Five years ago this September Graham Beer formed his passion for videotaping and journalism into an online news channel known as Cobourg News. Graham at the age of twelve had already appeared on Breakfast Television not once but twice for building his famous Lego Citytv set.
The first inaugural video report was when Graham’s mom, Susan and her friend Judy Campney almost got killed by a falling tree branch on their way to an art show down the street. After everyone was safe, the tree was stable and the power was restored to the neighbouring houses, Graham’s inner journalist came into action. He had his video camera and microphone on hand to capture this turning point for Cobourg’s local news.
“It was a moment in my life where so much was going on there was a sense of calmness, I knew what to do. All the neighbours were out on the street observing the incident. The next door neighbour was even painting a tree at the time if that makes the moment more surreal” said Graham in an interview about the experience.
Susan and Judy appeared to be on the ground when Graham came running down the street to the tree that had just missed them.
“I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom that overlooks the tree, I could hear the branch breaking off.”
Shelagh Straughan a good friend of the Beer family needed an oven to heat her buns that were rising as the power went out at her house.
“She called at the very moment I was rushing out the door to see what happened.”
Now known as Cobourg News’ Life Style Host, Shelagh made her way over to the house not in any wonder what she was going to show up to.
The following day, Graham pulled aside his friend Hunter Straughan who now is Cobourg Media’s Senior Videographer and Kieran McFarlane to help tape the “Tree Report”.
“No Newspaper or TV station was going to cover this so I really wanted to be a local news reporter and capture stories that were taking place in my neighbourhood, hence the slogan ‘Your Source for Neighbourhood News.’ I really had no plan I just wanted to report this story.”
So be it, Graham produced a 2 part series of the report which includes interviews with Susan, Judy, Shelagh, Hunter’s dad who knew some things about trees, Stephen and other neighbours.
“Five years later, I struggle watching this because I hold high standards to my reporting, though I always say I had to start somewhere.”
Since that day in late September, Graham has reported on over 200 news stories, interviewed 400 people and has produced well over a 1000 videos. He has reached over a million viewers across the globe since 2012.
Once Cobourg News started getting noticed as a news source, Beer launched Cobourg Media in 2014 to branch out and offer local news, video and multimedia services such as promotional videos, videography and advertising. Graham also wanted to launch live streaming which started Cobourg News’ Podcasts, Your Cobourg and Canada Day Live Specials.
Graham has had the opportunity to cover exciting local and international events and famous people such as, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election campaign in Port Hope, Vimy Ridge’s 100th anniversary events in London, Belgium and France, ME TO WE’s Spencer West, Olympic Medalist and Hockey Legend Hayley Wickenhieser, Bell Lets Talk Ambassador and Olympic Medalist Clara Hughes, Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, NHL player Justin Williams, Actor Mark Salling, CTV Toronto’s Ken Shaw, CBC’s Peter Mansbridge and many more.
“My most favourite opportunity over these past 5 years, would be covering Vimy Ridge in France. I was a student on the school trip but my inner journalist was totally out of me. I asked my friends with me to help report the stories for Cobourg Media and CityNews which was a huge accomplishment for me. My journalism was finally being noticed on a national stage.”
Growing up Graham’s biggest influence was CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.
“I aspired to be everything about him. I would try to model my news opening and closings around his. Perhaps thats where my news voice became present.”
Graham Beer not only has been featured on CityNews, Breakfast Television and Chex Newswatch, he has toured and met media professionals at over 10 media stations such as CityTV, CBC News, CTV Toronto, CP24, CHEX TV, TSN, BBC in London, Warner Brothers in Hollywood LA, NBC in New York and many others.
“My viewers, and the people who follow my passion with me, always ask where I want be in 5 years or what my future plans are. I tell them that my dream is to go to Ryerson or Charelton for Media Production and Journalism. Perhaps then go for business or political science. I have always wanted to be a news anchor or a producer but at this point I’m keeping every door open.”
“I wake up everyday happy and excited for the next opportunity, I get to follow my dreams because so many people support me and that is a feeling that makes me so blessed. Five years ago at the age of twelve I never knew my passion for journalism would turn into Cobourg Media or anything that it is today. Over the years it has been an honour and a privialge to meet and work with so many inspiring people in this community who make this experience worth while. Just saying Thank you is easy, but know that you have made a great impact on my life. Your dreams can be sparked by anything, sometimes it takes some lego and a big old tree branch. Just be passionate.”