Bryan Cantley, head of National Newspaper Awards for three decades, dies at 66

TORONTO, June 26, 2013 /CNW/ - It is with sorrow that the National Newspaper Awards announces the death of Bryan Cantley, the organization's long-time Executive Secretary. 

Bryan has been a friend and colleague to countless Canadian journalists, from students and cub reporters to senior executives, for more than 30 years. 

Earlier this month, Bryan received one of Canada's highest awards for service to journalism, the Michener-Baxter Special Award, for "continued commitment and outstanding service to Canadian journalism and the newspaper industry." The award was presented by Governor-General David Johnston in Ottawa. 

"Bryan had a complete and total dedication to Canadian newspapers," said Scott White, Chair of the National Newspaper Awards Board of Governors. "He believed in news and the value it brought to a stronger democratic society. He saw tremendous changes in the newspaper industry during his career, but never lost sight of the need to strive for excellence in daily journalism." 

A native of Northwestern Ontario, Bryan worked in Toronto-area newspapers for 10 years, primarily as a Managing Editor. He joined the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association (now Newspapers Canada) in 1981 as Director of Editorial Services. When the CDNA and an association of weekly and community papers merged, Bryan was given added responsibilities as Vice-President in charge of all services to members - editorial, circulation and advertising. 

In 26 years with the organization, he had an enormous impact on Canadian journalism through training sessions he led and organized as well as his role as Executive Secretary of the National Newspaper Awards. Among his initiatives was the establishment in 1999 of the Canadian Association of Newspaper Editors, which replaced the Canadian Managing Editors Conference and expanded the latter's mandate to include editors at all levels. 

When Bryan retired in 2007, publishers and executives of the newspaper industry paid tribute to him at a luncheon during the annual Newspapers Canada conference. Clark Davey, who worked as Publisher of the Ottawa Citizen and Managing Editor of the Globe and Mail during a long and distinguished career, called Bryan "a great and giving repository of institutional memory about the black art we call journalism," and added, "Where will we ever find his like again?" Several other speakers spoke of Bryan as a valuable mentor.  

A lifelong fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Bryan was presented that day with a cartoon by legendary Montreal Gazette cartoonist Aislin. It depicted Bryan ripping open his suit and shirt to reveal a Canadiens sweater underneath. 

After retirement, Bryan remained at the helm of the NNAs, which he had served as Executive Secretary since the early 1980s. He helped oversee a number of important changes that opened the competition to online publications as well as newspapers.  

He served as Executive Director of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, helping to promote journalism training in the neediest countries of the Commonwealth, until he retired from that role last year. He also worked with the Canadian sector of the International Press Institute and as administrator for the Hon. Edward Goff Penny Awards for Young Journalists. 

A 1969 graduate of Ryerson University, Bryan was a founding member and treasurer of the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association. He also was the organizer and primary impetus behind Wordstock, a popular journalism training workshop. He received a Ryerson Alumni Achievement Award in 2007. 

Bryan was diagnosed in May with pancreatic cancer. He was unable to attend this year's National Newspaper Awards gala in Ottawa, but his guidance, based on his experience overseeing the competition for three decades, helped ensure another successful event celebrating the best of Canadian journalism. 

Bryan, who was 66, is survived by his wife, Eleanor.  

Visitation will be held Thursday, June 27, from 6 to 9 p.m.  

A funeral service will be held Friday, June 28, at 1 p.m. 

Both are taking place at: 

Turner & Porter Funeral Home 
Neweduk-Erin Mills Chapel 
1981 Dundas Street West 
Mississauga, Ont. 
L5K 1R2 
Tel: 905-828-8000 

SOURCE: National Newspaper Awards

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