Young writers on old writers

Alan Hustak

Alan Hustak. He doesn't always wear a top hat.

Two articles were posted on a bulletin board at work recently, one from each of Concordia’s two student newspapers, and both profiling old people veteran Gazette journalists.

The Link talks to Alan Hustak, who until March was a reporter for the city section whose specialty was obituaries. The article says he “retired”, though the true nature of Hustak’s sudden departure from the newspaper remains a mystery even to his colleagues.

The article discusses the state of newspaper obituaries today, which are sadly lacking, at least in quantity. Most newspapers block off whole pages for paid obituaries, and the space that’s left unfilled by paid notices is given to editorial to fill with narrative obituaries. But because there is more space available than fascinating obituaries to fill it – even in this world of super-tight editorial space – newspapers tend to scrape the bottom of the barrel, taking obits from the New York Times, Washington Post or Los Angeles Times about obscure scientists and artists whose claims to fame are arguable at best.

Since leaving The Gazette, Hustak has been writing for The Métropolitain (you can read his obituary for Len Dobbin) as well as putting together obits for the Globe and Mail (like this one for former VIA Rail chairman Lawrence Hannigan).

Generations apart

Next to the Link article on Hustak was this one from The Concordian, about Red Fisher. Little you don’t already know about Fisher from other writings on the topic, though he talks a bit about how players don’t make good quotes anymore (those that do are quickly punished for it) and how the media is too concerned with sports stars’ personal lives (one can imagine Fisher’s thoughts on the whole Tiger Woods saga).

He also says younger journalists should get off his lawn be careful about too much reliance on the Internet, and all the false information spread that way (by the way, did you hear about the latest rumour with Carey Price, Maxim Lapierre and Vincent Lecavalier?).

The most interesting part of the article, to me, is a mistake in it, that unintentionally explains so well the generational gap in play here:

The first woman he ever saw in a team’s dressing room was The New York Times’ first female sports reporter, Robin Herman, in the 1970’s. After an All-Star game at the Pepsi Forum that night, Fisher recalled, Herman and another female journalist from a French radio station boldly decided they were going down to the team’s dressing room.

I’m pretty sure Red Fisher has never seen an All-Star game from the Pepsi Forum.

2 thoughts on “Young writers on old writers

  1. David Pinto

    This is what Alan Hustak posted to me last August.

    I doodle for the met, write for the globe and mail, tick away at four commissioned books, work on a film script, and otherwise am enjoying what they call retirement…

    Reply

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