Thursday, July 04, 2024

A tribute to some of Canada's journalism giants

Like many of you, I no longer subscribe to a paper newspaper. I subscribe to three paper magazines, and many online newspaper news sites - but I rarely peruse a daily newspaper any more.

And I know I am missing so much. Newspapers expose you to headlines and news you didn't know you were interested in, so they broaden your horizon - unlike the skeletal links on a news website. I no longer know what is happening that doesn't make the front page. And among many other things, as I have mentioned recently to friends, I no longer know who is alive or who is dead.

This morbid condition came to my attention today when I watched a few videos from the Canadian Journalism Foundation's annual awards dinner, held last month. One video I watched was the annual "In Memoriam" tribute to journalists who have passed away in the last year -- and I was shocked to see so many names and faces who were giants of journalism, many of whom I looked up to when I was just starting out.

In case you missed the news, here are some of the legendary journalists who passed away in 2023-24. You'll recognize quite a few of them. (I have attached a credit or two to each, but most of them enjoyed many other accomplishments as well.) 

Hail and farewell to:

John Howse: Southam News energy writer, Maclean's magazine

Keith Spicer: Reporter, editor, CRTC chair, and head of the vital Citizens Forum on National Unity (aka the Spicer Commission).

Robert MacNeil: TV newsman who spent most of his career in American media. He was on
the spot when JFK was shot in Dallas in 1963; also anchored the MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour (which later became PBS NewsHour).

Rex Murphy: CBC commentator. 

Helen Brimmel: Guelph journalist who was one of the first women to work in the Parliamentary Press Gallery,

Elizabeth Gray: CBC, former host of The Journal, As It Happens, and Cross-Country Checkup.

Peter C. Newman: Legend. Reporter, book author,  Toronto Star editor, and the editor who turned Maclean's magazine into a newsweekly. 

Joan Hollobon: Pioneering Globe and Mail medical reporter, 1959 to 1985.

Geoff Stevens: National columnist, managing editor, Globe and Mail; CBC political commentator. He once pointed out we had the same haircut.

Susan Kastner: Edgy Toronto Star writer and columnist.

Danny Stoffman: Business writer, movie critic, and co-author of the bestseller Boom, Bust and Echo.

William (Bill) Lawrence: Long-time CBC and CHCH Hamilton TV broadcaster/weatherman. Best known as the host (for 35 years!) of Tiny Talent Time.

Gordon Jaremko: Long time energy journalist, Southam News.

George Gamester: Irrepressible Toronto Star "people" columnist.

Stephen Douglas: Photographer, reporter, journalism teacher; Douglas passed away under murky circumstances in Sierra Leone last December, during a time of violent unrest. He was only 60. 
Here is Douglas's last tweet:  
Artillery fire, gunshots can be heard in my neighbourhood... several times my windows have shook. Gov't says everyone should stay indoors and things are under control.

Cheers to all these heroes!