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The groundbreaking news anchor

Maya Johnson, BA 06
November 6, 2023
By Richard Burnett, BA 88

Portrait of a smiling woman with short black hair wearing a purple blazer and white top.

CTV Montreal News anchor Maya Johnson is an award-winning journalist with an impressive list of accomplishments. 

At age 21, she was the station’s youngest reporter, and after years of reporting in Montreal became its first female Quebec City bureau chief in 2016.

In 2021, Johnson replaced Paul Karwatsky, BA 04, as full-time anchor, becoming the first Black woman to helm the newscast.

Some of the breaking stories Johnson has covered include the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in 2013 and the deadly shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City in 2017. 

Named Anglo TV Personality of the Year at the Gala Dynastie in both 2017 and 2020, Johnson has participated in Concordia events and workshops, mentoring aspiring journalists and advocating for increased diversity in newsrooms.

Proudest moments

“When I became Quebec City bureau chief, then when I returned to Montreal to become a full-time anchor. I got a lot of positive feedback, especially from the Black community. It was deeply meaningful to me and is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.”

Influential professor

“I don’t think I would be where I am today if it weren’t for my first journalism professor Bob Babinski. He saw potential in me, encouraged me and gently guided my career. After I had moved on and was no longer in his class, he called me up to tell me about a summer internship opportunity at CFCF (now CTV Montreal) which I got in 2005.”

Career advice

“Be prepared to put in the time and to make the sacrifices, because one rarely becomes a full-time reporter or an anchor right out of the gate. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get what you want right away. Sometimes it’s a long and winding road.”

Giving back

“I’ve recently become more involved with hosting fundraisers for the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence, and I’d like to help carry on the legacy of my late mentor and first editor, Egbert Gaye, BA 89, founder and managing editor of the Montreal Community Contact newspaper which is an institution for the Black and Caribbean communities in the city.” 

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