Volume 95, Issue 3
Thursday, June 7, 2001
The Globe's Simpson gets degree
Before his day of honour he sat down with The Gazette to discuss the
wacky world of media, politics and the merits of post-secondary education.
Q. What do you think the employment prospects are for current university graduates?
A. They're a heck of a lot better with a university degree. If I was
a [recent] university graduate I'd be counting my lucky stars – there is
a continued marketplace demand for premium knowledge. The importance of
having a degree has increased since I graduated from political science
from Queen's in 1971.
Q. How do you feel about receiving an honorary degree from Western?
A. I was shocked! I was similarly honored by the University of British
Columbia. [I thought] they made a mistake which wasn't likely to be repeated
by any other university. This honorary degree means even more because my
son just completed his first-year at Western.
Q. What prospects do you see for students hoping to get into the field of journalism. How do you see the context of the industry changing over the coming years?
A. It's tough – the media tends to go in cycles of expansion and contraction. Right now, it's almost going through both cycles at the same time. There is an explosion of media outlets, including digital and cable channels and we have a relatively brand new national newspaper in The National Post. For a number of years, there was a tremendous hiring binge due to the technical and [content] staff needed when most newspapers created a web-based format. You're seeing some of that fall back now. [Many media outlets] bought and borrowed to own assets they thought would make them rich in the future. The debt many are in will mean squeezing more labour out of existing assets. It's a tough time to be getting into the job market.
Q. Do you think this country can sustain two national newspapers [The National Post and The Globe and Mail]?
A. The evidence so far is that this country can't. Both The Globe and
The Post are losing money. It's been great for writers and readers. [Part
of the losses] come from The Globe being forced to match the high subscription
numbers of The Post. They were giving papers away left, right and centre.
We matched them. Both of us produce close to 700,000 copies a day and 170,000
are either given away or sold at cut-throat prices.
Q. What's your take on the current situation in Ottawa? What will it take to develop an effective opposition to the governing Liberals?
A. Uncompetitive politics do not create the best kind of democratic
politics. [Liberal dominance] has led to an increased Canadian alienation
and [apathy] for participatory politics. Canadians are fundamentally moderate
folks – the Liberals understand that. The New Democratic Party and the
Alliance can't continue crusading on moral ideology, whether left-wing
or right-ring. We're a moderate people – Canadians aren't going to pay
Copyright © The Gazette 2000