An Interview with Sonia Sunger, Anchor BC1
Fusia: What is it like working as a woman for Global News and more specifically as a South Asian woman for Global News?
Sonia: Short answer, it’s great. Women far outnumber men in our newsroom and we have a lot of women in leadership roles, including our Station Manager and News Director. Growing up, there were very few women that looked like me in television news, so I am happy to be part of that change. I think there has been a major shift in the last 10-15 years with women from all different backgrounds making huge strides in broadcasting. As a second-generation Canadian I look forward to the day when my ethnicity is no longer something that sticks out.
Fusia: Can you give a brief summary of your career ups and downs and what it has taken for you to get to your current career position?
Sonia: I think the hardest part of my career was probably the beginning. I was still in school and quite young when I first started working in a newsroom. I began as an intern, then a writer and worked my way up to a reporter and then an anchor. I had amazing mentors early on in my career and listening to their advice really set me on my path. In terms of where I am now, all I can really say is that I have put in a lot of hard work to get here and I’d like to think that it has paid off.
Fusia: What is the story that you have covered that you are most proud of to date? What kind of story do you most hope to cover in the future?
Sonia: In the scope of all the stories that I have reported on, the one I am most proud of is actually a small story that I did early on in my career. It was about a group of temporary foreign workers who were being taken advantage of by their employer. After running a number of stories, we finally got some solid answers from the company. They ended up reimbursing more than a dozen temporary foreign workers for unpaid work, with one individual getting almost $10,000 back. I was just doing my job, but it felt great to get a real, tangible response. I always root for the underdog, so for me, these are the types of stories that I like reporting on the most. There are so many vulnerable members of society who need a voice. Being a part of that is very important to me.
Fusia: How do you measure success and how do you imagine your future in your career as a journalist? What are the biggest goals that you are hoping to achieve?
Sonia: I measure success based on happiness and for me, if I am making a difference that makes me happy. That doesn’t mean that I have to break down doors every day, but it does mean getting answers for people on stories that matter to them. My goal and what I have always been working towards, is being a trusted journalist — a household name that people can count on. This is the premise I have based my career on and I hope to one day look back and say that I have achieved it.
Fusia: What does being a journalist mean to you?
Sonia: I became a journalist because I have an insatiable curiosity and constantly need to know. I have a thirst for knowledge and believe injustice needs to be exposed and people in positions of authority need to be held accountable. For me, being a journalist also means being a great storyteller. At the core of every story I write or read…my goal is to take a complex issue and break it down to make it easier to understand. The point of the story should be crystal clear the first time you hear it.
Fusia: What does being a recognizable Canadian icon mean to you?
Sonia: I don’t think of myself as being a Canadian icon, nor do I believe that I am one. I am just doing my job…and it happens to be on television. I didn’t become a journalist because I wanted to be famous – I became a journalist because I can’t imagine doing anything else.