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Barbara Frum: Lone woman among men

The sudden death of Barbara Frum on March 26, 1992 shocked Canadians. The loss of one of the country's most respected broadcasters at the age of 54 reverberated across living rooms of the nation. The courage and tenacity she showed in her very private 18 year battle with leukemia was reflected in her tough, pioneering interview style on CBC Radio's As it Happens and later on CBC Television's The Journal. Whether she was talking to Nelson Mandela, Harold Ballard or the grower of the world's biggest cabbage, Frum's unrelenting curiosity, her fearless search for the truth, and her empathy and humour made her one of Canada's most important broadcasters.

In this episode of The Way It Is, Barbara Frum discusses the limitations of the television camera in getting to the heart of a story. Despite being the only woman on the panel, Frum holds her own. It foreshadows the tough, fearless journalist she would later become.
Frum is unfulfilled by her television work. During her time at The Way It Is, she fights unsuccessfully against doing what she dubs "friendlier" interviews.

When CBC management demotes her from being a host to a reporter, Frum calls it quits. Her resignation makes front-page news in the Toronto Star and the Telegram.
. In 1968 Barbara Frum was named the best new interviewer by the Toronto Star but her show The Way It Is was deemed the worst public affairs series.
. The Way It Is was created in 1968 to replace the abrupt cancellation of the popular but controversial CBC current affairs program This Hour Has Seven Days.
. Three of the original seven hosts — Moses Znaimer, Patrick Watson and Barbara Frum — would become giants in Canadian broadcasting.
Medium: Television
Program: The Way It Is
Broadcast Date: June 29, 1969
Guest(s): Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Host: Warren Davis, Barbara Frum, Ken Lefolii, John Saywell, Patrick Watson, Moses Znaimer
Duration: 1:35

Last updated: July 31, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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