My name is Harvey Oberfeld and I retired in 2006 after 38 years as a reporter in print and television; having won several B.C. and national reporting awards. (See my Wikipedia page). I was born March 1945 in Montreal, Quebec. Graduated from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) in 1968 … and began my Journalism career as Assistant Editor of C-I-L Industries “Contact” Employee Newspaper in Montreal. A year later made my move to news reporting …wrote to every newspaper across Canada..and was hired by the Saskatoon Star Phoenix (May 1969-Oct 1969); then moved to the Regina Leader Post (Oct. 1969-Oct. 1971).
(More stories and sometimes hilarious anecdotes to come about all this later on this Blog!)
A vacation trip to BC in summer ’71 convinced me immediately THIS was THE PLACE for me .. Love at First Sight! Applied at the Vancouver Sun ..and was hired, first covering general News, then Burnaby Council, Vancouver City Hall, became Sun’s first Regional Affairs Reporter (GVRD); followed by BC Provincial Legislature (1971-79).
BCTV in 1979 made me an offer I could not refuse … a new challenge doing Television Reporting ..not to mention more money, a company car and a profit sharing plan. It was the BEST professional move I ever made .. under the tutelage of News Director Cameron Bell and Assignment Editor Keith Bradbury. (Lots of anecdotes and backroom stories to come about those years too!)
In 1981, BCTV moved me to Ottawa … the station’s FIRST full-time Bureau Chief … where we proudly broke several barriers for British Columbians and especially our viewers: including the Central and Eastern Canadian politicians’ and even the Press Gallery’s “colonial” attitude to BC issues, raising BC questions. (More stories about that to come on this Blog!)
After 8 years on Parliament Hill (despite several trips a year back to reality in BC) I decided it was time to LIVE in the land I love …British Columbia. So, much to BCTV’s disappointment, I invoked my “return” clause and had them move me back to home base in Vancouver, where I worked (and even won a few regional, national awards) until 2006, when, at 61, I decided to retire. No sense working til you keel over, I thought …and believe wholeheartedly.
Now I can relax, enjoy travel … tell YOU some behind-the-scenes stories, from my own personal point of view. And also express personal OPINION on issues of the day. They may entertain, amuse and/or sometimes enrage … but my greatest hope, is that they will at least present you with ideas worth discussing …. here, or with others you know.
Watch for it all …in coming posts! And if you want to know more about me and my career.. check out my page on Wikipedia.
I would love to interview Harvey Oberfeld, as well as other retired or fired news journalists.
Right on Brother ! I dig. So far I don’t disagree with anything you speak about……..so far………………
I knew you way back when and proud of it! My favourite anecdote is about the Turkish hostage taking. Isn’t retirement where it is at? But, sometimes I miss interviewing the interesting and the police/court beat. You rank as the best reporter I know. The worst took my beat over when I was writing the book. I glanced out the newsroom window one day and saw the worst apt building in town burning. I told the guy but he said, “Not now. I am busy”. I won an award for covering that one.
(Response: Thanks, Connie. That Turkish embassy story was quite fun ..maybe I’ll tell it on here, for a little light relief, once we get past the election. 🙂 For my readers, Connie Sampson is the author of Buried in the Silence, the story of the murder of aboriginal trapper Leo LaChance by a Saskatchewan white supremacist. ho )
I’m very, very glad you made the decision to have an early and active retirement.
B.C. surely needs you now.
(Response: It’s interesting… Global and I originally had talked about me doing “special” stories once or twice a month after I retired, but they renegged on that. I certainly could not see myself doing “p.r.” … and then a computer-wise friend suggested/set up the Blog. It opened an amazingly interesting door for me! I feel I am giving back to my community: standing up for journalistic standards, integrity and causes I believe are just. And it feels good … even though I hear I’m no longer kindly thought of by many where I worked and helped make such a success for so many years. ho)
i remember a middle of the night discussion at the top of little mountain , you respected the position that i was in. you then at the right time broke the story. the rest is history cheers harv.
(Response: Don’t recall/think I’d ever go to Liitle Mountain “in the middle of the night” to meet someone over a story. I was never brave enough for that! 🙂 But I did always respect people’s requests not to break a story they gave me ..until they were ready to do so. h.o.)
