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Letter: One of my favourite Newfoundland journalists

['Letter to the editor']
['Letter to the editor']

Dear editor: Readers may be familiar with the widely divergent figure of Ed Finn.

Mr. Finn made quite a name for himself in local journalism in the 1940s and 1950s. He began working with The Western Star in 1942 when he was only 17.

He continued to write for this paper until 1959, except for two years with the Montreal Gazette. (Why he didn't stay with the mainland paper is not clear, since he must have been making twice the money there that he was earning locally).

For many years, Finn wrote a column called "Minority Report," which I enjoyed so much that I clipped a number of them to re-read several times, much the same as I did with numerous sports stories from The Star.

Three of Finn's columns I particularly remember were about President Dwight Eisenhower, whom Finn liked because of the measurably greater benevolence and fair-mindedness that Eisenhower possessed compared to many other presidents of the U.S.

Another of my favourites of these columns dealt with local baseball being a sweet harbinger of spring and summer.

Then there was a column with an odd theme: the aesthetic nature of sports scores. I recall that Finn referred to the score of 4-2 as "completely colourless," and I believe he liked better the scores of 3-1 and 2-0.

Ed Finn's life was changed permanently by the fiercely combative IWA strike of 1959. He is quoted as saying that "this was such a heated and emotionally charged issue, that journalistic objectivity was simply not tolerated. You were either unreservedly for the government's side, or you sided philosophically with a mainland gang of thugs, which is how the IWA members were unfairly depicted."

At some point in early 1959, Finn claimed reporters for The Western Star were ordered to print only the government's input into this strike (which ultimately claimed the life of an RCMP officer). Finn and another staff writer by the name of Alex Powell resigned from the paper.

Early in 1960, Finn and several of his colleagues decided to start their own newspaper, called "The Examiner," which was devoted exclusively to uncovering corruption and fraud in Newfoundland government.

However, the paper drowned in a sea of red ink after only one year, being able to attract only scant advertising.

Ed Finn ran for political office at least once, and I recall — rather interestingly — during his campaign he referred to himself as "fairly intelligent."

I think that he was exceptionally intelligent, and he just didn't want to seem excessively or unacceptably elitist in his speeches.

Mr. Finn is now about 91 years old. He lives in Ottawa and is still involved in politics and related matters to some degree, I understand.

In any event, he remains one of my favourite Newfoundland journalists.

Lloyd Bonnell, Corner Brook

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