Politics
Remembering One Of Canada’s Finest Journalists: R.I.P. Henry Champ
September 24, 2012
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Ask anyone who knew Henry Champ, and they'll tell you he was a great reporter and a wonderful guy.

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Funny, charming, and a mentor who would help anyone - whether you were a veteran of the news business or just cutting your teeth.

Henry was born in Hartney, Manitoba; went to Brandon College (now Brandon University) and started his career in 1960 as a print reporter with the Brandon Sun.

But he was probably best known for his time in television, as an investigative reporter and foreign correspondent for CBC, CTV and NBC News.

Henry covered the Vietnam War and was one of the last journalists to leave the country during the fall of Saigon in 1975. In fact, he helped the U.S. marines deal with the crowds of people trying to escape.

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Henry spent 15 years with CTV's investigative show W5 and served as CTV's Washington and London bureau chief. He also worked for NBC in Europe and Washington before joining the anchor team at CBC News: Morning in Halifax in 1993.

Eventually, he became the CBC Newsworld correspondent in Washington, before retiring in 2008. Shortly after that, he was diagnosed with lung cancer but he still wrote columns on American politics for cbc.ca.

Here's how some of Henry's long-time colleagues remember him.

Peter Mansbridge, chief correspondent CBC News - "Here's a guy who has covered some of the great stories of our generation and the generation before it... Everybody feels the same way about Henry. He was just a caring guy. He'd help you out no matter who he was working for. He was there to help you, to mentor you."

"He was your classic old-time journalist... For him the drive was to get to the story. To bring forward as much detail as you could to a public who was anxious to hear it. He was the real deal."

Craig Oliver, chief political correspondent CTV News - "He was a superb reporter. He was very aggressive and very brave... He enjoyed life. He drank the cup to the full. He really did. He was just a loveable character. He was a great guy and I'll always treasure our friendship."

Don Newman, former senior parliamentary editor CBC News - "He was quite generous in working with you and I can't think of anyone who didn't like Henry... Henry was a complete professional. He could come in early, he would stay late, he would always be prepared. He would always have another source."

Nancy Waugh, executive producer CBC Halifax - "Lovely, sweet, funny man. He could interview anyone. He never took himself too seriously."

Eric Sorensen, Washington bureau chief Global News - "He never complained. He was always in good humour. You would ask him, 'How are you?' and he would always say 'Can't complain' in such an uplifting way, he cheered you up."

Dan Leger worked with Henry as a producer at CBC News Morning in Halifax. He posted a great piece about Henry, entitled 'The Champster.' You can read that here.

In 2005, Henry was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree from Brandon University. Three years later, he was appointed chancellor and was re-elected to his second three-year term last year.

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The school says he took both students from Canada and the U.S. under his wing to help them get comfortable with campus life.

"Despite all of his sophistication, he was a home-grown farm guy who loved Manitoba, loved rural communities and loved the university he had attended," Brandon University president Deborah Poff told CBC News.

Poff says the university is planning a memorial service to remember him.

Henry died yesterday in Washington. He is survived by his wife Karen De Young, an associate editor at the Washington Post, and his five children.

He was 75.

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