One of the earliest photos of the House of Commons 1897. The Press sat directly above the elected members, Conservative reporters toward the Conservative benches, Liberals toward the Liberal benches (Library and Archives Canada)

How the press and politics have evolved in Canada (and likely elsewhere) (part 1 of 2)

Book: Power, Prime Ministers and the Press: The Battle for Truth on Parliament Hill

Robert Lewis, details how the press coverage of politics has evolved along with some of the most influential political journalists in Canadian history. (Dundurn Press)

In the beginning was politics, shortly after came the press. In the early days in Canada, and undoubtedly elsewhere, newspapers –print journalism- was very biased. Papers were not only “for” a particular party, they were often owned by that party.

Also, it was an all boys club, where alcohol was plentiful as were occasional pranks and tom-foolery.

In part one of our interview, author Robert Lewis talks about the history and somewhat reluctant changes to journalism “on the Hill”, or Parliament until the late 50’s and even into the late 60’s.

Author, journalist and editor Robert Lewis pictured in front of the Centre Block, House of Commons, on Parliament Hill, Ottawa (supplied)

He also mentions how the arrival of radio and TV began to change things, but now the great changes brought about by the internet, with journalism job losses, and instant communication of social media which has reduced in-depth analysis of news situations.

Robert Lewis was a long-time member of the Ottawa press gallery, and seven years as editor-in-chief of the national news magazine Macleans.

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