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H.O. and the Websters

September 13th, 2014 · 30 Comments

This is a difficult one for me.

About a week ago, at a retirement party for my former colleague, Brian Coxford,, this year’s recipient for the Websters Lifetime Achievement Award, a number of those I chatted with assumed I had also received the same recognition when I retired, eight years ago,  after 38 years of a fairly successful career in the business..

“No, I never got it,” I told them.

It was a bit awkward.

A few days ago, the matter came up again at an occasional lunch I have with other Vancouver media friends, because another former colleague in the business had wanted to join our group … and I was less than enthusiastic, because he was part of the  Websters brass when I was passed over.

And now on-line podcaster Joseph Planta has raised the question in a Tweet:  ”Why hasn’t @HarveyOberfeld  gotten a lifetime achievement award from @JackWebsterFdn?”

I have never met Planta … and, to be honest, had not heard about his podcast www.TheCommentary.ca until he contacted me some time ago to do an interview.  He’s done hundreds of interviews of people he found interesting … dating back to 1999 … and not bad either, but I had begged off … I’m retired.   Until he approached me again last week about my “gravitas” piece … and I then agreed to talk about the news media today, my blog and my career.

The lack of Webster L.A.A.  came up again …  outside the actual formal interview: he seemed surprised … and so was I … TOTALLY … when he later Tweeted his question publicly.

Oops!

Well,  maybe it’s time to speak up, and tell the story … at least from my own point of view.

It’s not really a secret … I have mentioned it in passing on my blog … but have never done an actual  piece on WHY I believe I never received the Websters L.A.A.

As I said,   it’s only my subjective interpretation  … but here goes:

I certainly had a very full and successful career … beyond even my own early dreams: writing at the Saskatoon Star Phoenix; the Regina Leader Post; the Vancouver Sun; and BCTV/Global … covering MANY beats, from City Hall to Regional Affairs, to the BC Legislature, even on to Ottawa and Parliament Hill  … and winning more than my fair share of awards: including two Websters; several Radio, Television News Directors Awards (regional AND national); Canadian Association of Broadcasters Gold Ribbon Awards; Governor General’s Award nomination; and, my most cherished, a Canadian Association of Journalists’ Award for Best in the Country  (voted on by other reporters, not media executives in suits).

Not to mention the thousands of stories I did over the decades, breaking new ground (never repeated) in raising BC’s profile in Ottawa, making politicians … from MPs to Cabinet Ministers to five Prime Ministers and various Premiers on down … more aware of BC issues and BC sentiments.  I also forced them, on camera, to answer questions they hoped to avoid … or I showed them running away when they dared not answer … and on more occasions than I can remember helped ordinary taxpayers fight the bureaucracies, developers or a myriad of other injustices.

I loved it all!  And judging from the reactions I still get from people I meet or hear from, I think many, many British Columbians did too!

Apparently I also contributed well to  BCTV’s ratings, was a favorite for on-air live chats,  drew more attention than most other reporters wherever I showed up, especially when we travelled, and I truly identified well with our viewers … and they responded in kind.

And now, there’s this blog … only a hobby in my retirement years, but my way of still giving back in my spare time.

As for the Webster’s L.A.A., there have been many GREAT recipients:

Previous winners include: David Baines, Patricia Graham, Mel Rothenburger, Jim Taylor, Bill Good, Steve Wyatt, Jim Harrison, Vaughn Palmer, Vicki Gabereau, Tony Parsons, Rafe Mair, Allan Fotheringham, Patrick Nagle, Roy Peterson, Cameron Bell, Keith Bradbury, Dan McLeod, Denny Boyd, George Garrett, Moira Farrow, Jim Hume, Warren Barker, Len Norris.

And now, in 2014, Brian Coxford.

No shame, of course, in anyone not being included with some of those others. But did ALL of them exceed my accomplishments and contributions to the media and public discourse over 38 years?

I haven’t really discussed it publicly, but maybe it’s time: I believe something else was at work … and I’ll tell you why.

The Websters, in my view, had become very corporate in latter years of my career, not only funded by big media bosses and management and their business friends …  but also very establishment orientated and, at the top, more and more removed from working reporters,  etc.  Not something I believe Jack would frankly be happy about.

