ENRIGHT firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-10 published
The Globe was his church'
The editor-in-chief was mentor to journalists, defender of social policies, respected by those criticized in print, and described as a man with a 'warm human touch'
By Michael VALPY Thursday, April 10, 2003 - Page R11
In his two decades as editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail, former senator Richard (Dic) James DOYLE wielded a journalistic influence in Canadian public life matched only by that of George BROWN, the newspaper's founder.
He died yesterday in Toronto, one month past his 80th birthday. His wife of 50 years, Florence, passed away on March 20.
Senator DOYLE -- editor from 1963 to 1983 -- gave the newspaper a boldly independent voice, loosening up its then lock-step support for the Progressive Conservative Party.
Under his direction, the newspaper would praise a government one day and lambaste it the next. He was a passionate defender of civil liberties, intensely engaged in the development of Canada's social policies throughout the 1960s and 1970s and as much concerned with the powerless in Canadian society as the powerful.
"In the time I've been editor," he once said, "we've not supported any party in office. I think we make whomever we support uncomfortable. We're the kind of friend you could do without."
He once said he felt more intellectually comfortable with Pierre TRUDEAU than all the prime ministers he knew, and one of his favourite editorial cartoons was one he suggested after overhearing his daughter Judith talking to a friend in her bedroom. It showed two teenage girls sitting on a bed under a poster of Mr. TRUDEAU. One girl says to the other: "He's not 50 like your father's 50."
His views, although stamped on the editorial page, were never imposed on his reporters. He was concerned with a story's news value -- not the fallout -- and he expected his staff to act with the same concern.
He wanted The Globe to be a writer's newspaper and gave his writers autonomy, even when their views went against his own philosophies. He had a special place in his heart for columnists who expressed contradictory opinions.
The young writers invited to attend the buffet lunches he gave regularly for prime ministers, premiers and cabinet ministers, bank presidents and giants of the arts were treated to superb tutorials in the life of their nation that left an indelible mark on their minds.
Warm, funny, theatrical and gregarious, he was a mentor and model for many of Canada's best-known journalists -- among them, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Michael ENRIGHT and Don NEWMAN, former Globe and Maclean's managing editor Geoffrey STEVENS, his successor as Globe editor Norman WEBSTER, and former foreign correspondent, dance critic and now master of the University of Toronto's Massey College, John FRASER.
"He was absolutely fearless," Mr. STEVENS said yesterday. "He did tough stuff. He did important stuff. And he refused to bow to pressure from business, from politicians and for that matter from journalists. I didn't always agree with him, but I always, always respected what he said."
Mr. FRASER said: "He was an editor who made young journalists' dreams come true. Like many who came under his spell at The Globe and Mail, I will go to my grave grateful for the horizons he opened up to me."
George BAIN, for years The Globe's Ottawa columnist, recalled the only time Senator DOYLE actually complained about something Mr. BAIN had written was when he filed an end-piece to a royal tour and suggested that the institution wasn't appropriate to the Canadian circumstances.
"Dic, as a devoted monarchist, was moved to say, 'Did you have to?' The fact is I felt I did -- and he, despite strong feelings, didn't say, 'You can't.' "
When Prime Minister Brian MULRONEY appointed him to the Senate in 1985, he decided to sit as a Conservative out of courtesy.
Mr. MULRONEY described him yesterday as "a marvellous man, rigorous, thoughtful, with a disciplined approach to life and a very warm human touch to everything he did.
"When he cut people up, including me, there was no malice to it, no ad hominem attack, he was never bitter or partisan in any way.'The full impact of Senator DOYLE's presence as editor was probably first felt by The Globe's readers on March 20, 1964, when a front-page editorial appeared under the heading, Bill of Wrongs.
It was prompted by legislation proposed by Ontario's Conservative attorney-general, Frederick CASS, which empowered the Ontario Police Commission to summon any person for questioning in secret deprive him of legal advice; and keep him in prison indefinitely if he refused to answer.
"For the public good," the editorial stated, the Ontario Government "proposes to trample upon the Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Rule of Law.
"Are we in... the Canada of 1964 -- or in the Germany of 1934?
"This legislation is supposed to be directed against organized crime. In fact, it is directed against every man and woman in the province."
Soon after, Mr. CASS resigned.
Senator DOYLE's skills as a writer were particularly evident on an election night when the paper would present an editorial on the results between editions. Alastair LAWRIE, now retired as an editorial writer, recalled that once the results were known, Senator DOYLE would stand in silent thought for maybe a minute and a half and then start to dictate. In a matter of a few minutes, he would complete a reasoned editorial that scarcely required the addition of a comma.
