Liam Hyland hand-delivered his application to former King’s journalism director Kim Kierans, unsure if his high school marks would be good enough.
“On paper it may not look great, but if you give me a chance, I’ll show you that I can do it,” Hyland says he told Kierans.
“I’ll never forget it, too,” he says. “At the end of my three years there, when I was graduating, Kim came up to me and said, ‘You definitely didn’t let me down, and you didn’t let any of us down.’”
Liam, who currently lives in Los Angeles with his partner and two children, has certainly come a long way.
He started out working the teleprompter with CTV Atlantic for his internship with the School of Journalism. Noticing the camera operators on site, who spent their days out meeting people and finding stories, Liam knew that this was what he wanted to do. He captured some notable moments – Halifax’s leg of the Olympic torch run, Sydney Crosby’s appearance on Barrington Street and the Queen’s 2010 royal visit to Halifax.
Liam has kept moving up, and also south, working at the CTV Los Angeles bureau from 2011. He’s seen the exciting stuff—the Stanley Cup, the Olympics, the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal baby, the Academy Awards, President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba and Joe Biden’s election campaign in Texas—but also, he says, some not-so-great things. He’s covered the protests in Ferguson Missouri, the impact of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, and two hurricanes: Isaac in New Orleans, and superstorm Sandy in New York.
“It’s a front-row seat to some of the best things that happen and, sometimes, not the best things,” says Hyland, “but you’re on the front line of bringing that to people.”
Hyland’s work is also front row. In 2013, he won the Roy Tash Award for Spot News from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for his story about Hurricane Isaac, as well as the Southern California Journalism Award from LA Press Club for his feature on William Shatner.
For Liam, the ability to shoot good stories is one of the most rewarding parts of his job. “It’s something I take very seriously,” he says. “In this political climate, you want to be accurate, you want to present things in the best way possible… we are the ones on the front lines bringing the news to people. This is a huge responsibility that cannot be taken lightly.”
With the election of President Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic, Liam finds himself busier than ever. Although his work is occupied with capturing the present, it takes him back to the history he learned in his humanities education. “This does feel like a historical moment,” he says.
Liam gives credit to his King’s education for the ability to orient himself in a quickly changing, and often turbulent, field of work:
“My liberal arts education provided me with a critical lens from which to view the human condition. An understanding of power and my own hegemony prepared me to handle the crisis, the turmoil and the celebration presented by my many encounters as an international cinematographer.”
Studying multiple points of view with a critical eye and debating conclusions with peers at King’s developed Hyland’s capacity to navigate “the many realities of our global village”, which, “contributed to my career success, as well as enhancing my personal life.”
Updated: Aug. 2020