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Social Science Essays

Chasing the Story God

by (author) Mike McCardell

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Aug 2001
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2001
    List Price

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Some say Mike McCardell's "feel-good" stories that cap the six o'clock evening news on BCTV are the best part of the program - the only reason they watch the news. One thing is certain, over the years McCardell has earned the loyalty of hundreds of thousands of fans. In this, his first book, he presents an intriguing and often hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the world of TV journalism - and a glimpse into the mind and heart of the man who does the feel-good features.

Born in 1944 in New York, Mike McCardell first discovered his calling while waiting out school detentions and reading the Daily News: "I was fascinated by the stories of criminals with names like Two Finger Maloney and crime bosses who had more power than the mayor without having to worry about votes. There was the story about an idiot who tried to sail a homemade raft across the East River just for the fun of it and a couple going on their honeymoon around the world on a Harley. In fact there were endless stories about ordinary people whose lives would make you laugh or cry or scratch your head. Those were the people I liked, and I wondered what could be better than spending a lifetime with them. So, very simply, I decided to be a reporter . . ."

To pursue his dream, McCardell found work in the mailroom of the Daily News and worked his way up the ranks to become a reporter. Along the way, he married and had two children, got sent into Attica prison to report on the 1970 riot and occasionally got shot at while covering stories. Eventually he tired of the violence that seemed to pervade New York, and moved to BC to "trade gun smoke for fresh air."

He was hired from afar by the Vancouver Sun in 1973, and began by covering the police beat out of police headquarters. "For the three years I worked at the Sun," McCardell writes, "I never went back to the main office of the newspaper."

In 1976 he started work with BCTV. During twenty-five years and 7,000 stories, McCardell has become one of BC's most beloved TV personalities. Ever wonder where he gets those wacky story ideas? How did that abandoned shoe become a star? Get the whole story behind that famous footage of the well-heeled litterbug and the getaway car, and travel to Lonesome Lake, where a family living an idyllic life turns out to be less simple and charming than expected - and where McCardell and his cameraman get chased by a grizzly bear. And journey with McCardell through his more serious stories, such as the Abby Drover saga, the nightlife along Skid Row in Vancouver, his trip to "the real" Russian Siberia and his series on Riverview Psychiatric Hospital.

McCardell's frank, sparkling style, his eye for the human condition and his deft handling of an enormous range of material have made him one of BC's great TV personalities. He has brought these same qualities to this book of anecdotes and memoirs, which will have the reader alternately rolling on the floor with laughter, paralyzed with gut-wrenching fear and fighting back tears. His ability to see the magic in the ordinary will keep you glued to the book till the very last page.

About the author

Mike McCardell has earned the loyalty of hundreds of thousands of fans for his investigative reporting and human-interest stories. He is the author of the bestselling essay collections Unlikely Love StoriesHere’s MikeChasing the Story GodBack Alley ReporterGetting to the BubbleThe Expanded Reilly MethodThe Blue Flames that Keep Us WarmEverything Works and None of This Was Planned, as well as the local history book Haunting Vancouver and the memoir Cardboard Ocean. You can also catch his stories on “The Last Word,” which airs at the end of CTV News at Six on weeknights.

Mike McCardell's profile page

Other titles by Mike McCardell