Tuesday, May 14, 2013

PETER WORTHINGTON WAS A BOYHOOD IDOL OF MINE

My first acquaintance of Peter Worthington was as a twelve year old delivering newspapers.  Peter was on the front page of the Toronto Telegram doing all sorts of fascinating things.  I remember wars in Africa and Asia,  involvement with a Russian bureau and walking a long distance (don't remember why).  He was my idea of glamorous reporter and I enjoyed being associated with the Telegram.  I had not realized that he witnessed the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and also the escape of the Dalai Lama (one of my current heroes).

I lost track of him and then became aware that he was a key founder of the Toronto Sun after the Telegram folded.  I got involved with the Sun during my circulation career when I helped set up delivery service for the Sunday Sun in Burlington.  Then my career took a different direction.

I believe I may actually have met Peter at a softball match for newspapers.  I know I met the famous Paul Rimstead, also of the Sun.  Somehow the Oakville Journal Record was included in a mostly Toronto media softball league, played mainly for fun (although some took it very seriously).

A few years later when I worked for a new newspaper in Kitchener called Newsday the Toronto Sun became important in different ways.  My two immediate bosses were both former employees of the Sun.  I had received a more broad training at a smaller community newspaper and we clashed a bit, but in the end they admitted I did know what I was talking about.  Two of my working colleagues from Oakville went on to work at the Toronto Sun.

Later I learned the Sun was critical to Newsday getting off the ground.  Going up against the establishment is always difficult.  We had trouble finding a printer when our first printer realized we were competing against one of their own group members in Kitchener.  The Toronto Sun, an upstart paper itself came through and as far I can recall stuck with us the whole time.  Things did get tough and I had heard rumours that the Sun might be willing to buy us, but it fell through and before too long Newsday was history.  I could have ended up working for the Toronto Sun (not sure if Peter was with them at this time or not, but aware of the connection).

Instead of working with the Toronto Sun my circulation career took me in opposition to them and later to another group where I was constantly running into people who had worked at the Sun.

My politics were probably never on the same page as Peter's, but until I reached university I never gave it much thought.  I admit Trudeaumania hit me strongly.  While still in university, but not old enough to vote I volunteered and eventually even got paid to help the Liberals in the Oshawa-Whitby riding.  I really didn't have much influence, but I think I can credit myself with helping Ed Broadbent get elected.  I know I switched a few votes (my Grandmother and Great Aunt amongst them) from the Conservative cabinet minister Michael Starr to my candidate Desmond Newman, mayor of Whitby.  I also had one of my ad ideas accepted by the campaign manager.  In the end about 20 votes separated Ed Broadbent from Michael Starr and Ed went on to become NDP party leader.

I was vaguely aware that Peter detested Trudeau, and from time to time became aware that it was one of his missions to destroy Trudeau.  I look back on Trudeau with mixed feelings that still include some admiration.

Peter married Yvonne Crittenden who had also been a reporter at the Telegram.  His step daughter  Danielle married David Frum.  I had been an avid listener to David's mother, Barbara when she hosted a CBC radio program called "As it Happens".  David Frum always impressed me as very articulate with well thought out views.  When I think of conservatives I think he is outstanding.  He is not locked into a position so narrow he cannot understand why some people think otherwise.  It is a shame that the Republicans have rejected him as he gave good advice.  There does need to be a balance between liberal and conservatives which David would be an ideal person to represent the conservative perspective.  I read some of Danielle's work and enjoyed  her sense of humour.

It takes all types of people to make the world work and Peter was certainly a unique one.  He wrote his own obituary which details his life like nobody else.  And the details are very interesting.

http://www.torontosun.com/2013/05/14/peter-worthington-in-his-own-words

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