And I believe, in their view, I personally did TWO terrible things:

I supported the unionization of BCTV’s newsroom after their “new” management laid off/fired more than 40 workers;  I also became union vice-president; and, was union spokesman during CEP’s 33-day strike.

I stood up for those who could not … apparently a move not appreciated by Global management, other media moguls, managers and others behind the scenes at the Websters.

And in retirement, on this blog, I have also DARED to criticize the media; the decline in quality; the sagging ratings; and the do-more-with-less results of  decisions/actions by the corporate bean counters now running the business.

They were clearly not amused!

So, after two years as a VOLUNTEER Webster’s award judge behind the scenes, I was DUMPED as a judge! LOL!  (By the way, a funny aside: one year, my judging partner was former NW host: Christy Clark!)

And there would certainly be NO L.A.A. for H.O.  Not for someone who stood up to and spoke out about job-cutting, quality-slashing management in the media?  Who supported a union? Who, shortly after he retired,  started writing a blog critiquing not just politics but also the declining journalistic standards and ratings?

Somehow, I don’ t think Jack himself would condone  discrimination and blackballing behind the scenes for any reasons  … especially ones that had NOTHING to do with any reporter’s  journalistic accomplishments and depth of career.

But I believe it happened … and I had let them get away with it by staying silent.

And although I have written more than 700 articles on this blog alone (Yikes!), I haven’t written a piece on this topic until now.  But it keeps coming up so I decided to tell the story, as I see it.

How ironic:  what a lot of them DON’T know … it was Jack himself (along with Marjorie Nichols of The Sun) who encouraged me to jump from The Sun to BCTV  ”and go buy a new suit”; it was Jack who encouraged me to be myself, helped me and gave me tips on how to do interviews for tv and even taught me  how questions can sometimes be more important than the answers … especially when dealing with politicians.

And that the REAL reward is that PEOPLE trust you, appreciate you and, most important, TUNE IN  just to see and listen to you!

I owe a LOT of my career success to Jack and the lessons he taught me … especially to be true to myself and my values, how to  relate to those I covered … to STAND UP for the truth … and NEVER EVER be intimidated by those in power.

I always tried to do that … no matter the cost.

And my own REAL Webster lifetime achievement award came when Jack died. I was chosen to do the funeral coverage of this man who did so much for the people of BC, for our industry … for me and for my career.

THAT meant a lot to me.

Jack would not have had me change ANYTHING I did or stood up for … keeping it real and telling the truth … even about the media.

God Bless him!

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia · Media

30 responses so far ↓

  • 1 13 // Sep 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Harvey, the joke used to be you know your having a bad day when you answer the knock on the door and Dan Rather and 60 minutes were on the other side. Same could be said of HO.

    I am old enough to have watched many newscasts that you were part of. Your work was never fluff or filler. If I was a politician or a crook (not always interchangable) your showing up with a camera crew would have made me cringe.

    Union organizers are never embraced by management. Union activists can hace a hard time getting a job when they move on. Union reps have thankless jobs. You often have to stand up for people that dont deserve your time and troubles.

    Now you author a very successful and well read blog. You are honest and seem to be able to see both sides of most issues. You give equal space to the “trolls”, the left wing or the right. I can understand how your career has not endeared you to the corporate types.

    If the Websters cant recognize your contributions over the years its their loss not your or your fans

    (Response: Thanks. If I have ANY regrets at all, it’s that I kept silent and said nothing about it for so long. I have always felt … and I truly believe Jack would agree .. people should be judged in their jobs on the basis of their contributions and performance …not little secret behind the scenes conspirators who vote their biases. But over the years, watching and observing what, in my personal point of view, the Websters have become, it has been harder to say nothing (Certainly not MY style! :) . Now that it came up in a podcast (actually I owe a thanks to Joseph Planta) I felt bad that I had let the “old boys” get away with it without exposing what I believe to be their hypocrisy …especially those there in the media, where TRUTH should conquer prejudices. h.o)

  • 2 R // Sep 13, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Corporate media award.?

  • 3 harry lawson // Sep 13, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Harvey,

    in the 1970s as a whistle blower i trusted you with information.

    we met on the top parking lot of little mountain, very late at night

    today you are still the only one i would trust.

    one day we will talk about the non profit service providers.

