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About Jim Travers

Jim Travers’ life began in Hamilton, Ont. in 1948 and over the next six decades took him around the world and to the heights of Canadian journalism.

An arts graduate from the University of Guelph, Travers began his career as a reporter with the Oakville Daily Journal Record and then moved to the Hamilton Spectator, where he exposed widespread municipal corruption.

In 1978 he joined Southam News, sharing an office in Toronto with the legendary sports columnist Jim Coleman who provided him with a wealth of anecdotes. A brief stint covering Parliament in the Southam Ottawa office was quickly followed in 1982 by a three-year posting to Harare, Zimbabwe.

With a combination of extraordinary writing, deep compassion for people and rock-solid convictions about fairness, he distinguished himself as a foreign correspondent for Southam in Africa and subsequently the Middle East. Returning to Ottawa in 1988, he directed the foreign coverage of Southam News, which led Canadian print media in the number of full-time resident correspondents overseas, and then took over as the general manager.

Back-to-back stints followed as the chief editor of two major Canadian dailies — the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Star. After five years directing the Citizen in crusading coverage, he resigned in 1996 in a disagreement over editorial independence with Conrad Black, whose Hollinger Corp. had bought Southam.

In 1997 Travers became executive managing editor of the Toronto Star, the top position in the news room. After two years he returned to his first love, writing, and spent the last decade of his life as a highly-regarded national political-affairs columnist and commentator for the Star, based in Ottawa.

Travers’ professionalism was recognized by a string of journalistic awards — in 2003 the Hy Solomon Award for excellence in public policy journalism, in 2005 the Charles Lynch Award from the National Press Club, and last year a National Newspaper Award for political writing.

Along much of this remarkable path, Jim was joined by his beloved wife, Joan, and their two sons, Patrick and Ben. He was as devoted to his family as he was to the principles of his journalistic career and through it all, accumulated an ever-widening circle of close friends and respectful admirers.His boisterous, even raucous presence meant a life lived large and joyfully, with a healthy appreciation of bicycling, fine cars, travel, literature and even cooking. A man of huge heart, Jim Travers left us too soon on March 3, 2011.