2014 Excellence in Media Award – Nicholas Davis

Nick Davis

A city that proudly proclaims its diversity, Toronto is a melting pot of ideas, opportunities and personalities that contribute to its eclectic nature. One individual making a significant mark in the broadcast industry is a man who realized his leadership abilities as a child, when he organized street hockey leagues with neighbourhood friends.

He is Nicholas Davis, who in 1967 migrated to Canada with his family from Jamaica. Arriving in Montreal, Davis and his siblings soon realized that they were the only Black children in their neighbourhood. Davis says the overt racism startled him.

“Some of the graffiti at our school was just crazy — and it was written so high up on the walls that it must have been an adult who did it,” says Davis. However, when the family moved to Mississauga, the diverse community there, delivered a more palatable social experience.

A past producer of Toronto’s top morning radio show, Metro Morning, Davis says that’s when he, “really got into competitive sports.” That passion places him in the gym six days a week, coaching up to four basketball teams a year. Davis coaches basketball at Sheridan College and for the CIA Bounce basketball program where his 17 year-old son Sydney plays.

An accomplished journalist and writer, Nicholas Davis is the Manager of Program Development for CBC Radio, where he is responsible for the ongoing development of local programming across the country.

He has worked in radio, television and print for the past 26 years, covering everything from current affairs to the arts, and he has won several awards for his journalism, including a 2006 Gabriel for a story of Holly Jones.

For the past 16 years, Davis has worked at CBC as a reporter and producer – most notably as Senior Producer for Metro Morning, where he was part of the team that developed the program into the number one morning show in Toronto.

He has published and edited magazines, been a crime reporter, hosted TV and radio programs. Davis covered the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and has taught radio skills to new journalists across the country for CBC Radio. He’s also lectured on journalism at Ryerson University, Seneca College, Sheridan College and Centennial College.

Davis says, because he comes “from an unconventional route to journalism,” he looks at “unconventional ways to find journalists or potential people to be broadcasters.”

He continues, “I scour the newspapers, the local newspapers, the ethnic newspapers. I scour the TV channels and see who’s doing what. I try and find opportunities for people who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to get in….

“I’m not afraid to give people a chance who may not have the experience because I didn’t have it either when I started, so I’m very open to that as long as they’re willing to work hard.”