Thursday, 1 November 2007

Forum: Dave Chidley

A TSF Open Forum e-mail from Dave Chidley, a former veteran Sun photographer:

"I have thought about writing the TSF blog many times. I try to follow a "24 hour rule" where I won't write while I'm still angry. Well, it took exactly a year. I am over the anger, but one year ago (Oct. 31, 2006), I left Sun Media. I took a buy out because I was facing a certain layoff, so I made the act easy for them.

You see, despite 23 1/2 years with The Toronto Sun Publishing Corp/Sun Media/Quebecor, I was still the junior union member in the London Free Press photo department. It was the photo department's turn for a layoff.

Some of you from Toronto will remember me as a very young summer intern in 1982. Apparently, I was the first photo intern at the paper. From there, I went to Calgary for 17 years before my six- plus at the London Free Press.

I was hired as a full-timer in Calgary with hearts and love in the air on Valentine's Day 1984, and of course the most fitting day to meet the employer Grim Reaper, I left on Halloween Day. That day, an army of long serving, talented and dedicated staff were sent on their way, trick or treat.

Hundreds of years of experience vanished like spirits in the air that day. I was one of the "younger" ones taking my experience out the door.

I truly miss my colleagues at the Free Press and, of course, the Calgary Sun. They were and still are a tremendously talented group of professionals. That's where my anger comes from. It is such a waste, such a shame that the once mighty and highly respected Free Press has been, like the other papers in the chain, scaled back, and back and back.

Arghhh, I just hope the trend doesn't continue and the money to do good journalism is re-invested in the papers. It really can't get much worse, or so I hope.

I have been very fortunate to have landed on my feet. Ron Polling and Graeme Roy at The Canadian Press called me the day I was given my Freedom. I work a regular freelance gig for them. THANKS! I also get hired often by the Post, Globe, CanWest National and Star.

I cover the southwestern Ontario region, from Hamilton/Kitchener to Windsor and Sarnia and beyond. It was strange, at a recent Argo game in Toronto I was shooting for CP and ex-Sun man Freddy Thornhill was shooting for Reuters, and NO Toronto papers had shooters at the game. It was during the film festival, but it was still bizarre.

So I am all right, there has been life after the Sun for me. I know many of my colleagues that day have retired, and some gone on to other ventures. I hope their year has been fulfilling.

I enjoy reading TSF and check it often.

Take care.

PS, I accept freelance assignments! Tell your friends.

Dave Chidley


Thank you for your e-mail, Dave.

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