One recent evening it was Amy Goodman, the amazing do-it-all journalist with Democracy Now, the independent U.S. radio and TV program. She gave an uplifting (for any journalist or would-be journalist) talk – ironically from the bowels of the CBC, where a lot of great journalism has been dying in recent years.
(Note: The hour-long Democracy Now radio program is available on some university or community-oriented stations in Canada. I highly recommend it. )
The evening was sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation, which was created to boost corporate journalism in the country. Asking the questions was Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief David Walmsley.
When it was announced Goodman was coming to Toronto, I was surprised and disappointed that her journalistic integrity might rub off on the Globe and Mail, which, among other things, fired all of its progressive columnists over a period of time.
|From Left: Amy Goodman | Michael Maclear | Walter Stewart|
Goodman described how she and fellow investigative journalist Allan Nairn came close to being shot at point blank range while trying to stop the military from massacring dozens of people in East Timor in the early 1990s. Goodman and Nairn were spared, possibly because they made it clear they were Americans and the weapons used by the soldiers were made in the U.S.
In those days, I knew Allan Nairn as a sometimes nervous and distant voice over the telephone. I was a producer with the CBC Radio Sunday Morning program, and we took in Allan's dramatic stories over the phone about the atrocities in East Timor, as well as his stories from other hot spots.
I never got to meet Allan Nairn, but over the years I learned a lot by listening to speeches by some of North America's top journalists.