Friday, 6 November 2009

Lou & Robin

Robin Harvey, former veteran Toronto Star staffer, has some kind words about Lou Clancy, the Toronto Sun's recently departed editor-in-chief - and a confession.

Robin, former Star reporter, ACE, slot person, copy editor, Deputy Sunday editor, writes:

"Lou was the closest thing to a mentor I ever got in this crazy business. And that is saying a lot for a guy who seemed to be conversationally challenged from a woman who never seemed to shut up.

"But there must be more than a zillion things he did over my career at The Star that directly taught and affected me - all in a quiet, understated way.

"He inspired incredible loyalty and never seemed to get caught up in political bullshit. Maybe it was because we both grew up around Pape and Danforth, but he never needed many words to communicate when I was being hysterical, paranoid - or bang on the mark with any story or call.

"On occasion, he could lose his temper, and 'Lou the bear' would growl my way. But he was quick to apologize and I can only think of three times this happened in more than 15 years working for him in some capacity or another.

"And he was always straight-up fair and honest with me.

"So I have one confession to make.

"Lou, that day the fishing club stole your big fish from your office wall and held it for ransom - the female hand holding the gun to its head in the second ransom demand photo was mine.

"luv always


Thank you for your e-mail, Robin.

Question is, when and where will Lou resurface in a newsroom?

1 comment:

  1. I only met Lou once and it was brief. We shook hands, shared a couple words and what wasn't said was all I could hear. He didn't have to say anything. I knew what was once available was no longer. A feeling of lost hope came crashing upon me but at least he didn't pretend otherwise. A look was all it took. That's my Lou story. It's simple.

    Lou had a reputation of being a great guy to work for. Sadly, many of us "younger" reporters will never get to experience what it is like to work for a real newspaper guy. Sun dailies are full of what some of us call “last men standing.” I don't want to put down a person trying to put food on the table but when they pretend and behave as though they know news it's sickening. It's disheartening to know they are exactly what is desired by the signature on my cheque. The decisions they make are enough to make a person cringe.

    It's one of the hardest aspects of "corporate media" to swallow. Despite how much you want something unless a miracle occurs you'll never know what it is like to respect your editors.

    That's the the real sad state of the newspaper industry. Papers aren't only dying but so are reporters. They're killing us off one by one. I'm not talking about those who consider themselves "journalists" but those who know they're reporters. Not writers but reporters. Not in it for the byline but the story. A pub over the annual press gallery gala. The guy that can get into buildings, get names, get people to talk. These type of people are few and far between nowadays. I'm under 30 but bleed ink to the point I need a transfusion. Working for the Sun and knowing the world is closing in around any escape plan is tiring, soul-crushing and becoming timeworn.

    With all the slashing, cutting and the closing of doors on opportunity/advancement we stand to kill off the reporter. The person that was once applauded and appreciated in newsrooms is no longer. They've made way for those who will follow in line.

    Whatever ever happened to the edgy, teeth gnashing, digger, refusing to take no for an answer and willing to push the limits reporter. More importantly, whatever happened to the editor that would back him or her.

    Doing it right is why I got into the business. The day of the newspaperman is nearly over. It's faint and desolate. I worry the wave long ago reached its break. But I stay, keep on keepin on, waiting, looking for any opportunity. Giving in is not an option but it grows stronger daily.

    I tread softly because any missteps will see me working more weekends, stuck on nightshifts or doing streeters. After all, it's the only real power they have over me.

    Here's to those who have been there and also to those who feel the pain of the last man standing.

    Long live the reporter.


    A reporter chained to his desk like a dog in a cage.