    (Response: Appreciated that. As for non profits …I’m fascinated …but retired! Hopefully there’s someone still working you could find to trust. h.o)

  • 4 Bruce Lyster // Sep 13, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Harvey, I am not a Journalist nor a Politician. but when I look at some of the recipients of the LAA, I would be goddamn happy I was not involved with that bunch. Being a apologist on CKNW in the morning for the Liberal Government. Or some of the ones who regularly appear on Global,the Sun and the Province who have in my view sold out their Journalistic integrity to Christy Clark and her band of misfits.. There are very few of the real Journalist left who I take the time to read,they are yourself,Alex Tsakumis,and Norman Farrell.But that is the price you have to pay for sticking by your Convictions and Morals. Cheers

    (Response: Thanks for a laugh. Frankly, despite my decades of experience in BC journalism circles, I don’t even know who some of them are and assume they did INCREDIBLE things behind the scenes. But there ARE some great journalists in there…well deserving. In my case, I think what prevented me from saying anything for so long is I didn’t want it to be perceived as just sour grapes: but I certainly believe I was singled out and denied because of my outspokenness for others, personal support for the union, and about the decline of standards in our business …. which, when you think about it, is EXACTLY what REAL JOURNALISTS should do …not just brown-nose the brass and the establishment. h.o)

  • 5 bob // Sep 13, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Marjorie Nichols?

    Never won the JWLAA.
    You’re in good company.

    If I were a reporter: I would rather be on the same list as Marjorie Nichols, than on the same list as Bill (never very) Good.

    (Response: Marjorie was a great writer, superb reporter and dug for information at the Legislature in every nook and cranny …and always stayed true to the principles of journalism we both fought for during our careers. h.o)

  • 6 G. Barry Stewart // Sep 13, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Looks like Jack himself didn’t get the award, either — so you and Marjorie are in good company.

    (Response: Well, to be fair, it was created AFTER Jack and Marjorie passed…but I appreciate your sentiments. It was VERY hard for me to push the button and publish this piece after I wrote it. Maybe I’m even wrong in thinking I could qualify, compared to the others … BUT I thought, if it was indeed an ‘old boys” management/establishment spearing (another word also comes to mind) because I dared to be a union supporter and spoke out about what the bean-counters were/are doing to the news … then I SHOULD speak up about what I believe happened in my own case, as I have for others so many times. h.o)

  • 7 Norm Farrell // Sep 14, 2014 at 1:42 am

    HO writes, “The Websters, in my view, had become very corporate in latter years of my career, not only funded by big media bosses and management and their business friends … but also very establishment orientated and, at the top, more and more removed from working reporters, etc. Not something I believe Jack would frankly be happy about.”

    I agree. One of the indicators that the Jack Webster Foundation has become a plaything of the establishment is the location of its office. It is in a residence in the depths of Shaughnessy where houses run $5M or $6M.

    Jack was more comfortable with sheep on his Saltspring farm than with denizens of Angus Drive.

  • 8 nonconfidencevote // Sep 14, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Bill Good. Lifetime news reader award.
    Christy Clark volunteer “judge” for “journalism” after one year as a talk show host

    My Gawd how low does CKNW have to go before the accountants finally “get it”?

    Jack is spinning in his grave.

    (Response; Actually, Christy was quite fair and very good to work with in our category (to me, she’s Christy as a judging partner, Clark as a politician. LOL!). Quite enjoyed it. h.o)

  • 9 MARGE // Sep 14, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Can you check if this is true or not with the connections you have? Did India tell Clark not to bother showing up until the strike was settled? I have been reading this on twitter and face book groups. Is it the case? If so that is the funniest thing ever!

    (Response: Haven’t heard that from anyone …and, frankly, I’m retired … much prefer going for a hike in the woods today rather than work the phones to do research on this. :) h.o)

  • 10 Michelle Kohuch // Sep 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Humble people are always the last to toot their own horns, often to the detriment of the careers. Ultimately, being a person of honour who can sleep well at night has far more value than an award which has devolved from being about journalistic excellence to who can best protect corporate interests. I admire you, Mr. Oberfeld.

    (Response: Kind words. Thanks. Maybe one day I’ll do a full piece on what I went through AFTER I supported the union! Really interesting ..and even funny …in retrospect only. h.o.)

