Finding Your Flare: How Devin Heroux’s Authenticity Changes Sports Reporting

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games are less than a month away. Canadian journalist, Devin Heroux is heading to China to once again cover the games for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Heroux’s journey to this moment proves what you can accomplish by working hard, taking risks and being authentically yourself.

Heroux is and always has been a storyteller, something most in this industry would relate to. It is the core of what sports journalism is. His love of storytelling was reflected in his post secondary education decisions. Heroux has an ​​english degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a journalism degree from the University of Regina School of Journalism. 

When discussing his earliest experiences in the world of TV production, Heroux said, “I so badly wanted to be part of the production crew and do whatever I needed to do to be a part of that world that I would go and run the teleprompter for the anchor. I thought it was the most important job in the world, I was gonna be the best teleprompter operator.”

Through his work at Shaw TV, Heroux was able to try his hand in various production jobs, helping wherever they needed him and learning the behind-the-scenes side of television. When he would see the talent begin to work, Heroux would tell himself, “this is what I’m going to be doing.”

From that experience, Heroux had the opportunity to do pre and post-game radio for the Saskatoon Blades, university sports coverage and host a Saskatchewan Roughriders show called, Riders to the Max. He was also a sports editor during his time at the University of Saskatchewan. He worked at CBC in Saskatchewan in both Regina and Saskatoon and then at CBC Calgary. While in Calgary, Heroux was a lead live news reporter and did numerous broadcasts a day for three years. He worked in communications for the 2015 Pan Am Games with the Canadian Olympic Committee but decided to return to CBC Saskatchewan shortly after. About a year later, Heroux decided to move to Toronto and for six months, he worked between CBC Toronto local news, CBC Sports and The National. The company then made him a permanent member of CBC Sports. Less than a year after arriving in Toronto, Heroux was heading to PyeongChang to cover the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

A typical day for Heroux starts early, ahead of the news cycle. He checks his emails and messages to make sure he did not miss any breaking sports news. The day will look different depending on if he is travelling or doing work at home. If home, Heroux will have meetings with his bosses and contacts throughout the day. He is also writing stories and doing interviews ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games. If he is at an event, one like the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials which he was at near the end of 2021, it is all about interviews, live-tweeting and getting ready for his show. With the Olympic Games right around the corner, Heroux is working 12-15 hours a day.

When asked about his experience at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games this past summer, the journalist said, “it was the most rewarding and yet challenging experience of my life. The Olympics at the best of times, outside of a pandemic, are restrictive and challenging to navigate. Throw in a pandemic, with heightened fears, heightened anxiety, and it was hard.”

The Saskatchewan native was the only Canadian reporter to stay in Tokyo for the entire duration of the Olympics and Paralympic games which spanned 51 days. With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics under a month days away, it will be three consecutive Olympics and Paralympics covered for Heroux. 

Heroux explained what it means to be a journalist covering the Olympic Games. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of an athlete’s career. Covering the Olympics is the pinnacle of a journalistic career,” he said. “It’s no small feat and it is not for the weak. If you are not prepared going into something like this, it will chew you up and spit you out. Every day is like a marathon.”

The tenured journalist’s role at CBC leads to days where he is covering numerous sports in the span of a couple of hours. “There’s no other thing I would rather be doing on a Sunday than covering a curling team breakup and the CFL divisional finals,” Heroux said. “You have to do your homework and you have to be watching everything at all times.”

Heroux credits his time in news reporting as something that helps him in his current role. In news, the stories move quickly and deadlines are short much like the world of sports reporting. Heroux is the perfect example of learning and perfecting the skills of reporting and then applying them to sports.

Heroux’s goal as a journalist has always been to “make the audience feel something” every time they consume his content. This is arguably one of the most important aspects of the job. The goal of a journalist should not simply be to just recite the facts but to make the reader or viewer feel as if they are there experiencing the moment too.

Advice is what everyone in a new space searches for. We are all scared and want to fit in. We want to feel prepared and relieve anxiety. Heroux’s advice to newcomers revolves around being yourself and using your experiences to bring the most to a story. He said, “what sets us apart in our storytelling is our lived experiences that bring us to any moment and any situation we’re about to cover. Be unapologetic in your authenticity and your vulnerability in your storytelling because if you can bring that to any interview you do, you’re going to tell better stories than anybody else. You’re going to get more out of the people you’re talking to.”

This job includes taking risks and putting yourself out there. Heroux pitched an idea for curling coverage to his bosses at CBC ahead of the Scotties and the Brier in 2017. His live tweets and coverage of the events landed well with the passionate curling community and made him a staple in Canadian curling media. Today, Heroux hosts That Curling Show alongside six-time Scotties Champion, Colleen Jones. Their live show covers the latest news in the curling world and often includes current and former players.

The sport media industry continues to evolve to best fit the way viewers want to consume media. Audiences have a variety of options when it comes to content so cookie-cutter coverage is not the best way to hold attention. Heroux reports with what he calls, “his flare” which captivates the audience. It is authentic regardless of what others in the industry may think. With that said, it is important that the basic structure of journalism is still present with facts being articulated in an accurate and timely manner. We also want to create and maintain a safe space where all feel welcome to share their experiences. This is something Heroux mentioned. He also discussed the importance of being on the right side of history and using your voice for good. 

Heroux’s approach has changed sports broadcasting and journalism for the better. He has found his place in the industry and has excelled in storytelling and connecting with various audiences across the country and the world. The industry needs more people like Heroux. One can only hope that the next generation of sports journalists have the same creativity, passion and work ethic as Heroux.

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