Karlene Nation is a writer, reporter and also a producer, she currently works with CTV News Toronto, formerly known as CFTO News. She was assigned, the Diversity Producer for CTV, responsible for increasing the representation of diverse communities in local and national newscasts. She has worked with CTV news for eighteen years, starting in 1993. She had formerly worked with CBC and CTV’s Canada AM and also for CTV’s National News. Nation had also been a summer business reporter for the Toronto Star and had spent six years at the Toronto Stock exchange, working as a media and Public Relations Officer prior to her reporting career. She also ran in 2011 elections as Ont. P.C. Candidate York West Region.
Nation migrated to Canada from her country of origin, Jamaica at only 17 years old and took on the added responsibility as single mother shortly after arriving there. Karlene has had some unique life experiences in her journey and one of them was a life threatening tumour she was diagnosed with in 1998.
While on an assignment to cover a hot air balloon festival in Milton, Ontario; she was unaware that she was about to face a life changing experience. During the flight, something went wrong with the balloon that Nation was in and the balloon drifted way off course, blown away by strong winds. The navigator attempted an emergency landing, but when the balloon dropped it bounced and the TV personality struck her head hard on a metal part of the balloon.
She experienced excruciating headaches for the next couple of days and described the pain as being unbearable. The situation got complicated and she began to vomit and pass out occasionally. Medical attention and CAT scans revealed a large tumour at the base of her skull. She was rushed to Toronto Western hospital that specialises in brain tumours, after MRI scan she was literally blind. Nation had lost her eyesight. She frisked out and was rushed into surgery and had the tumour removed. She eventually regained her sight but was left with double vision and no peripheral vision. The damage to her occipital lobe was severed and the damage to her vision was permanent.
Nation came out of the ordeal but not without scars of the happening, the recovery process took about 10 months and she is grateful that she is alive today. Thirteen years later she is still very positive about the experience, grateful that it did not take her life.
With the responsibilities of her current position, as Nation explains, “I get the opportunity to meet people of all backgrounds, from all walks of life, in all circumstances. I am entrusted to tell their stories in an accurate, responsible and fair manner. This is a responsibility I take very seriously. I have an innate curiosity about people and where they were born. This curiosity, and my strong ability to communicate with people, is a huge asset in my job. I am proud of my responsibilities in terms of helping CTV to broaden our coverage of diverse communities, and to widen the representation of people, from all backgrounds, in our local and national news programming. I’m proud that I have assisted and/or encouraged many young people of all backgrounds to pursue journalism as a career.”
Congratulations to Ms. Nation, for her efforts to affect change and for many other reasons, she is the recipient of the IWAA Diversity Award at the International Women Achievers Awards to be held in Brampton, Ontario, Canada on Mach 17, 2012.
Dare Balogun (TCC)