Fabian Dawson’s acceptance speech at the Awards Ceremony

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

Wow…Thank You…This is simply amazing.

I am now officially nervous so first things first…that T Shirt you saw on the video will be on sale in the lobby after dinner.

Good evening everyone and thank you for this honour, members of the Jack Webster Foundation Board.

It is indeed a privilege to be called to stand alongside some of the greatest names in BC journalism.

Speeches like this always reminds me of babies…easy to conceive but hard to deliver. So, please bear with me.

I am here today because of so many of you and topping that list is my soon to be 90-year young mum at Table 8.

When I was a wayward teen in Malaysia, doing all and sundry…more of the sundry…my mum saw an ad for reporters in the New Straits Times.

She promptly applied for the job, filled in the forms and sat for the English aptitude test – claiming to be her son.

Shortly later, coming home after planting grass in a field which paid $3 a day, I saw a car emblazoned with the words New Straits Times parked outside the house. A guy handed me an envelope and told me to report for work at the local office as a stringer.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was the advent of this accidental journalist.

The rest lies somewhere between mystery, history and a whole lot of breweries.

Thank you Mum. Love you. This award is for you.

On Table 8 is Anne the mother of our two children Deborah and Joshua, our pride and joy. Thank you for your love and supports and I am so proud of what you kids have both achieved in your young lives.

My siblings and their families, especially my sister Geraldine and her husband David, who are here. Thank you, for all you do and your encouragement.

To be a good journalist, you need a good editor And I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the best.

Wayne Moriarty and Ros Guggi – the best tag team at The Province, Michael Cooke, who went on to lead some of the biggest newspapers in North America, Malcolm Kirk, the president of CP  and Frankie D’ Cruz who I started my journey with in Malaysia…they were some of those who helped nourish my career. I salute all of you as I would not be here without your guidance and most importantly your expense accounts.

Among the first people I met when I came to Canada, back in 88, was Harbinder Singh Sewak who is also at Table 8. You may recognise him as the Turban Cowboy…together we have been partners in The Post group of ethnic papers for over two decades…thank you Bro…it continues to be a great ride

I grew up in Canada with The Province and to all my colleagues there, and those who have left us…I miss you all terribly.

I have also been fortunate to have a rolodex of friends and contacts who have helped shape my career. One of them is Pat McParland, a forensic accountant who passed away recently…this gentle giant was never far from what I did both at work and play. I wish you were here Pat.

To Sam Hirji who introduced me to the world of the Aga Khan. Kim Marsh to the world of RCMP undercover operations. And Samantha McLeod, the strongest woman I have ever known. Thank you all for your support and friendship.

For journalists, Lifetime Achievement Awards like the Hutch are about what you contribute, not so much about what you have achieved.

I have always believed that the power of the press must benefit the oppressed.

So, to those out there building your careers in journalism, I hope you will use your skills to highlight courage and creativity and not just conflict or crises.

I hope you will use it to showcase triumph over adversity.

And that you will use it more often to uncover the news rather than just cover the news.

Because, ultimately, good journalism is not just about telling stories…it is about being the catalyst for change.

Thank you all and have a great night.

Video, courtesy of Jelly Digital Marketing and PR

Here’s another cool guy to read about, Meet Mr. NordicLights, he changed the way we eat taramasalata.

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