Webster met Prime Ministers, Premiers and community leaders but he also had time to chat with plain folks, including unknown young people encountered in the lobby of the Georgia. That was where I first met the man, when he was near the height of his powers and had studios in the downtown hotel.
I’m convinced Webster would be disgusted by what passes for political journalism in BC today, particularly at the radio and TV locations where he last presided. Webster believed that journalists should stand up for the powerless, not the powerful. He thought they should ask tough questions and he had particular disdain for puffball interviews and evasive guests. Had one political group offered him a list of talking points or approved questions, he’d have screwed it up and thrown it back. Promptly. Webster once spent ten minutes trying to provide an elderly and confused caller with an address on Barber Greene Road in Don Mills Ontario but he wouldn’t have tolerated for a moment silly and self-interested guests like those regularly featured by Bill Good.
In the 2014 edition of the Webster Awards, the CBC is responsible for 40% of the stories chosen as finalists. No wonder private broadcasters and Harper Conservatives want the Mother Corp defanged and schooled in obedience.
Demonstrating how far the once mighty have fallen, CKNW and Global TV each had zero stories selected. Not surprising since the highly profitable Shaw organization terminates experienced and competent reporters so they can be replaced by inexpensive interns and newbies.