Published July 7, 2023 3:00 p.m. ET
Updated July 7, 2023 6:23 p.m. ET
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As early as he can remember, Ethen Corrigan has been CTV News Barrie’s number one fan.
Despite a 167 km distance from Barrie, the Burk’s Falls teen has been tuning in every night to watch his beloved CTV News Barrie, a tradition his grandmother spurred on.
“She would always hold me as a young baby and always put on Barrie News,” Ethen said. “When she died, I made a commitment to watch more of the news because it’s local.”
That passion has led the 16-year-old to pursue a career in the news, getting the opportunity to write for a local newspaper on occasion.
“I would one day want to be a reporter or anchor for Barrie,” Ethen said. “I’m fascinated with what happens on air when you have the spotlight. I’ve always wanted to be a reporter so I can give people the best stories, stories that people don’t know of.”
Ethen was diagnosed with autism at a young age and was non-verbal until age four.
“Sometimes he will be sitting out on his swing, and you’ll hear Ethen talking to himself,” his mom said. “But what Ethen is doing, he’s talking about sports, about something, as if an audience is listening to him.”
RECREATING THE CTV NEWS BARRIE STUDIO
As a teen, Ethen is still too young to pursue a full-time career, but he’s combined his passion for the news with his second love, the popular video game Minecraft, to create a new kind of art.
“I was watching CTV News Northern Ontario, and there was a story that came on of a guy who built part of downtown North Bay,” Ethen said. “I thought, since I want to do Barrie news and Minecraft and this station I love, I thought, I want to build this.”
Not willing to be easily deterred, he scoured the internet for archival footage and social media posts. He particularly relied on Tik Toks from reporter Catalina Gillies’ page to correlate certain building sections.
It proved to be a challenging build, with his first two attempts not coming together as intended, so he started from scratch again in December, meticulously trying to place each aspect of the newsroom as closely to the real thing as he could.
“I’m actually still building as we speak,” he added. “I’m trying to build the whole building, including the garden, the tower, the office spaces and a couple of tributes to people like Jayne Pritchard and Bob McIntyre.”.
Ethen’s mom recently contacted CTV News Barrie to update the station on her son’s virtual project and labour of love.
In turn, we decided to surprise him with a special feature.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Ethen exclaimed. “You have all made my day by coming to speak with me. It’s a dream to be featured on the news.”
CTV Barrie also gifted the super fan branded clothing, pens, mugs and gear to let him know he is now part of the team.
Ethen said he’s now committed more than ever to finishing the project and is excited to compare it with the actual studio.
He also hopes to one day complete an apprenticeship with CTV News Barrie.
Until then, Ethen said he would continue publishing his own stories with an eye on becoming an entertainment beat reporter.
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Ethen Corrigan recreated the CTV News Barrie studio in Minecraft. (CTV News Barrie)
Ethen Corrigan (right) and his mom, Joann Corrigan (left) sit together as Ethen shows off his Ipad, taken on Tues., June 27 (Christian D’Avino/CTV News).
A photo of the CTV News Barrie Studio recreated in Minecraft by 16-year-old Ethen Corrigan of Burk’s Falls. (CTV News).
A photo of the CTV News Barrie studio recreated in Minecraft by Ethen Corrigan, 16, 0f Burks’s Falls, Ont. (CTV News).
A photo of the CTV News Barrie studio recreated in Minecraft by Ethen Corrigan, 16, of Burk’s Falls, Ont. (CTV News).
CTV News Barrie super fan Ethen Corrigan reacts to the news that he will be featured in a story on his Minecraft creation (Courtesy: Joann Corrigan).
Ethen Corrigan is all smiles as he wears a new hat that was gifted to him by CTV News Barrie, taken on Tues., June 27 (Christian D’Avino/CTV News).