Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Legends of journalism or dreary old white men?

Top, L to R, Roy Peterson, Shirley Stocker, Bruce Hutchison, Jack Webster, Pat Burns, Pierre Trudeau, Peter Reilly, Tim Ralfe, Len Norris, Warren Barker
Bottom, L to R, Denny Boyd, Harvey Oberfeld, Frank Griffiths, Patrick Nagle, Gary Bannerman, Lister Sinclair, Rafe Mair, Cameron Bell, Keith Bradbury, Tony Parsons

Anonymous said...
Uhmm, has your blog been hacked? Where did your header photo go? If this is a new "design" please go back to your old header/masthead.

This one is dreary and meaningless. Who needs more old white men in suits in our faces??? I'm in my late fifties and I only recognize two people.

Name and image recognition is important for blogs, as they are products like anything else. Bring back your former photo/masthead
Twenty legends of Canadian news journalism reduced by Anonymous commenter to dreary, meaningless, old white men in suits. Sheeesh!

I wondered about females who should be included in the collage but only one came to mind and she's there, although not prominently, which reflects her contribution. Perhaps with more thinking, I would have remembered legendary women in Canadian news. There are a number of good women in modern days but the choice requires people who have been important over a lengthy period. Note, Patricia Graham does not qualify. Pat Carney might have but she ultimately took a wrong turn.

My intention here is to pay homage to people who were meaningful to me during six decades of being a BC resident observing current affairs. There are 20 faces in the collage at the top here and I invite readers to name the names. After that, I might go back to a pastoral scene of one old white guy not in a suit.

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  1. I recognize 10, who is the guy in the boat?

    Then there was Ma Murry and I also think Len Norris, in his funny little way, did more to influence politics, than many people realized.

    Patricia Graham is a joke as is her daily fish-wrap, why would she be even considered.

  2. Dreary and meaningless? No bloody wonder we're in this mess if people can't remember enough of the past to keep from repeating it!

    I wish there were more of these dreary men alive today - we wouldn't be close to where we are. Especially Mr. Webster. I still enjoy your work too Mr. Mair...every time I get the chance.

    Thanks for this masthead Norm, it brings back memories of real and honest jounalism.

  3. Funny, I thought they were all versions of Rafe Mair at different times in his life and career. Ha, ha.

    I think it's great to celebrate legends of real journalism, but how do you do that if no one knows who they are or what they did? I would suggest you add captions and a brief legend bio to help us out. (OK, do a contest, but ... why?)

    Actually, it was a bit jarring and disorienting to see all these heads pop up where yours was supposed to be Norm.

    So, I also prefer the pastoral (powerful) scene of one old(er) white guy in casual dress. It's got the right balance of gravitas, wisdom and empathy that embodies your writing, conveyed in a modest, down-to-earth manner, and what could be more "BC" than the massive tree behind you. Picture perfect.

    Besides, Northern Insights is your blog. Showcase your legends by all means, but don't obscure yourself Norm.

    Good for you to specifically cancel Patricia Graham, and Pat Carney too. I and women colleagues of mine agree that both of these women ultimately stained their earlier reputations. I guess that's equality, eh? :)

    By the way, is one of those pictures of Keith Baldry? Surely you're not suggesting he's a legend worthy of esteem?

  4. A young Tony Parsons
    Jack Webster
    Rafe Mair ?
    Thats it for me, sad to say.

  5. Yikes!! Anonymous must have been asleep for most of his or her fifty-plus years. I guess old men in suits like H.L. Mencken and Edward R. Murrow wouldn't impress either, eh? No hope for that poster. I wonder who his or her current hero is? Bill Good??

    I'm embarrassed to say that I can only get fifteen off the hop, but love the header.
    Petersen, Nichols, Webster, Boyd, Griffiths, Burns, Mair, Bannerman, Wasserman, Parsons, Bell, Bradbury, Barker, Oberfeld, and Hutchison.

  6. No Keith Baldrey is not included, nor did he come under consideration.

    The guy in the boat is looking too happy to be a newsman but that is probably because he turned in his microphone and started talking directly to people by blogging. No more editors or executives getting in the way. Harvey Oberfeld is a little young for the rest of these people but he still represents much that is positive about old fashioned journalism.

    P.E. Trudeau is out of place but I love the picture with Peter Reilly and Tim Ralfe, one of my favourites from the sixties. Trudeau, regardless of what one thought of his politics, set a new style of press engagement.

    The photo of young Tony Parson is even more significant because it includes the architects of BCTV's great success: Cameron Bell and Keith Bradbury.

    BC's two great, great editorial cartoonists are included here too: Len Norris and Roy Peterson.

  7. A lovely moment in the blogday, Norm, to re-visit these ink-stained wretches from another era. Not recognizing more of them, though, might be because they were better journalists and kept themselves OUT of the news.

    I too love the picture of Trudeau because of the way Peter Reilly and Tim Ralfe are fully engaged, toe-to-toe with him, absorbing every word he says.

  8. During the 1968 Liberal leadership convention, Tim Ralfe spent time with the group of young delegates supporting John Turner. I was one of the BC group and had chances to lift a glass or three with Ralfe. He told interesting stories that made for great evenings but I really liked the guy's "take-no-prisoners" approach to journalism. This is from Wikipedia about Ralfe's tough questioning of the Prime Minister:

    Ralfe's persistence was rewarded with condemnation by CBC managers who accused him of being too aggressive during a time of national crisis. Peter Trueman, executive producer of national television news wrote a message to Ralfe on an open, inter-office teleprinter link. It said that Ralfe's questioning of Trudeau violated every journalistic standard that Trueman had ever heard of. Trueman ordered severe cuts to the video tape to eliminate Ralfe's most argumentative questions. He also insisted that a formal reprimand be placed on Ralfe's employment file.

  9. @Lew. I spent most of my life having a good time and working. It is only recently that I have been able to slow down and look around me. I may have been blind early in life but i now have had a good look around and am working against what I see happening around me.

  10. @Anonymous at 7:26am,

    In order to see what is going on around us, it is vitally important that we have free, diligent, and honest investigative journalism to shine light where we cannot go. It is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy. The people in the collage above are sterling examples, and we need far more of them. When measured by their standard, most of their replacements have fallen far short. Calling them “dreary and meaningless” and “old white men in suits” who you want out of your face is shameful and ignorant in my view.

    Your fight against what you see happening around you will be greatly hampered with that attitude.



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