July 20, 2017

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Nick Martin

Education Reporter - City

Nick Martin is the bearded guy we keep hidden away at the back of the newsroom. He is now in his fourth decade working in daily newspapers.

The son of a working-class Geordie wartime RAF pilot and a Prince Edward Island war bride, Nick was born in Jarrow-on-Tyne just outside Newcastle, UK. The family moved to Canada in 1952 — you can blame Louis St. Laurent’s lax immigration policies — to Charlottetown, settling the next year in Toronto.

Nick went to Glendon College, the superior part of York University, graduating with a history degree, though he spent a lot of time at the student newspaper Pro Tem to the detriment of his studies. After doing Europe on $5 a day, Nick got a job at the Woodstock-Ingersoll Daily Sentinel-Review writing sports, later writing news in the Ingersoll bureau, before finishing up as city editor. Nick learned the business, which at the time consisted of being chewed-out all day while working 90-hour weeks without a penny of overtime.

He survived — barely — and hit the Big Time with the London Free Press, which assigned him for two years to the Perth County bureau in Stratford. Nick subsequently covered London city hall and in the early ’80s went to Queen’s Park to cover the Ontario legislature. That’s where Nick met a woman from Winnipeg doing her PhD at the University of Toronto. Child the Elder arrived in London in early 1988.

They agreed to live where both could find good jobs, which turned out to be Winnipeg, a move Nick has never regretted. Along came Child the Younger in 1991.

Nick has covered city hall and the diversity beat, and since 1997 has been our education reporter. He’s won two Manitoba Human Rights Commission journalism awards and a national award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers. His blog was nominated for a Canadian Online Publishing Award in 2014.

OK, so Nick remembers rotary phones and tiny black-and-white TVs with dials and rabbit ears — heck, he remembers the prehistoric days before TV, if your brain can even handle that — and he worked on a standard typewriter for many years, but the geezer tweets and blogs incessantly.

The kids went to Grant Park High School, where they excelled academically and athletically. Child the Elder is in his final semester of law school in Victoria, after four years at Trent University in Peterborough. That’s where Child the Younger is finishing up her undergraduate degree, both having spent their time at Trent as members of the Trent Excalibur volleyball team.

As a fan of Newcastle United, Nick is a proud member of the Toon Army and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

Outside of work, Nick follows a sedentary lifestyle: working out for a couple of hours several times a week at the Reh-Fit Centre, playing Leisure Guide volleyball, hiking and kayaking and snowshoeing with his wife at their Whiteshell cottage, and above all, refereeing indoor and outdoor soccer. Nick’s run 18 full marathons and umpteen shorter distance races and, despite the arthritis in his left knee, still enjoys running outdoors.

He and his wife have season tickets to both the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Warehouse, love a good movie and a good Masterpiece Mystery, and read voraciously. Nick is a huge Stephen King fan and was introduced to British detective fiction by his wife. He counts an interview with Ian Rankin as one of his favourites.

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