Harv, I was just browsing, and came across your blog…brought back many memories of the good ole days when we newsies were making the rounds, and when news was interesting, and not full of sex and dispair…glad I got out when I did too, but I was also going broke…couldn’t “bank” a reputation, and couldn’t raise a family or have a decent life on radio pay…
Now that I found you…I’ll stay in touch…it was fun, and I enjoyed my 24 years “on air.” The only question left unanswered for me is:- Why have all the news readers (they are NOT reporters), why are they always “yelling?” Can’t anyone read the news, today, in a normal tone of voice as we did in the 1960′ ,70’s and ’80’s ???
Good health and long life Harv.
(Response: Wow! One of the benefits of my blogging hobby…hearing from former news colleagues! Yes, John, radio reporting always amazed me …even though I never did it … you all did several stories a day while we in tv did one …and yet you never were paid what you deserved for all your hard work. And from what I understand, it’s even worse now, in a lot of ways. The only hope for those raising a family is to get experience and then move on to a tv gig, where pay/conditions can at least provide a living wage. h.o)
I remember meeting you once, Harvey, but for the life of me i cannot recall when.
Always enjoyed your take on things. Still do, through the Tyee.
As I am semi-retired( cannot afford full retirement yet) I certainly appreciate your being able to disappear when you wanted and surface when right for you.
For those that beek off about us after we are gone,they cannot stomach that we do things our way and get away with it, at least for awhile. My hat is off to you, Harvey. Enjoy it all!
(Response: Thanks. Funny thing..name seemed very familiar as soon as I saw it. Maybe from my days covering Parl Hill? Hope you’ll keep reading/contributing. You might enjoy checking out the archives on several topics (my favorite is always the media section 🙂 And for anyone who wants to keep abreast of what’s being discussed here, best way is to follow on Twitter @harveyoberfeld … no spam, just alerts whenever there’s a new posting. h.o)
It’s nice to come across an actual journalist in the blogging world. I’m also a blogger, strongly progressive and currently living and working in China. I’m happy to have found your site and will make it a daily place to come. I sincerely appreciate the work you do and the value you add to the blogging world. It’s inspirations for people like me.
All the best and God bless,
(Response: Thanks. It’s just a hobby … no ads, no sponsors. If you follow the blog for a while, you will see that, because I am a journalist at heart, not a partisan, I end up finding things to question on all sides of the spectrum. Most enjoy it and we get into some pretty interesting and informative discussions, but some are not mature enough to understand: they love me when I chide and denounce their foes, but accuse me of being a “sellout” to the other side as soon as I criticise or even question those on their side. And these are adults! 🙂 But I’m sure blogging in China has even more challenges! Good luck. h.o)
Hey Harv O I’m a native BC girl from the Kits who happens to live in MTL QC due to my hubby’s career for a few months, YOU cannot believe the standards here your barley scratching the surface when it comes to fraud corruption and I’ve only been here for a short while have had to close my credit cards twice and hear sirens EVERY single day and live in a upper middle class suburban neighborhood. The locals are alright with my non french however it is because i am a paying for goods and they have no “choices” I can easily take my business elsewhere. My policy and modus operandi here is that of staying in prolonged corrupt Mexico border town and keeping my head down when out in public streets because i somewhat always attract nasty stares from qc’ers even if i am maintain the same dress code that i would in BC; seems people here are only aloud to dress well if that can’t speak English well, you have no idea the way things rigged here to take money from all provinces and then retain/help people in jobs privileges that are rural uneducated francophones, I lived in Miami for more than 8 year did my university years there and travel to Korea Japan sometimes Caribbean on holiday to shop and relax; and can honestly say the standards of infrastructure stores quality of education customer service etc… on par to some rural backwoods parts of USA deep south they are by my guess 35-45 years behind the times from B.C Ontario Alberta and from worldwide maybe 50-60 years behind. They use an old tax system no HST here governments stop using about 25-30 years in Canada and rest of world similar, buildings are falling apart and roads etc… they focus so much on their own ego gratification that they have gotten exactly what they wished for there own piece of Canada that is filled with poor and uncivilized people that no one has time for in this day and age. Canadian governments i believe and other major business will never come to develop here and have been working behind the scene for a good while to try to keep QC isolated and now it is very clearly showing and will remain this way i do feel sorry for the next generation that have to inherit these problems, if it ever came to a referendum and QC’ers got the boot which i feel everyone wants the things are already set up from my rest of Canada perspective that it will be the poorest and lowest quality of life and can officially reap what its sown, Cheers Suzy