We still need print media

Nick Wolochatiuk - Dances With Words
We still need print media
(Photo : Seaway News)

September 1959: early in my first year at St. Michael’s College School, Toronto, I sat down to take the compulsory battery of aptitude and preference tests. At that time my heart was set on being nothing else but a test pilot. However, the test results indicated that I definitely should pursue a career in journalism. Father Gorman, my English teacher, agreed. However, I said to myself, “Silly tests. Waste of time. What a lot of nonsense!” 

A year later I was prescribed glasses so I could read what was on the chalkboard. I could see! But that ruled out the test pilot option. “So, I’ll be an aeronautical engineer.” Then came the dismal grades in Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. I became rudderless, with absolutely no career goal.

That same Father Gorman badgered me to submit an article for the Thurible, the school’s year book. It was an obligatory part of my Grade XIII English course. Topic: “Avro CF-105 Arrow vs. IM-99 Bomarc Missile – No contest!”

Same year: not supposed to be beside Runway 32, Malton Airport [now ‘Toronto International’], but I was there, photographing the Avro Arrow’s mishap –. Got a series of dramatic photos of a landing mishap, ones that even the Avro Canada photographers missed. Three were published next morning in a Toronto newspaper (one that is now defunct.)

Phone call, c. 1977: “This is Dan Rogers, editor of the Glengarry News. I have to do an article about the Air Cadet glider program at Alexandria Airport, from a first-hand experience perspective, but I don’t know much about planes, other than flying in an airliner to get to Florida. Your name came up as someone who could answer some questions for me before I go up.”

A lengthy series of his questions and my answers followed. Finally, he confessed, “Look, can you take the flight and do the story for me?”

Of course, I did the story, and came up with several other local articles after that. Then the publisher took notice, saying, “Who is this Wolochatiuk?! He’s not staff! We pay staff to write and shoot.” End of my stint as a freelancer.

From 1994-1999 I was a full-time reporter and columnist for the Standard-Freeholder. Just before I was canned, on December 18,1999, the circulation of the paper and its popular “Hometown” weekly supplement was over 18,000! Take a guess at what it is now.

Breaking news: Wednesday September 13, 2023: “The Glengarry News has folded.” 

All of the above items (test pilot, aeronautical engineer, Toronto Telegram, Glengarry News, Standard-Freeholder) have a failure element in them. If there are any out there who aspire to be journalists, I wish you luck, because these days we desperately need you, but false news, propagandists, liars, yellow journalism and scammers flourish.

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