Bob Cox was named publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press in November 2007. He joined the newspaper as editor in May 2005.
“Rejoined” is a better word for it, because Bob first worked at the newspaper as a reporter in January 1984. He covered crime and courts for three years before getting restless and moving on to other journalism jobs.
Since then, his career has spanned four provinces and five cities. Highlights include working in Ottawa for the Canadian Press covering Prime Minister Jean Chrétien during his first term in office, and five years at the Globe and Mail in Toronto, first as national editor and later as night editor.
Bob grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario, but has spent most of his adult life in Western Canada in Winnipeg, Regina and Edmonton.
Recent articles of Bob Cox
I once watched a colleague stand up in a newsroom on his last day of work and address his soon-to-be-former co-workers.
He imparted his decades of wisdom and told them how they should do their jobs and what principles they should uphold while he was enjoying retirement. Listening to him I made a solemn vow: never tell people what to do if they’re staying and you’re going.
So, I won’t. I am leaving my post as publisher. Rather than preaching, I’ll leave you with a story — the core of all good journalism.
Actually, I have two stories. Both are about coming to the Winnipeg Free Press, once as a reporter and once as a senior manager. Both stories start with me asleep.
To improve road safety around Winnipeg and Manitoba, here’s an idea that we can steal — relentless, transparent, automated enforcement of speed limits through the use of permanently installed roadside cameras.
Yes, it will make opponents of photo enforcement scream. But it works.
I encountered it on a recent trip to Sweden. Over and over again on highways, I saw the same sequence. First came a sign outlining the speed limit. Beside it was a sign with a camera on it. Then, about 100 metres later, a real camera was posted on the roadside.
Drivers approach with the certainty that they will be photographed and fined if they are over the limit. There are no tricks to it, no hiding to try and catch people unaware, and a chance to slow down if you happen to be going too fast. There are thousands of these speed cameras along Swedish roads, and their omnipresence keeps the vast majority of drivers at or under the speed limit.
Journalists know one thing for certain — readers can handle the truth.
The first principle of journalism is to seek truth and report it — to put the facts into the hands of people, so they know what is really going on.
That is why News Media Canada, which represents daily and community newspapers across the country, has adopted a new slogan: Champion the Truth. It’s a reminder to everyone of the core goal of journalism.
Seeking the truth has never been more important, as Canadians cope with an enduring pandemic that is affecting every aspect of our lives. To get the information they need, Canadians have turned to sources they trust. More than half say they have relied on local, national and international news outlets as a main source of information about COVID-19.
The just-published book American Manifesto: Saving Democracy from Villains, Vandals, and Ourselves has a list of actions for people to take to tackle the crisis in democracy in the United States.
No. 1 on the list: “Subscribe to your local newspaper.”
Author Bob Garfield, a Washington-based commentator on media, says the dwindling resources available for serious news gathering have neutered the ability of media to be watchdogs and inform the public.
“Don’t starve the watchdogs,” writes Garfield. “Nourish them.”