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Remembering Bob Carty

September 22nd, 2014

I had to leave Ottawa in 1997 because of Bob Carty.

We were sharing a small office on the top floor of the Chateau Laurier hotel, complete with gabled windows, where we both worked for the CBC Radio documentary program Sunday Morning.

After 4 years, Bob’s relentless accumulation of plaques and statues as winner of the major awards in broadcast journalism from around the world was filling the walls and bookshelves and one of us had to go. ┬áBob helped me pack for Washington.

(Has any other journalist at CBC ever won more of those awards?)

Bob was a very nice guy, with a very good heart and the sunniest view of an often-grim world that I ever met. And he saw a lot of the world over 30 years of reporting.

8 years later, in 2005, Bob helped me unpack my stuff in our office in Ottawa’s new Broadcast Centre

During those years in the US, I often called him and shared drinks to talk about American politics and culture because he had a deep understanding and feeling for how societies and power work and I always learned from our conversations

He was even friendly at 2 a.m. when my computer froze on a reporting trip in rural Maine and he was the only person I knew who could – and would – help me to be on air by 6 a.m. (Bob was one of the earliest explorers into the world of digital editing for radio at CBC and always eager to share his discoveries.)

We first met in the mid-80s at Sunday Morning and his laser-like focus on how ordinary people, anywhere, faced life’s challenges always amazed me. Chronicling the powerful was not for Bob.

He could turn anything into a compelling human story – the importance of good comprehensive health care for all, the banjo, a labour strike on the docks of Saint John, tobogganing, the banana blight in Central America, the theft of human genetic material for profit, the demise of the RCMP’s band ….

Welcomed into his home many times, we saw his devotion to his wife, Frances, and his love for his son Michael.

Bob was, to say it again, a very good man, generous and caring without limits, and an extraordinary journalist.

I will miss him.

 

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