Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Arnold & Dunlops

Arnold Agnew, one of the architects of the annual Dunlop Awards launched in 1984, comments on cancellation of the 2008 awards and their apparent demise.

"Joan Sutton Straus asked me to (comment) about the Dunlops. That leaves it wide open, but I am happy to oblige.

"I did not know the awards had been cancelled, which is a great shame. It was, I think, a good morale/team builder (especially after Christie Blatchford left and stopped winning all the time) and helped, modestly, to bring the scattered pieces of the group together. And I won't get into the problems of hands-on ownership from out of town.

"Anyway, Doug Creighton asked me in the early 1980s (I had launched into a precarious consulting career at the time) to give him a plan for an internal, i.e. Sun group, annual awards program. There was a feeling at the Sun that they were being overlooked/ignored/lookeddownupon by the establishment papers who dominated the National Newspaper Awards.

"Certainly, there was some suspicion among those who ran those papers about a London-style tabloid stirring things up - and having fun doing it. Never mind the fact that many of them were among the experts who predicted the Sun wouldn't last a year.

"I had been on the cartooning judging panel for the NNA and didn't share that feeling, but then we were not very important and I never sat in on any final judging sessions.

"I consulted with senior editorial people in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton - that was the extent of the Sun empire then - and submitted a proposal, based in part on the NNA because we were doing basically the same thing.

"I presented it to the board, or at least some of them. Eddie Goodman and Dorrie Dunlop were there, I know. We worked out the logistics, recruited some judges and we were in business.

"Trudy Egan was the person who did most of the work and kept the thing on track. There were some great judges, including Joan, Doug MacFarlane, John Grant, Ed Monteith, Hartley Steward and was it Herb Solway's wife, who used to work for the Financial Post?

"Regrettably, in a fit of age (that's age), moving into an apartment and a desire to rid myself of a lot of stuff, including 50 years of books and other paper, I don't have all my files.

"The Dunlops were a great success in my view and will be missed. We can't blame Quebecor for it all. The world is not as newspaper friendly as it used to be in - should I say it? - the good old days.

"Let me know if I can be of any more help. I am sure Trudy, and others, have a better memory for names than I do."

Thank you for your e-mail, Arnold.

1 comment:

  1. With all due respect to the guy, blaming the demise of the Dunlops on "the world not being newspaper friendly" is a cop-out. It's just another nail in the coffin for why anyone would want to work for Sun Media. You need to have SOME sort of motivation for working in a place like that, otherwise it's no more than a sweat shop. If they don't want to spend money on a big party anymore, fine, but it wouldn't kill them to run off a few certificates on the office printer and buy some stamps.