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.
https://x.com/redpageletters/status/1728672054138790349

Cheers to all these heroes!