Meet Jordan Armstrong.
For him watching television news started early, leaving lasting impressions.
He was a tyke – four years old.
Watching the news with his Nana happened often, Jordan pointing often to the television saying – I wanna be.
Eight years later – age 12 – he came closer.
That’s when he met Kevin Newman, anchor of Global National, at the Global television studios in Vancouver.
Newman was one of many broadcast journalists, anchors, Jordan used to email, telling them he admired them, wanting to meet them.
And the meeting with Newman clinched it – broadcast journalism was going to be his career.
Today, 20 years later, his dream is reality.
Armstrong, 32, is a reporter-anchor at Global News Vancouver.
He is blessed.
Blessed on three counts?
A rare occurrence in broadcasting.
One, he is a great reporter.
Two, he is a natural as a television anchor.
Three, he is good writer.
All three skills standing him in good stead.
And here comes the important part.
It’s rare that a TV news broadcaster has all three skills.
If you have them all, a terrific career awaits you.
And Armstrong is just getting started – he anchors the late night newscast on the weekends at 11 p.m., is a reporter for the 6 o’clock newscast and fills in for other anchors in different time slots.
In the television news business you are either one of three things, a great reporter, a great writer or a great anchor.
Rarely do you see all three in one person.
And you see it all the time.
Reporters becoming anchors and not good at it.
Showing no personality, their presentation skills non existent.
As a viewer you can’t relate to them.
Their on-set interactions with fellow anchors from sports, weather, entertainment, stiff, contrived, formal.
There is no rapport.
So who are or were some great anchor-reporters?
Three – there are more – instantly come to mind.
Ian Hanomansing of the CBC.
Adrienne Arsenault of the CBC.
Anderson Cooper of CNN.
These people are rare.
And when you see them – its a joy to watch them, to listen and watch their stories.
The essence of great journalism is simple – telling great stories.
As a reporter Armstrong is strong – displaying all attributes of an excellent reporter.
He is tenacious, persistent, asks tough questions, writes well, covers all the angles, engages in follow up stories.
When B.C. went through a major, deadly, heat wave, this summer, the BC Ambulance Service – the agency charged with providing emergency pre-hospital treatment failed and failed with deadly consequences.
It failed because the government, Health Minister Adrian Dix, the agency responsible for BC Ambulance, ignored, ignored, the pleadings of the front-line troops – the ambulance paramedics and personnel – that a disaster was in the making.
More than 719 people died in one week during the heat wave – three times higher than what is considered normal for the comparative period.
And if that wasn’t enough, the agency responsible for ambulance services did not activate its emergency coordination centre until the heat wave, for all practical purposes was over.
“Our entire pre-hospital system collapsed, and it collapsed with warning that it was going to collapse,” a Greater Vancouver paramedic, told Global News.
“Government and our organization ….despite all front line paramedics telling them hey we need support, we need upstaffing, failed to listen, they kept saying they will reassess.”
Armstrong got on the story when it became apparent that there was a serious and major problem – sick people, many dangerously ill, forced to wait for up 11 hours to get an ambulance.
And then he did what a lot of reporters don’t do enough of – some even hate it – he kept at it, doing one story after another (follow up) and as so often happens in these situations eventually the information floodgates opened.
Insiders, those who knew what really happened, contacted him, ready to spill the beans.
For more than two weeks Armstrong and other Global reporters covered the story.
And the government realizing its political bafflegab, distortions about the severity of the situation, was becoming a political liability, had to act.
Dix was forced to clean house – people got fired, people got replaced.
Armstrong started in radio in 2008.
For more than five years he worked at CKNW, then the powerhouse for radio news, reporting and reading the news.
Four years later – in 2012 – he got a gig as a part-time writer for Global News Morning. Then in 2014 he went full-time as a reporter and anchor for BC1, an adjunct to Global News.
Apart from work Jordan enjoys gardening, tip toeing through them, the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the University of British Columbia is one.
The Covid-19 pandemic heightened his love for gardening.
“It has made me appreciate patio gardening (my hobby) and exploring local gardens. I’m very proud of our balcony blueberry bush! Didn’t pay much attention to gardening in the “before times” — but it’s really helped me escape the chaos and craziness of news.”
Exploring nature with his wife, Elise, of five years, is something they both enjoy.
“We just love exploring new trails, lakes, forests, islands around B.C. Love to ski in the winter and swim lakes (particularly on the Sunshine Coast) in the summer.”
Away from work, he enjoys skiing, walks on the seawall and planning his next travel adventure.
Jordan grew up in North Delta and now calls Vancouver home.
Aside from gardening there is a cat – Viola.
Named after the main character in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and by his wife – a huge Shakespeare fan.
And there is a horse – Indy – his wife’s, she is a horse lover, loves riding them.
One more thing about Jordan – his Facebook monicker is Jordan Legweak.
“Haha! ‘Legweak’ being the opposite of ‘Armstrong’ … it’s been my nickname forever!”
Jordan Armstrong – doing it right, the future looks more than bright.