Michael Kesterton

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Michael Kesterton (born 1946) is a columnist with The Globe and Mail. Since 1990, his weekday column, "Social Studies", has been running on the back page of the Life section. The final appearance of the column was 1 July 2013.

Early life[edit]

Kesterton’s father was a professional photographer and trade publication writer and his mother was a real estate agent. The person he credits with inspiring his career in journalism was his uncle, Wilf Kesterton, a journalism professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.[1]

He attended the University of Toronto, where he studied mathematics, physics and psychology. He did not study journalism, but he did work on the student newspaper, The Varsity.[1]


In 1969, Kesterton began working at The Globe and Mail as a proofreader. After seven years he moved to the computer room. He was there for two years before being promoted to a copy editor for newspaper's business section, Report on Business. He worked briefly as a Business feature writer and Technology section editor.[1]

In 1990, the Globe underwent a major transformation. Then Editor-in-chief, William Thorsell personally selected Kesteron to create a column consisting of short, often unusual pieces for the back page of the A section. It was to be called Social Studies and would be carry a "strong interest agenda". On May 21, 1990, Kesterton started compiling stories for his new column. The redesign was launched on June 12, 1990 and his column became an instant success.[1]

Unlike most journalists, Kesteron does not do interviews or any original research. All of his stories have been pulled from other sources, which he diligently cites. He regularly combs through 120 websites, newspaper and library archives to find 5 or 6 stories for each day's column. The column is tagged as "a daily miscellany of information."[2]

“There are hundreds of reporters who can do a better job at [news stories] than I ever could… The light-hearted hack work that I am doing isn't hugely important and will never win journalism awards, but I'm better at it than anyone I know and readers often love the columns and tell me so. There are worse ways to earn a living.” – Michael Kesterton [1]

In 1996, Kesterton’s book Social Studies was published. His second book, The Twelve Best Months of the Year, was published in 1998.[2]

In 2007, Kesterton completed writing a novel set in 1925 Africa. Its publication date is unknown.[1]

Kesterton lives in the west end of Toronto.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ryerson Review of Journalism- Social Studies 101, retrieved on May 30, 2007
  2. ^ a b Random House Summary- The Twelve Best Months of the Year, retrieved on May 30, 2007

External links[edit]