Newsroom 111 results

Politics, Journalism, Opinion, and Sports from veteran journalists Rod Mickleburgh, Charley Gordon, Carla McClain, Shelley Page, Katherine Monk, and others.

The Orillia Packet & Times: A Love Story

Newspaper Obituary: The Orillia Packet & Times They're closing the newspaper where I made my start, and where I learned about journalism. I guess I'm still learning. By Jay Stone (Ottawa, ON -- Nov. 27, 2017) I’ve been in love with several newspapers in my life — journalism tends to be a promiscuous passion — but never more deeply than I was in my first affair with the Orillia Packet & Times. It was the place where I started in the business, and now they’re going to close it down, another victim of Google or smart phones or whatever it is that has driven the wayward press to the fringes of our attention.I went there in 1968 from Toronto, where I was a 22-year-old university dropout driving a cab for a living while I plotted how to become a writer. My father, who brooked no such nonsense, sent me a note — I was living in a hippie house on St. Joseph Street, near Bloor and Yonge, with my longhaired hoodlum friends — saying that he had heard there was an ...

Baseball’s Off-Season Cues Symphony of Majors and Minors

Sports: Baseball Looking back at the year of ball that was, Rod Mickleburgh finds the big league diamonds were rough, but the minor games at the likes of Nat Bailey Stadium were small gem experiences in a priceless setting. By Rod Mickleburgh And so baseball winter has begun, made even harsher by the tragic death of Roy Halladay. The hopeful breezes of spring, the lazy hazy crazy days of summer and the beautifully slanted light of fall have all departed from the diamond, leaving us to bundle up and shiver through the bleak wintry months of no baseball. In that sweet, far-off time when I was a kid, the Series was always over by the second week of October, in time for the players to do their fall hunting. Now, with so many wildcard and playoff games piled on, the Series stretches into November, as ridiculous a month as ever was for the summer game. In November, you don’t think baseball, you think winter.There was hardly a “wow” ending. The highly-anticipated seventh game ...

What The Knuckler?

Sports: Baseball When everything about baseball is new, having a knowledgeable buddy to help you get a grip on balls, strikes and four-seam fastballs can be more fun than shagging a can of corn (The following is part of a continuing correspondence between Charley Gordon, journalist and veteran baseball fan, and novelist Brian Doyle, author of books such as Martin Marten, The Plover and Angel Square. He is also a newly minted follower of the boys of summer.) May 3, 2016Dear Dr. Gordon:I have a friend who has been a baseball fan for 70 years.I am, as you know, a neophyte baseball watcher.My friend (let's call him "Mike") has a superior attitude and is sneeringly patronizing when it comes to baseball comments.I fear, when I come out of the closet, he is going to dismiss and even scoff  at any observation I might make about the game.I want to say something about knuckle ball pitchers in general and R.A. Dickey in particular. I want my comment to ...

There Is Power in a Union Movie

Movies: Top Ten Movies About Labour Issues In a world where the salaried worker is becoming an endangered species and the income gap is now the Grand Canyon, the only place to find solace may be on the silver screen -- where workers of the world can still win By Rod Mickleburgh (September 4, 2017) I had fun doing this a few years ago, compiling a list of my top ten films for Labour Day viewing. This was in 2014, when BC teachers, instead of heading back to school, were still on strike from the previous June. They would have several more weeks to go, before the longest province-wide teachers strike in BC history was over. And, just like in some of these movies, there was a happy ending. Last November, the teachers won a resounding victory in the Supreme Court of Canada, restoring classroom limits and other staffing measures the BC Liberals (remember them?) had illegally stripped from their contracts way back in 2002 (Jean Chretien was still Prime Minister!) The result has been the ...

Birks Diamond Tribute: Women in Film’s Best Friend

News: Birks Diamond Tribute to Women in Film It's not about square cut or pear-shaped, the Birks Diamond Tribute honours the unsung contributions of women in Canadian film, where the female sex is still grossly under-represented By Katherine Monk It started with a tribute to two actors in 2012: Emily Hampshire and Sarah Gadon. This year, the Birks Diamond Tribute will honour a full dozen women in Canadian film, including actors, directors and screenwriters.Slated for celebration at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival are directors Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Ashley McKenzie, Catherine Bainbridge, Chloé Leriche, and Mina Shum; actors Amanda Brugel, Ellen Wong, Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Mylène Mackay, and Shailyn Pierre-Dixon; and screenwriters Joanne Arseneau and Sherry White.With a few exceptions, such as Vancouver’s Mina Shum (Double Happiness) and newcomer Ashley McKenzie (Werewolf), they are not household names — yet. The whole point of the Birks  ...