  • 11 e.a.f. // Sep 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    If Marjorie Nichols thought you were good enough for t.v., you were very good indeed. I read her column when she wrote for the Vancouver Sun. She was one tough journalist.

    Jack Webster, thought you were good enough for t.v.. That’s good enough for me.

    I’m sure you haven’t made friends in some circles, but then, you have made a lot of friends in others and I have a feeling if you cashed in your journalist/blogger t-shirt tomorrow morning, god forbid, there would be a hell of a lot more people at the wake than at those who decide who gets one of those “awards”.

    This reminds me of writers who were black listed during the MaCarthy era in the U.S.A. One year no one came and picked up the best screen play Oscar because it was a writer working under an assumed name, because he was blacklisted. Sometimes not getting an award means more than getting one.

    You get one award: the thanks of so many who live in this province who rely on you for information which is no longer available in the MSM. I sure as hell would miss you if you didn’t write. You have always been good at what you do. I’ve been reading articles about politics for almost 60 yrs. I’ve seen a lot come and go and you’re still here, thank you.

    (Response: The reference to the McCarthy era is a bit of an overreach: I was treated VERY, VERY well at the old BCTV, and given the best journalistic break and freedom of my entire career. What happened there over the years that followed Frank Griffith’s death, in my view, was the sacrifice of journalistic standards (as Global) for greed …and both Frank and Jack would be dismayed at what followed their era. In fact, someone has written me privately, telling me that NOT A SINGLE GLOBAL story is a finalist in any competing category in this year’s awards. Lucky Brian got the L.A.A. as he takes the generous buyout they offered to get rid of him. h.o)

  • 12 Larry Bennett // Sep 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Pesonnally? I would rather be on the same list with Bill Good than Patricia Graham, but it is all a matter or taste, one supposes. And, if as Mr. Farrell suggests, Webster was more more comfortable with sheep than the residents on Angus Drive – How to account for taste? “De gustibus, non est disputandum” ! I do know, however, that the Royal Navy couldn’t have kept him from the Royal Yacht Britannia when it was docked here for the Commonwealth Conference.

  • 13 catherine pope // Sep 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    harvey, i couldn’t agree more. you have been screwed out of getting a webster lifetime achievement award because the organization has lost its way and is now in bed with corporate interests. I think your union activism at global also led to a very quiet hi level campaign by management to discredit you and your work.
    for years now i’ve watched as many of the other webster awards categories have been given to the non-deserving. some reporters have even told me they didn’t deserve it. however, if you complain about it, its seen as sour grapes, so we all stay quiet.
    the organization is no longer a celebration of quality journalism. it a a corporate schmooze fest. and an insult to the journalists who work their asses off to produce quality work.
    one other thing i noticed only after reading your list of lifetime achievement awards — complete lack of women!
    Harvey, there is no question about it in my mind — you absolutely deserve a webster lifetime achievement award.

    (Response: Thanks Catherine! Great to hear from a long-time colleague and with such supportive comments. What pleases me more than the award slight is you still remember how “they tried to get me” for years after the strike was over and we were all supposed to be a happy family again. After almost 40 years without a union in the newsroom, it was lousy NEW management, in my opinion, that led to one and after we won our demands, they were now still lousy managers, but also angry lousy managers. Maybe one day I’ll tell that story …because it did have a happy ending for me: but all I’ll say right now is that the only thing I ever remembered from high school physics was “for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction” …and I did just that to them … with quite hilarious rewarding results! Hugs. h.o)

  • 14 e.a.f. // Sep 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Perhaps Webster was a dinner guest on the Britannia. I do recall one dinner the Queen held in Vancouver and Jack Munro was invited and attended.

    Perhaps that was a more inclusive time in our history.

    (Response: I’ve got them both beat! I was not only on The Britannia … in the formal dining/reception rooms …but also upstairs too, in the Captain’s cabin and the Queen/Prince Phillips private STRICTLY off-limits area right outside their bedrooms. (By the way they slept in separate rooms, on SINGLE beds!) Of course, I was there after the ship was decommissioned and became a tourist attraction in Edinburgh … and I had to buy my own ticket!! LOL! h.o)

  • 15 ISLAND LOOKOUT // Sep 14, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Your union organizing work at the former BCTV (something which is allowed under BC law, if not in any collective agreements) and tackling corporate BC and Canada should not be allowed to be a factor in this equation; if in fact it IS.

