Back in Newfoundland, he was soon established as a quick-witted and accomplished writer, broadcaster and teacher.
Murphy's primary interest is in language and English literature, but he also has a strong link with politics. He is noted throughout Newfoundland for his biting comments on the political scene and his television tussles with prominent politicians, including premier Joey Smallwood, became required viewing for a huge audience.
Murphy gained an insider's view of the political scene when he worked as executive assistant to the leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland. To get an even closer taste of politics, Murphy ran twice for office in provincial elections and lost both times.
He has worked extensively with CBC and from Newfoundland he has contributed many items on current affairs issues. For The National he has done a number of documentaries, including the highly acclaimed "Unpeopled Shores," as well as interviews with immensely popular authors, the late Frank McCourt of Angela's Ashes, among them.
Once a week he offers commentary on The National's Point of View, and is additionally the host of CBC Radio's long-running Cross Country Checkup. He also writes Japes of Wrath, his Saturday column for The Globe and Mail.
Murphy is also a commentator on Definitely Not the Opera, and has contributed to Morningside, Land and Sea, The Journal, Midday and Sunday Report.
Murphy has won several national and provincial broadcasting awards.
He divides his week between Toronto and Montreal, with frequent forays to St. John's.