Right to Left: Watching the Political Pendulum Swing

Politics: Looking back at the first BC NDP victory in 1972 Rod Mickleburgh remembers the day the "socialist hordes" stormed the gates of Government House and Dave Barrett took the oath of office. There was no ceremony, no dancers, no tweets, but British Columbia would never be the same. By Rod Mickleburgh Watching the joyous, almost giddy swearing-in of the province’s new premier and his gender-balanced cabinet, I couldn’t help thinking of BC’s very first transition of power to the NDP, so long ago the Vancouver Sun had two full-time labour reporters. That historic ground-breaker took place way back in 1972, or five years before David Eby, the province’s new Attorney General, was born. July 18 was only the third such right-to-left tilt in BC history. Of course, that’s three more than the zero Stanley Cups won by the hapless Canucks, and just enough to keep politics interesting and a semblance of two-party democracy alive in BC’s polarized environment. No wonder John ...

Helena Guttridge, Mayor Gregor and Auntie Irene

People: Irene Howard, History Is Her Story Mayor's tribute to Vancouver's first female councillor strikes a personal note for Rod Mickleburgh, who in turn honours a chronicler he calls 'Auntie Irene' By Rod Mickleburgh (May 17, 2017) - At the age of 70, my beloved Auntie Irene, under her scholastic name of Irene Howard, published her definitive biography of Helena Gutteridge, Vancouver’s first woman “alderman”. Ten years later, when she was 80, she completed her remarkable book Gold Dust On His Shirt, a moving saga of her family’s working class life in the gold mines of British Columbia, feathered with impeccable research of the times. At 90 she published a very fine poem, which is reproduced below.And one morning last month, at the age of 94 and a half, Auntie Irene sat in the front row of chairs arrayed in a room off the main lobby at city hall, looking as elegant and vivacious as anyone who pre-dated Vancouver’s Art Deco municipal masterpiece by 14 years ...

Cohen, Prince, Bowie and now… Comparelli

Tribute: R.I.P. Peter Comparelli A fellow scribe remembers the good old days when journalists spoke truth to power, a per diem could get you drunk and a guy named Peter Comparelli backstopped the labour beat By Rod Mickleburgh It has been a terrible year. Bowie and Prince taken far too early. Leonard Cohen leaving us to mourn and light candles against the dark. Long-time friends battling serious health issues. Fake news, the decline of newspapers and the mainstream media, more necessary than ever to hold governments and politicians to account. An antiquated electoral system, an FBI “announcement coup” against Hillary Clinton and Russian hackers delivering a sniveling, bullying, thin-skinned, shallow-thinking prima-donna with the attention span of a child to the White House, while the most adult of U.S. presidents takes his dignified leave. Terrorism in Europe. Aleppo. And now, to cap off this annus horribilis came news of the passing of Peter Comparelli, as lovely a person as ...

Canadian women bound for Palm Springs

Movies: Palm Springs International Film Festival The partnership between Palm Springs and Telefilm continues to push the Canadian film cause in influential U.S. circles, with female directors taking centre stage By The Ex-Press (December 22, 2016) — A delegation of strong Canadian women will be heading to Palm Springs in the new year, showcasing work that touches on everything from Kenyan marathon runners to resource extraction and First Nations issues in the North.Anjali Nayar’s Gun Runners, Nettie Wild’s Koneline, Anne Émond’s Nelly and Chloé Robichaud’s Pays were selected to screen at this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival, joining Zacharias Kunuk’s Maliglutit, Xavier Dolan’s Juste la fin du monde and Juan Andrés Arango’s X Quinientos as part of this year’s seven-film Canadian delegation, one of the strongest in recent years.“With a diverse mix of Canadian features—including works from emerging talent and an Indigenous pioneer, ...

Remembering a massacre: A tough pill to swallow

The Sick Days: Part 18 Covering the events of December 6 at L'École Polytechnique was a formative experience, and one a seasoned reporter now thinks she got all wrong. By Shelley Page (Published Dec. 2, 2015) The moment my editor told me to get to the airport, my stomach fell as though I was on the down slope of a rollercoaster. I stood in the middle of the newsroom, as a few deskers and reporters stared at me expectantly, wondering if I could possibly decline. I think reporters often dread the unknown of a story and the difficulties that lay ahead to nail it down, but I feared I just wasn’t up to the task.I’d been feeling tired, lupus tired, for days and I was walking like an elderly woman whose joints lacked lubricant.But the killing in Montreal had begun around 5 p.m., and within 20 minutes, 27 people were shot or stabbed. All the dead were young women; fourteen of them.How could I not go?In the Beaches areas apartment I shared with my absentee boyfriend, who ...