    If it is then we’re all in bit of trouble in terms of so-called “press” freedoms and such.

    I hope it’s just office politics over at the JW awards committee and nothing else.

    Of course, the various colourful characters and other assorted ageing media hacks, like me, could always start a “write-in” campaign for you, Mr H.O.

    What’s their damn email address since I don’t tweet, twitter or skitter? I’m still getting over the demise of night-time smoke signals for crying out loud!

    In all seriousness, though, the Jack Webster awards are landmarks of major achievements by the recipients and your body of work definitely requires the requisite recognition.

    Good luck to you if you continue to pursue this action.

    Everybody reading your blog is united on this issue, at the very least, Harvey. And that should count for something, I really hope.

    (Response: To be honest, I’m no longer interested. The truth is I have a bookcase in my den filled with awards …not just from my media work …but also community/charity organizations I’ve helped in my private life … and frankly, most people who come to my home don’t even know they’re there. I don’t show them …and it’s only on making it into my den that they notice. And then, ONLY then, will I BRIEFLY turn on the halogen lights pointing to them. Awards, in any field, are nice WHILE you are working for projects well done, or just after you retire … NOT as an apology…. only once exposed. Mind you …the Order of BC would be nice! LOL!!! h.o)

  • 16 morry // Sep 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Sometimes it means MORE to not have been selected for an award. I think this is the case with you having bee snubbed by the Webster LAA.

    As for a book on ‘Maybe one day I’ll tell that story …” that would make for a great read. Hope you do write it.

    (Response: It’s not worth a book …pretty small stuff in the overall important things in my life … but maybe a blog in it all: you will all have a good laugh…. well, most of those reading it will.:) h.o)

  • 17 Larry Bennett // Sep 14, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Betwixt you and I, Harve, I think the awards from community and charities are more to be valued. But I know where your coming from. While playing hockey, I would win the citizenship awards or “Most Gentlemanly Player” type awards, but somehow, it never had the significance of the other guy who won the “Most Valuable Player Award”. It could be worse, you might have received the “Malcolm Parry Award of Insignificance”. I suspect you deserved what you didn’t get, but you are right not to overly fret about it. This from Luke: Woe to you, when all men shall speak well of you.

    (Response; Thanks. To be honest, I did fret for a while when it didn’t happen: after all I had accomplished, not just for myself reporting in Vancouver and at the Legislature (where I was President for three years as well as reporter for both the Vancouver Sun and then BCTV) , but then afterwards for BC during my years in Ottawa …such a HIGH profile for this province with FIVE Prime Ministers and just about every cabinet minister, and then …all the award competitions I did win AFTER getting home and reporting in BC. But it REALLY wasn’t that big a deal …. I’ve actually personally fared better anywhere I’ve gone with my annual Entertainment Book I buy rather than any award I’ve received. :) That’s why I didn’t say much for 8 years … but with others now tuning in and commenting, if I am indeed right about what I believe happened, I figured I SHOULD say something, so the “truth” comes out and they don’t get away with it in silence. h.o)

  • 18 Larry Jordan // Sep 15, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Media awards are a little silly.
    Having worked in the media for several years I was always surprised how seriously many people (actual adults) took them.

    There’s ALWAYS a political element to them (depending who’s on the judging panel, and who won last year and therefore who’s “turn” it is this year, etc.)
    So the question is, who wants to be part of that silly little “club” anyway?

    Besides
    Do doctors get awards mending a broken bone..
    Do dentists wave around awards for easing someone’s pain and fear.
    Do teachers, electricians, plumbers, nurses?
    No. They’re just adults doing their jobs.

    Harv, I think you should “chill” a bit about this. As you get deeper into your retirement you probably will.

    Awards and ribbons are for school children.
    Adults should just do their jobs well …and shuddup about it.

    (Response: I wouldn’t call them silly; but they are very subjective. It was more of a game for me as well as an ego booster, and I felt it also raised the profile/stature of BCTV. As for chilling …geez … I said nothing publicly for 8 years and ONLY commented/explained after it was raised on a podcast by someone I have never met. But, the more we now discuss it, I believe I was wrong to stay silent so long: that’s EXACTLY how bigots and blackballers work … doing their dirty little work in quiet behind the scenes and hoping anyone they discriminate against will just take it and won’t expose them. Just think of where human rights would still be if others, much braver than I, facing discrimination, had stayed silent … and “chilled”. h.o)

  • 19 John // Sep 15, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Don’t worry Harvey,

    You’re just being made an example of what happens when you join the “dark” side of labour relations.

    Always a career limiting move to which I have personal experience.

    (Response: Actually, I believe there was something to that …at work. By downplaying the role/visibility of union leaders, management feels it sends a message to others…especially younger workers ..don’t get involved or your career too will be affected. However, that’s exactly why I felt I had to stand up for what I saw as almost abuse some of the younger people (especially women)were facing on the job and at my stage of career, the last thing I really cared about or needed was higher public profile etc. But that’s on the job, by a particular management: surely at the level of something like the Websters, the “independent” judges and board should be just that, independent … upholding the highest standards of journalism and integrity, a la Jack, and not just be management messengers with corporate axes to grind. h.o)

  • 20 John // Sep 15, 2014 at 9:46 am

    “Actually, I believe there was something to that …at work.”

    I believe the reaction is a natural result of when people faced with unfairness and abuse display integrity and principle.

    I would wonder how people feel on the other side feel when they’re called on stuff and they’re made to feel like a heel.

    I think they would either change their ways or get even.

    I found that most of the time people feel it’s better to get even.

    The best way is make an example out of you.

    It’s the gift that keeps on giving, even years after the fact.

    I feel sorry for people like that. Acting that way is the only way they can make the mortgage?

    Sad.

  • 21 DonGar // Sep 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

    You’ve got your integrity. If Jack were alive today he wouldn’t get nominated for his own award. Too dam honest and never an ass-kisser.

    (Response: I think Jack WOULD have received it … because he was so GREAT … and they probably would have known HE would not have stayed silent about it and them for 8 years! Hope he forgives me. h.o)

  • 22 D.M. Johnston // Sep 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I know an awful lot about Jack Webster, yet I never met the man. In fact Jack almost came to my wedding, but fate dictated otherwise. I have heard Jack give two very powerful eulogies, one for my aunt and previously her late husband.

    My aunt was very good friends with jack and highly respected him and would tell all sorts of Jack Webster stories when given the chance.

    Jack, being the austere and dour Scott as he was, even proposed marriage to my aunt after both of their spouses passed.

    So much for family history and yes, I was the proverbial fly on the wall……..

    The one thing that was impressed into me about jack Webster was that he did not suffer fools or lying politicians and being a true newshound as he was, he kept files on everyone, who went where, done what, said what, etc.

    He had no favourites but went after all politicians of every stripe if there was a story that the public should hear or must hear.

    The Webster’s, were in part, to reward and honour those who took up the tradition of the lowly reporter and who excelled with the “big” stories.

    Today, the Webster’s, like the Odor of BC and the Odor of Canada (yes I did spell it right!) has become a corporate and political schmooze fest, where the politically correct; the society elites; and government friendly media lightweights come and pretend that they are important.

    Old Jack would be spinning in his grave and all the Glennfiddich Malt would sour like week old milk, if he even had an inkling what his namesake and once prestigious award has succumbed too.

    Harv, you should have won the award, but being the true newshound that you are, did not pander to the corporate bean counters, who so dislike real news; You carry on the tradition here, on this blog. Though not a great reward in itself; you reward the likes of me with your posts and when your blog and Norm Farrell’s blog are eagerly read before the on-line version of the daily fish-wrap, I think, a reward in itself.

    We soon forget, unless reminded by the winners, who won a Webster, we know daily your contributions to the news today!

    (Response: Thanks. I do not to denigrate those who have won awards in he various journalistic categories: most of the judges who volunteer their own considerable time to do that deserve our appreciation and do so quite impartially. As I recalled in another comment, there was one judge who admitted to me he HAD TO vote for the submission from his own company’s reporter …disgraceful, should not have been a judge. And there was one judge who revealed he had chosen as BEST a submission in which he was interviewed … should have withdrawn from judging. But the L.A.A. is quite different … chosen by the “brass” of the organization … who for some time, have not seemed to me to be setting the example Jack would be proud of … too many management and celebrity types …not enough REAL reporters … and then only the tamest ones. h.o)

  • 23 Larry Bennett // Sep 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I trust too, Great Scot that he was (and Canadian) he would vote “NO” to the departure of Caledonia from Great Britain. (That is not to condemn Charles Edward or Flora MacDonald) to be sure!

  • 24 Izzy Stone weeps! // Sep 15, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    There may have been a time when the Webster was a worthy tribute; a time long gone. We now have journalists( not media personalities, there is a difference) being part of award judging for various corporate and non-profit organizations, a virtual daisy chain of conflicts. Two quotes come to mind: “Most of these awards are like hemorrhoids, sooner or later every a-hole gets one” and A.J Liebling’s classic, “the power of the press belongs to those that own it”. Nuff said. BTW, Larry, are you off your meds again?

  • 25 Larry Bennett // Sep 15, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Dizzy Izzy – What are you talking about – do you know?
    Perhaps you should get out the old British/Scots history if you are feeling confused. Honestly! There are times I wonder why I waste my time with some of your followers, Harve. Besides, if I were off my meds, I wouldn’t be here.

  • 26 Jeremy Hainsworth // Sep 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Agreed. Far too corporate. Not acceptable.

  • 27 Ara Hepburn // Sep 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Thank You for (finally) writing all this down. If anybody deserved a Webster LAA you did.
    That, ahem, some of the company on the list is less than desirable, proving it’s become a corporate sham doesn’t negate you are a journalist to the core.
    It has little to do with retirement. It’s a quality of being.
    Please do post the entire story… we’d love to hear it.
    All the Best to you and yours…

    (Respionse: It’s actually quite funny …in retrospect. Maybe some day … :) h.o)

  • 28 Sean Ciroc // Sep 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Hi!

    Ho could it be that you’re doing too great of a job to be honoured with a little trinket!?

    I’m thinking you are like one of those great artists who achieve honour and praise once they have passed on. Sometimes a work of art takes a form of its own and you HO are a MASTER!

    Don’t ever let the slight of not getting a JW Award ever affect your output! You are a great writer, reporter, etc …!!!

    Sadly when your gone will only then the COWARDS honour you!

    Please keep doing what you do!

    (Response: Thanks. Anyone who watched my career ..at The Vancouver Sun or BCTV … knew very well I was not afraid of standing up for what I felt was true and fair …even if it alienated management …at BOTH those places. And I could NEVER brown-nose for “trinkets” or to please the establishment. Of course, there is a price to pay for that and I paid it AT the station and also apparently in terms of an Webster L.A.A. but I would NEVER change a thing I stood up for. My treatment behind the scenes speaks MORE about the lack of ethics or professionalism of some others who run the “show”! h.o)

  • 29 Alex // Sep 21, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    larry, you have no idea how he would have voted in Scotlands referendum, why would you even make a statement like that??
    You must be off your Meds again

  • 30 Claudia Ferris // Oct 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    You’ll be sure to win that Webster award when you’re dead and can’t cause any more trouble!
    I wasn’t surprised when you eventually ended up in a union executive position at the station. I remember asking you for help when I was in the technical bargaining unit and the reporters were not represented by a union. We had all been rated, rather arbitrarily, with most of the women receiving low ratings. I asked for additional training for those of us deemed needing improvement and you were provided as a resource to us. That was fun and I was able to stand up for myself and you supported me. It wasn’t so much the union as us actually caring about each other. Imagine that?!
    You are always fair Harvey, even if you didn’t take my side or position as much as you should have:)
    Thanks for blogging on and continuing to contribute to our collective consciousness and dialogue. Glad we’re both here still enjoying it.

    (Response: Claudia! So good to hear from you …and thanks for your kind words. You will be happy to know that I’ve been happily retired for more than 8 years now, but still standing up and speaking my piece …trying to keep it real …no matter who I have to face. Yes, I’ve paid a price with the establishment and the corporate brass and many of the political forces that surround us …but never lose any sleep over that and couldn’t imaging being any other way! h.o)