John Fraser (journalist)

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For other people of the same name, see John Fraser.
John Fraser
Born John Anderson Fraser
(1944-06-05) June 5, 1944 (age 70)
Montreal, Quebec
Occupation Journalist
Awards Order of Canada

John Anderson Fraser, CM (born June 5, 1944), is a Canadian journalist, writer and academic. He served as Master of Massey College of the University of Toronto from 1995 until his retirement in June 2014.

As a journalist, Fraser received multiple national awards and chaired the Canadian Journalism Foundation until 2008. He teaches a course on Canadian newspaper history at St. Michael's College, University of Toronto.[1][2]

Education[edit]

During his teenage years, Fraser attended four high schools: Toronto's Upper Canada College, Oakwood Collegiate Institute, Lakefield College School in Lakefield, Ontario, and Jarvis Collegiate Institute. A classmate of his at Upper Canada College was Conrad Black who, years later, was his employer when Fraser was editor of Saturday Night magazine.[3] He subsequently received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University and a Master of Arts[4] degree from the University of East Anglia.

Career[edit]

Journalism[edit]

At 16, Fraser started summer work as a copy boy and junior reporter at the Toronto Telegram[5] and in following summers worked as a journalist at the Sherbrooke Daily Record and the St. John's Evening Telegram. In 1971, he was named music and dance critic for the Toronto Telegram and, after that newspaper's demise was briefly in the same position at the Toronto Sun. He has also written regular columns for the Toronto Star and the National Post.[6] From 1972 to 1987, he was a dance critic, theatre critic, China correspondent, Ottawa bureau chief, national columnist, national editor and London correspondent at The Globe and Mail.[4] From 1987 to 1994, he was the editor of Saturday Night magazine[7] where he pioneered the use of mixed circulation with inserted copies in The Globe and Mail and other newspapers in the old Southam Newspaper Group across Canada, with circulation increasing from 115,000 to 400,000.[8] He also began a "Saturday Night" imprint of books with the publishers HarperCollins Ltd. that produced nearly two dozen titles in five years.

Fraser's journalism has been published in many leading international journals and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Time, The New Republic, George, The Spectator, Paris Match and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Twice during his reporting career he became the subject of international media attention: in 1974 when he was instrumental in the dramatic defection of ballet super star Mikhail Baryshnikov,[4] and in 1978 when he addressed tens of thousands of citizens in Beijing during the short-lived and brutally suppressed Xidan Democracy Wall movement during the Beijing Spring.[4]

Massey College[edit]

In 1995, Fraser was elected the master of Massey College and chair of its governing corporation to a seven-year term and was subsequently re-elected to two further seven-year terms. Among his achievements at Massey have been a $3.5-million renovation to the Robertson Davies Library, St. Catherine's Chapel and handicap access to the college. Other achievements include increasing its endowment to approximately $12,000,000 ($7,577,184 in the college's 2005 tax return and $4,000,000 held for student bursaries at the U of T's School of Graduate Studies). Other achievements include tripling the number of senior fellows and increasing the number of non-resident junior fellows; creating bursary support to non-resident junior fellows; pioneering academic support programs for "Writers in Exile" and "Scholars at Risk"; and establishing the Quadrangle Society in 1997 which extended the college's mandate to be a bridge community between "town and gown". The Quadrangle Society originally started with 99 (one fewer member than the Junior Fellowship at the suggestion of the then don of hall, Marc Ozon), and has now expanded to over 200. He has taught university courses at York University (drama criticism) and the University of Toronto (Canadian culture, and currently the history of Canadian newspapers).

Awards[edit]

Fraser has received honorary degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland (D.Litt.), University of King's College in Halifax, Nova Scotia (D.C.L.), and York University in Toronto (LL.D.). He has received medals from the Queen (Silver Jubilee, 1977; Golden Jubilee, 2002; Diamond Jubilee 2012) and also the 1967 Centennial medal. In journalism, he has won three National Newspaper Awards, seven National Magazine Awards, and "Editor of the Year" from the Canadian Magazine Editors Society. His book, The Chinese: Portrait of a People was a Book-of-the-Month Club main choice in 1981 and was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award in non-fiction. A book on the American Ballet Theatre and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Private View, was a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate choice in 1989 and won a Dance Magazine "book of the year" award. In 2001, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[4][9]

Personal life[edit]

Fraser is married to Elizabeth MacCallum,[10] and the couple have three daughters.[11] He is a committed Anglican, and has served as both a Sunday school teacher and as rector's warden at his church, St. Clement's-Eglinton in Toronto.[12] He is a monarchist.[13]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Kain and Augustyn, 1977
  • The Chinese: Portrait of a People, 1981[4]
  • Telling Tales, 1985
  • Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre, 1992[4]
  • Saturday Night Lives! Selected Diaries, 1995.
  • Stolen China (novel), 1996[14][15]
  • Eminent Canadians: Candid Tales of Then and Now, 2000[6]
  • Mad About the Bay (with Elizabeth MacCallum), 2004[10]
  • The Secret of the Crown: Canada's Affair with Royalty, 2012, House of Ansi Press, Toronto, ISBN 978-1-77089-035-0.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Fraser is armed for the cottage". Globe and Mail. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Fraser, John (Autumn 2006). "Great Profs". UofT Magazine. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Robison, Peter (18 November 2005). "Conrad Black, Student of Great Men, Lost Empire Built on Clout". Bloomberg. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Zhu, Helena (11 December 2009). "The Legendary Journey of John Fraser". The Epoch Times. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Fraser, John (Summer 2006). "Life Ever After". UofT Magazine. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Penny, Laura (1 May 2000). "Reality check (National Post media columnist publishes Eminent Canadians)". Toronto Life. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Mietkiewicz, Henry (17 July 1987). "John Fraser new Saturday Night editor". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Mietkiewicz, Henry (22 February 1994). "Editor leaving Saturday Night". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "Red Kelly among those named to Order of Canada". CTV Winnipeg. 14 January 2002. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Garwood-Jones, Alison (June 2004). "Mad About the Bay by John Fraser and Elizabeth MacCallum, William Harris, illus.". Quill & Quire. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Flavelle, Dana (1 February 2009). "Blasting off into space with Massey mementoes". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Contributors". Northern Lights: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Writing in Canada. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "Arms for the League Proclaimed at Toronto Ceremony February 6th". The Monarchist League of Canada. 4 May 2000. Retrieved 14 December 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ Harvey, Dona (28 December 2006). "Chinese puzzle: First-time novelist has great start and finish but a weak middle". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  15. ^ Wigston, Nancy (23 November 2006). "China novel covers wide territory". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 December 2009.