Mattison Brooks

Mattison Brooks

Chilliwack grad takes on Capitol Hill

Mattison Brooks is living the dream of thousands of journalists over.

Mattison Brooks is living the dream of thousands of journalists over.

On January 17, Brooks – a once, small-town Chilliwack boy – started his first day at CNN’s Capitol Hill bureau.

That’s right. CNN. Capitol Hill.

Brooks was hired into an entry level position, working alongside Wolf Blitzer on the Situation Room and John King on John King, USA, greeting guests, handling show scripts, and operating the teleprompter.

“It’s nothing glamourous by any stretch of the imagination,” he said in a phone interview with The Progress. “It’s just good entry level work. It’s part of paying your dues and that’s a big part of this industry.”

So how exactly does a Sardis secondary graduate get on the CNN payroll?


Brooks went to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia after graduation in 2006 with full intentions of pursuing a medical degree. He quickly learned, however, that he didn’t have the natural skill set needed for medicine.

“To be blunt, I wasn’t good at science or math,” he said.

But he was good at writing, had an incredible affinity for politics and current events, and didn’t mind taking risks – the tools of any good journalist.

He transferred over to journalism in his second year.

In his third year, with a low B average, and against the advice of his academic advisers, Brooks applied for an internship at CNN.

“My advisors told me not to bother applying, that I didn’t have the grades to get in,” he said.

But Brooks wasn’t the kind of guy not to take risks. He’d grown up watching CNN, it was the news network to work for.

And while he didn’t have the grades, or a well-rounded resume, he did have the perfect personality.

CNN was the first news network to contact him, but because he was in class, he missed the call. When he dialed the number, without knowing who he was calling, and heard the CNN greeting, his stomach lurched.

“I had a minor panic attack thinking oh God I’m not ready for this and I immediately hung up the phone,” he said.

He raced back to his dorm room and practiced over and over what he would say before redialing the number.

“I knew going in my best selling point was my interview and attitude,” he said. “I got myself as upbeat as possible, and nailed down the details I wanted to sell them on … that I had a great work ethic, a great attitude, I’m outgoing, positive, and have high energy.”

It worked. He got the internship. A dream come true.

And yet, when his boss offered him a job on his last day of the internship, Brooks declined.

“I really grappled with turning this down because that sort of offer seems like a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” he said. “But what it boiled down to was that I was in my third year of university, I had one more year to go for my degree. I can always have that degree, but I may not always have the job.”

For the two years following the offer, he made sure to keep in touch with the CNN head honchos, regularly emailing them, calling them, letting them know where he was at, and asking them to keep him in mind if something opened up.

In December, he got the call. CNN had an opening working with Wolf Blitzer and John King, two of the news network’s top journalists reporting on breaking news, political news and world affairs. For Brooks, it was heaven.

“I could work in this city forever,” he said. “It doesn’t have the mountains or the views that Chilliwack has, but this is the capital city of the most powerful and influential nation on the planet. I am working in an office where we report the decisions and policies that the government of that nation makes sometimes before anyone else.

“There is no place else I could see myself working as long as I am a journalist,” he said.

And given his track record to date, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Brooks one day in equal ranks with Wolf Blitzer and John King.

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read