadians have seen her on Global National reporting on a variety of national issues, however many in Swift Current and southwest Saskatchewan remember Vassy Kapelos as the upbeat reporter and videographer for Southwest TV News in Swift Current from October 2007 to September 2008.

As of August of this year, she is now the Ottawa Bureau Chief for Global News television, an impressive distinction.
“I don’t know if I necessarily coveted it this soon, but it was always a long-term goal of mine in the back of my mind,” explains Kapelos. “My duties definitely change. While before I was responsible primarily for my own story and that took up most of my day, now I will oversee the editorial output of the bureau as a whole and managing the bureau. That means about a third of my day is devoted to my own story, so it’s been a big change for me.
“I always felt like I had a lot of control over my own story direction and I would weigh in on the other stuff we covered; but, now it’s my job to do so. That’s probably what I’m most excited about, the opportunity to help shape Global’s impact on the Hill.”
Considering the traditional bureau chief role in many media outlets has generally gone to someone older, it has been a well-deserved transition.
Kapelos says she was probably predispositioned to get into politics in some manner.
“I think I always knew I wanted to do something to do with politics. My parents read three newspapers a day and our dinner conversations (debates) were all politics all the time. I even think it might be genetic; my parents met at a political convention,”she recalls. “Journalism wasn’t really something I considered until I was in my Master’s program at Dalhousie. It was a great program, but I couldn’t envision spending another five years doing a PhD. Reporting seemed like a good way to bridge my love of politics with a desire to have an impact.”
Kapelos points to her upbringing as the reason for a diligent work ethic. She says her father and mother (who has passed away) are the hardest working people she has ever known.
“I learned everything about how to succeed from them and their sacrifice gave me the opportunities I’ve had in life,” explains Kapelos. “I’d be nowhere without them and the example they set.”
With degrees in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Western Ontario; her Masters of Arts from Dalhousie, and a journalism diploma from Seneca College, plus numerous post-secondary awards as well as national awards for work on Global, the Ontario native’s career started in Swift Current.
She humbly admits she had never been to Saskatchewan, let alone having ever heard of Swift Current following her graduation from Seneca.
“I was a typical Torontonian the rest of Canada loves to hate, as in ‘wait what, there’s a world outside Toronto?’” she explains good-naturedly. “I had never been anywhere in Saskatchewan, but I was excited and knew that it would be a great opportunity. My sister flew over with me, we found an apartment, bought a car and went to Greek Night all within 24 hours. My time in Swift was great. The people were kind, welcoming and warm. The transition was huge though. I remember when I went to school in Halifax I thought it was small.
“I had some really tough moments wondering if I would ever get another job, asking myself why I was so far from my family, but I think anyone who moves away for work goes through the same thing. A lot of doubt and wondering if you will make it and what you are doing it all for. Still, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It made me who I am and made me so grateful for every opportunity since.”
At SWTV News, Kapelos was required to shoot, edit and report six packages a week, with three airing in each show.
Kapelous says this was an educational experience, understanding shooting stories from the ground up as on the technical side, she had never even really shot a full story when she started.
“On the development side, there were so many ‘firsts’: The first time questioning a politician, being in a scrum, doing standups — the on-camera portion —  figuring out what a ‘good’ story is, like ones that affect the community and the first time messing up,” she explains.
“I’ll never forget shooting an entire story ‘blue’ —  the white balance was off — and having to tell my bosses. I shudder at the thought today.”
After leaving Swift Current in 2008, she  worked for Global in Saskatoon until April 2010. She moved to Edmonton, Alberta and Calgary as a reporter and anchor until December 2013 when she returned to Ottawa as a parliamentary correspondent. She’s been on national airwaves as the parliamentary reporter until just this past August when she earned the coveted bureau chief role.
“To be truthful, I think I still have a long way to go. I’m proud of those awards, but I’m more proud of the changes those stories forced. Changes to the ambulatory system and changes to disclosure for public servants in Alberta,” explains Kapelos. “I hope that I’m able to affect the same kind of change at the national level, but I know I have my work cut out for me. I’m working in a press gallery where people have decades more experience than I do. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and diligence on my part to make a mark, but you have my word I will try my best.”
Away from the political arenas and the television studios, Kapelos still loves talking about politics with her loved ones.
“I love talking to friends and family outside politics because it gives me a better sense of what kind of stories resonate with them and our viewers,” she explains. “Political stories are always hard because if you’re a junkie like me you love them, but they put most people to sleep. It’s always a challenge to figure out how to make them interesting and good TV.”
It’s difficult to predict the future for Kapelos. Her thoughtful, well-detailed, yet easy-to-understand descriptions of major developments in national politics make her endearing.
She will always hold Swift Current dear to her heart and still stays close to friends she made while here. She says she owes a lot to Southwest TV News and Swift Current.
“I remember pretty much all the stories I did in Swift. Some of the stories in court really stuck with me — like the pedophile who laughed at my camera as he walked into the courthouse,” she recalls.
Some were not so pleasant like that one, others much better.
“I definitely look back on all of it fondly though, because it really shaped who I am and where I am today. I’m still great friends with someone I met who at the time worked for the radio station. I was in her wedding and even made a trip back in the last few years to meet her beautiful baby girl.
“I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I said the other day to a friend if my career ends now, I’ll be ok with it — although of course I hope it doesn’t. I’ve seen people persevere after natural disasters, covered elections, the Olympics, travelled everywhere from Europe to Iraq and had a front row seat to history. I actually can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been and the only thing that would make it sweeter would be if my mom were still here to see it. For now, my future is in this bureau working with some of the most talented people I’ve ever come across and hopefully deepening Global’s impact in Ottawa. After that, who knows? I’m excited to see what’s in store.”

Read 4462 times Last modified on Wednesday, 28 September 2016 16:38
Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor