CBC foreign correspondent Schlesinger earns CJF honour

The Canadian Journalism Foundation will present CBC foreign correspondent Joe Schlesinger with its Lifetime Achievement award for his long and distinguished journalism career.

The Canadian Journalism Foundation will present CBC foreign correspondent Joe Schlesinger with its lifetime achievement award for his long and distinguished journalism career.

Schlesinger, 80, worked full-time for CBC from 1966 to 1994, primarily as a foreign correspondent but also as a host of Newsworld and producer of news and current affairs documentaries.

He continues to contribute to CBC Television.

He covered wars and conflicts, from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, and examined Canadian foreign policy under prime ministers stretching from Pierre Trudeau to Jean Chrétien.

Schlesinger was in Russia with Richard Nixon, in Tehran when the Shah fell, in St. Peter's Square when John Paul II became pope, with Brian Mulroney in Africa and with Ronald Reagan at summit meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Among world's best

"He is always intelligent, fair and accurate — a model for all young journalists," said former Globe and Mail managing editor Geoffrey Stevens, chairman of the jury that selected Schlesinger for the honour.

"Viewers can always believe and learn from a Schlesinger report.  He is one of the finest foreign correspondents this country has produced. He ranks with the best internationally."

Schlesinger will be presented with the award at the CJF gala in June.

Schlesinger was born in Vienna in 1928 and his family moved to Czechoslovakia. He and his brother were sent to a school in Wales for Czech refugees, escaping the Holocaust that killed their parents.

He began working as a translator for the Associated Press in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and, fearful of arrest by the communists, soon left for Austria.

He immigrated to Vancouver in 1950, where his brother was already living, and studied at the University of British Columbia.

He had positions in Toronto and London and with the International Herald Tribune in Paris before joining the CBC.

Schlesinger became a member of the Order of Canada in 1994.