Saturday, August 16, 2014

Lindor Reynolds and the Free Press

Lindor Reynolds has produced what is likely her last column from the Free Press as she spends her last days at Riverview Health Centre in palliative care. This year my family made a contribution to the Riverview Health Centre Foundation for the care they have provided for us over the years.

The last column is terribly sad for her family, friends and readers.

I'll be the first to say that I read certain writers not because I love them but because they can be cathartic in the other emotions they can elicit. They can also make me look at other points of view that shed insight on things.

What I do love is newspapers. I generally read four different one on a weekend. Try my best to turn every page, scout online for other stuff local and farther afield and just expand my mind. No, I don't read every comic anymore. And no I don't read every story or column in every section. Try as I might, I just don't read humour columns no matter how gut bustingly funny people tell me they are. I like funny things but in life I don't really watch sit-coms or go to too many funny movies either. Why? I guess as we get more time pressed, it is harder to commit to a column, a show or a movie. You make choices.

I still don't really know how the newspaper industry works. I don't don't how the Free Press works in particular. I don't know who gets chosen to write a general interest column, what editorial direction or oversight is involved, how they measure success or failure or anything really. I often wish there were regular columns on papermaking. And by that I mean, how things get done and why.

Lindor Reynolds was a content producer for the paper. In addition to the general interest column, she wrote travel stories. It was always from a personal level and often her family was part of the story. In many cases, based on years of her stories, you knew when she was going to be on her high horse, when she was going to be starstruck and what type of column was about to appear.

There were some excellent columns, a lot of clunkers, journeymen work and plenty to annoy me. Yes, I said annoyed. Plenty of times I would read and say to myself: here we go again. That's fine. Some issues deserve repeating. I read the late Tom Oleson not because I agreed with him. He was a curmudgeon, held opinions that were wrongheaded and liked to poke the bear.  I read Fred Cleverly and Frances Russell because they would fight the good fight every week.

It is okay to be disagreeable. Don't need dittoheads everywhere you go.

If hundreds of people say they don't like you, it probably means they read you. You need thick skin to write. Not everyone will like you but it doesn't matter if it sells newspapers.

I often want newspapers to better. I do get annoyed at some for having some for having a wide canvas to paint on but only choosing one small corner of it or using only a select amount of colours. I have been told by some inside the field that it might be a strategy of that writer or a chosen editorial direction for that type of writing.

It is hard not to think that some writers in the Sun are also actors. My inference here is that they chose a role to play and then strike up the band. I don't think too many people would disagree that it can be theatre.

Lindor Reynolds will be dearly missed by many of her readers. It is a giant beast that needs to be fed this thing called newspapers. Her last column reminded that there are people who put these stories out. True to her style, she delivered a personal note of where any of us can be when we least expect it.

They say newspapers are going out of style. I certainly hope that isn't true. I am not as journalist but I always hope we have a world full of them even when they say things we disagree with or are annoyed by, especially so.


RighteousRadio said...

Should it be 'as she spends her last days'?

John Dobbin said...

Yes, made the correction. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant to use the verb 'elicit', not the adjective 'illicit'. Sorry, but that is one of those all-too-common errors that drives me batty.

Anonymous said...

Lindor Reynolds is one of my favorite when I read the Winnipeg Free Press. Her writing seemed to hit home with me. Her sense of humor was amazing! Compassionate and caring as well. Funny, I remembered her this morning, I haven't been reading the newspaper lately. I wonder why?