Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/03/2011

‘History on the Run’ – An Insight Into News Publishing from Nova Scotia


Graham Dennis - News Publisher in Nova Scotia

Apparently Graham Dennis, publisher of The Chronicle Herald and The Mail Star in Nova Scotia for the last 57 years, fought off the temptations to be like the Murdochs and the Maxwells of the world — brash, flamboyant, vain, complicated, and determined to build an empire.

This fact alone makes Mr. Dennis a hero in my book … And a true journalist, businessman and publisher focused on a mission to better the world through genuine reporting of world and local events.

Graham Dennis passed away last Thursday at the age of 83 … He outlived many icons and through much transformative history.

Here is a little of Mr Dennis’ unique history and an inspiring slice of publishing history:

As reported by Jim Meek for The Chronicle Herald

When Graham Dennis took over as publisher of The Chronicle Herald and The Mail Star, the type was hot, the war with the Soviets was cold, reporters were “ink-stained wretches,” and writers of letters to the editor signed off their fiery missives with pseudonyms.

The year was 1954. The New York Giants were World Series champions. Louis St. Laurent was prime minister. Dwight Eisenhower was president. Queen Elizabeth was two years into her reign. Conrad Black, future media baron, was still wearing short pants. Graham Dennis, destined to serve as this newspaper’s publisher for the next 57 years, was 26 years old.

Mr. Dennis, who died on Thursday, outlasted all of the above in one way or another — except the Queen, which would be just fine with him. Yes, Mr. Black is still around, but he’s been to prison and he can’t be described as a media mogul anymore.

I mention dear Conrad because he in many ways stands for the typical newspaper proprietor of his era. Black is like the Murdochs and the Maxwells of the world — brash, flamboyant, vain, complicated, and determined to build an empire.

Graham Dennis was cut from different cloth. He was modest, self-effacing, shy, polite to the point of courtliness, and focused on the single goal of running one smallish daily newspaper whose mission was to support progress in the place he loved — Nova Scotia.

Conrad Black was also like many of his Canadian contemporaries in another way — he was determined to buy The Chronicle Herald newspapers from Mr. Dennis. In fact, quite a crowd of media bosses has tried to unseat the Dennis family.

When I was The Chronicle Herald’s Ottawa correspondent, in the early 1980s, the guys who worked for the Thomson newspaper chain often bugged me about whether “Graham” might sell. The Thomson newspaper chain is no longer with us; the Dennis family still owns the Halifax newspapers.

In 1999, I was at a dinner in Toronto at which Peter White, an adviser to Conrad Black, pointedly sat beside me. I was vain enough to imagine that White wanted to experience the light elegance of my refined company. Within five minutes, his real mission was clear. He wanted to know if Mr. Dennis would speak to Conrad about selling the paper.

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10/29/2010

World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN)


WAN is the host of the World Newspaper Congress, which meets every year or bi-yearly (after some research I’m still confused on schedule for this event)…The purpose of the Newspaper Congress being to bring all worldwide news media members together to discuss present and foreseeable news production problems and solutions…resulting in a more free press.

WAN’s vision is “to be the indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defense and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses and technology.”

WAN CEO, Christoph Riess, recently visited Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, who is lobbying for the 2012 World Newspaper Congress to be held in the city of Kyiv.

If selected, the Newspaper Congress will coincide with the the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, also being held in Kyiv.

But, beyond this tidbit of coincidence…and much more important…is the fact that the event could spell the solidification and recognition of a more democratic and free press state for the Ukraine.

This report from Yhiah Information Agency:

Yanukovych meets CEO of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych met with Christoph Riess, Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN), according to the Press office of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Welcoming the guest in Ukraine, the President reiterated his earlier invitation to the WAN to hold the World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv in 2012. “It is important that it was held in Kyiv,” Viktor Yanukovych said. He reminded that in 2012 Ukraine will be hosting the finals of EURO 2012, therefore all the necessary hotel, transport and exhibition infrastructure will be ready.

“Conducting this very important forum in Kyiv will be the evidence that the state is attractive for free journalists and media,” he said.

Viktor Yanukovych stressed the importance of development of the information market for Ukraine. “It is also the path of democracy and freedom development. For Ukraine, it is its establishment as a democratic state,” he said. The President said the Ukrainian side is interested in any investments in this direction.

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