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
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
A native of Montreal, Bryan spent his formative years in Red Rock, Ont.
He worked in Toronto-area newspapers for 10 years, primarily as a
Managing Editor before joining the Canadian Daily Newspaper Association
(now Newspapers Canada) in 1981 as Director of Editorial Services.
When the association merged with an association of weekly and community
papers, Bryan was given added responsibilities as Vice-President in
charge of all services to members - editorial, circulation and
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
After retirement, Bryan remained at the helm of the NNAs, which he had
set out to freshen and expand upon his 1989 appointment as Secretary to
the awards program. Bryan was adamant that the awards should be truly
national. He encouraged greater participation and devoted considerable
effort to finding judges with talent, experience and passion for great
"His great legacy was felt whenever journalists sought Bryan out to
thank him for encouraging them to hone their skills and bring their
best effort to the duty of telling the important stories," says Stuart
Robertson, a media lawyer who also serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the
NNAs. "His focus on and regard for journalistic excellence was
In recent years, Bryan helped oversee a number of important changes to
the NNAs that opened the competition to online publications as well as
He also 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 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
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
Bryan, who was 67, is survived by his wife, Eleanor, his parents, three
siblings and their spouses, and five nieces and nephews.
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
SOURCE: National Newspaper Awards
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