Monday, 1 June 2009

Press club shame

Petty politics, egos and bad decisions sent the once mighty Toronto Press Club spiralling into the abyss in the past couple of decades.

But nothing is sadder than hearing the Canadian News Hall of Fame tribute to generations of journalists is gathering dust in a locked room in the basement of a downtown Toronto hotel.

All of the sad details can be found in a new story by Michael Friscolanti at Suffice to say, the Toronto Press Club is homeless, where once it was a bustling hive of media camaraderie.

The 23 honoured journalists whose names are engraved on the numerous plaques - many of them late, great newspaper legends - are being disrespected by the neglect.

As the story notes, the Canadian News Hall of Fame, launched in 1965 and without a new inductee since 2001, now reads:


It is a bloody disgrace.

But maybe the fate of the homeless press club and our once treasured Wall of Fame is a reflection of how Canadian journalists are feeling these days: Down trodden. Defeated.

The press club was a way of life, an affirmation that there would always be a home away from home for any journalist wanting to step up to the bar.

Drinking habits have changed, but there is still a need for media camaraderie, especially in these doom and gloom times. This Friday's Newzapalooza V is a perfect example.

Press Review's demise after Michael Cassidy, its founding editor/publisher, died in 2005 left another void for print media members wanting a source for news and views.

Maybe it is time for a newly organized media club, with periodic gatherings, an online newsletter for club news, media updates, troop movements, awards recipients, obits and a place to hang the Wall of Fame.

Failing that, perhaps Newseum in Washington, D.C., can find a place to hang our Wall of Fame. Give the recipients the respect they deserve.

But fix the damn lettering.


  1. The Press Club was already regarded by young journalists as a bit of joke when I started in the mid-'80s, so I don't think its decline can be attributed to "how Canadian journalists are feeling these days".

  2. In a Mass Media class at Ryerson, late '70s, I remember an essay assignment, "The Press Club is a boneyard of broken dreams. Discuss."
    Still managed to get drunk there a few times though.

  3. I can see a place for a reinvigorated Press Club, as someone who missed out on the era.
    As a Ryerson grad myself, I'd call on the School of Journalism and its Journalism School alumni association to step in and save the Canadian News Hall of Fame. Those two groups may also have a role to play in a new press club - perhaps with a wee bit of help from the venerable ol' Imperial Public Library....