Tom Clark, we are going to miss you.

That has to be some kind of a make-up or lighting trick. How can Global Television’s Tom Clark look so young and yet admit to 40 years in broadcasting? When he announced his retirement on his New Year’s day West Block program, it came as a surprise.

But having been there for Tom’s remarkable career has always been a pleasure. His father, Joe Clark was a friend of ours. Joe was our predecessor as head of communications with the Ontario Liberals and proved to be an excellent mentor.

As a young reporter, Tom always had insight into the Liberal Party. In his lengthy career with John Bassett’s CFTO and the CTV network, Tom brought integrity and objectivity to the news. We can think back to one incident back in those early years where a fractious CBC news staff and CFTO news staff were fighting over first coverage of a story and we had to admire Tom’s ability to dance out of the way. He won both ways by staying free of the fray and getting the interview that the others were fighting over.

We can admit now that Tom was also an excellent choice as a trainer when we were teaching business people how to handle television interviews. Bringing in a guest journalist always gave the training authenticity and Tom was sympathetic to their problems and gave the business people good advice.

And few could blame him for walking out on CTV back when stalwart Lloyd Robertson retired and Tom was passed over for the promotion to lead anchor in favour of Lisa LaFlamme. Tom had travelled in too many war zones and the world’s trouble spots following the news to be set aside. His outstanding reporting from Washington alone had earned him the top spot.

Tom also did an excellent job with Global Television over the past seven years. His West Block show on Sunday was a must-watch. We should admit though that we never liked the Plane Talk episodes where he took politicians for a ride while the cameras rolled. Despite being ex-air force, we have never liked flying in anything smaller than a Boeing 747. The small plane proved distracting.

Tom Clark’s high-calibre brand of journalism will be missed.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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