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Anchorman Bill Cameron on the movie Network

The new movie Network -- a biting satire on the TV news business -- is making a big splash with the public. As an anchor for Global TV, broadcaster Bill Cameron gives a tongue-in-cheek personal take on what Network has done to sully the reputation of his profession.
• Bill Cameron was born in Vancouver in January 1943. He moved east at the age of 12, attending high school in Ottawa and then studying English at the University of Toronto.

• He left U of T to become an actor, but with little success. After four years as a struggling thespian, Cameron changed career paths. He began his broadcasting career in the mid-1960s as a freelancer for CBC Radio. He also started writing articles for the Toronto Star and Maclean's magazine.

• In 1973, Cameron was named chief news writer for Global TV news in Toronto. He soon became anchor/commentator for a weekly news review program called Global Newsweek. He loved that job because it gave him the freedom to be himself. "What other current events program allows its host to break into pidgin German in order to spoof Johann Sebastian Bach?" he asked in a 1977 Toronto Star article, referring to a recent parody he had done on the show.

• In 1978, Cameron left Global to become the anchor/commentator for the 10 p.m. news on Toronto's Citytv. There he developed a reputation for "his terrific erudition, his weight as a journalist," said City president Moses Znaimer in a 1980 Starweek article.

• That Starweek article was written by Cheryl Hawkes. Interestingly, Cameron married Hawkes four months after she interviewed him for the 1980 article. The article appeared in StarWeek on December 20, 1980, their wedding day. The couple had three children: Patrick, Rachel and Nicholas.

• Cameron was dropped as City's anchor in 1983. He believed his serious and straightforward news delivery style led to his dismissal. "They think I was a little too stuffy," he said in a 1983 Toronto Star article. He explained that City was leaning toward a more casual, "disco" style of news. "It was a clash of attitude over what news ought to be," he said.

• Cameron moved to the CBC in 1983 to become a documentary reporter/producer for The Journal. He thrived at The Journal from 1983 until 1992, winning frequent praise for his in-depth, hard-hitting pieces.
• In 1992, Cameron began hosting CBC at Six, the CBC regional news for southern Ontario. He moved on to anchor CBC Newsworld's CBC Morning News in 1995, broadcast from Halifax. In 1998 he became host of Newsworld's Sunday Report.

• Cameron left the CBC in 1999, citing frustration that he couldn't do the kind of journalism he wanted to do anymore. "You have to spend money to get the great stories... and, because of the cuts, I think it's fair to say the CBC's more interested in sure things than in taking risks," he said in a 1999 Toronto Star article.

• Shortly after leaving the CBC, he became vice-president of communications for American Gem Corp. (later called Digital Gem), a sapphire marketer that was moving into the Internet e-commerce and brokerage business. Most of his fellow journalists were very surprised. Cameron simply explained that he was looking for new challenges.
• By May 2000 he had left Digital Gem, realizing that he wasn't meant to be a spokesperson. He returned to journalism on a freelance basis.

• Throughout his career, Cameron frequently branched out from journalism. He always kept his hand in the theatre world, writing plays and acting in local productions.
• In the early 1970s, he served on the Senate Committee on Poverty. He was actually one of four men who quit the committee because they felt they weren't allowed to report the true causes of poverty. The four branched off and published their own report on poverty in 1971.

• In 2003, Cameron published his first novel, Cat's Crossing. The book revolved around a runaway black cat named Jones with a $2-million reward on its head, and a manipulative TV reporter trying to use Jones's story to advance his career. The book was a satire of television journalism. "I know the field, so if I am going to poke fun at something I am going to poke fun at something that includes myself," he said in a 2003 National Post article.

• Cameron died of cancer of the esophagus in March 2006.

Medium: Radio
Program: Eric Friesen Show
Broadcast Date: Jan. 17, 1977
Commentator: Bill Cameron
Duration: 5:11

Last updated: March 21, 2012

Page consulted on December 5, 2013

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