Senator DOYLE preferred to work in anonymity, only accepting honorary degrees and later the seat in the Senate near the end of his newspaper career.
He sat on no boards, belonged to no important clubs, almost never appeared on television or radio, didn't sign petitions and seldom gave speeches. When he met a politician, there were usually witnesses.
He didn't hold a driver's licence and for years arrived at the old Globe office on King Street by streetcar. When The Globe moved to its present office on Front Street, Senator DOYLE took a taxi.
Retired Ottawa Citizen publisher Clark DAVEY, a former managing editor of The Globe and a close friend of Senator DOYLE, suspected "he didn't trust his Irish temper [to drive] and that was probably to the common good."
Mr. DAVEY said Senator DOYLE's low public profile "was part of his own protection against conflicts on his own part. The Globe was his church. Journalism was his religion.
"I think that Dic, in the context of his time, probably had a greater influence on Canadian journalism than any other single individual," Mr. DAVEY said.
"It was Dic's execution that made the Report on Business what it became and is. He was the moving force from within The Globe often unseen -- in the whole question of conflicts of interest as they affected journalists.
"He was really the wellspring of that kind of thinking and, of course, what The Globe did affected very directly what a lot of other organizations did."
Born in Toronto on March 10, 1923, Dic DOYLE seemed destined to get ink on his hands. He said in 1985 that he had decided on a newspaper career at age 7 and joined the Chatham Daily News as a sports reporter after he graduated from Chatham Collegiate Institute. He was promoted to sports editor, city editor and then news editor.
During the Second World War, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served with the 115 (Bomber) Squadron (Royal Air Force) at Ely, near Cambridge in England. He was discharged at the end of the war with the rank of flying officer.
He was 23 and felt that life was passing him by, so rather than attending university, as other returning air-force officers were doing, he returned to the Chatham paper. It was a decision he said he later regretted.
He came to The Globe in 1951, initially as a copy editor, the only job available. His first byline appeared in The Globe in December of 1952 over a story about milk bottles.
In the same year, he also wrote a book called The Royal Story, a labour of love that proved to be a standard treatment of the monarchy, and which he was the first to acknowledge, replowed already well-tilled soil.
(The Royal family had a special status at The Globe under Senator DOYLE. One former senior editor, the legendary Martin LYNCH, told of being taken off the front-page layout after he replaced a picture of Princess Margaret, which appeared in early editions, with a photograph of a prize-winning pig.
When The Globe decided to publish a weekly supplement in 1957, Senator DOYLE became its first editor, with a staff that had no experience in the weekly field. The paper was laid out on the carpet of the managing editor's office after he had gone home.
It shrunk over the years because, Mr. DOYLE said, it was ahead of its time. It died in 1971.
From there, in 1959, he became managing editor of the newspaper and then editor in 1963. He stepped aside in 1983 to take on the role of editor emeritus and to write a column -- an experience, he said two years later, that left him chastened. "The guy [columnist] out there has his problems."
Former Globe publisher A. Roy MEGARRY, said, "In my opinion, no one -- including the seven publishers that Dic has served with during his time at the paper -- had made a more positive and lasting impression on The Globe than he has."
Likely among the greatest tributes paid to him as an editor came from the Kent Commission established by the federal government in 1980 to investigate the ownership of Canada's daily newspapers after the Ottawa Journal and the Winnipeg Tribune folded in virtually simultaneous moves by the Thomson and Southam chains.
In its report, the commission credited Senator DOYLE with "adhering to an ideal of press freedom that often tends to get lost in the management of newspapers....
"To a great extent, the editor-in-chief of The Globe belongs to a breed which unfortunately is on its way to extinction.
"The Globe and Mail testifies to the influence that continues to be exerted by a newspaper with a clearly defined idea of its role and substantial editorial resources. It is read by almost three-quarters of the country's most important decision-makers in all parts of Canada and at all levels of government. More than 90 per cent of media executives read it regularly and it tends to set the pace for other news organizations."
The Globe and Mail was bought by Thomson Newspapers in 1980. Senator DOYLE made no secret of the fact that he would have preferred having the newspaper bought by R. Howard Webster, who owned it before it became part of the Financial Post chain. However, in 1985 he said that Thomson was the best alternative among the others in the field.
When Prime Minister MULRONEY named him to the Senate, he became the first active Globe journalist to receive such an appointment since George BROWN in 1873. As an editor and a columnist, Senator DOYLE had often preached Senate reform and had opposed patronage appointments.
His acceptance prompted a flow of letters to the editor that favoured and disapproved of the appointment in about equal measure.Senator DOYLE is survived by his children Judith and Sean and his granddaughter Kaelan MYERSCOUGH. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
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