Still active at 91, Canadian newsman Gwyn "Jocko" Thomas must be one of the last of the English-speaking newspaper world's old-time police roundsmen. He sounds very much like several I worked with on Sydney and Brisbane dailies in the 1930s and '40s. They were hard-working, hard-drinking, chain-smoking and constantly-swearing tough guys who were on friendly terms with both cops and crims.
Not like some of their successors today: young men and women with degrees in journalism, who rarely venture far from their office computers, and regularly swallow the sanitised stories official police spokespersons feed to them, instead of doing their own field work.
We first heard of Jocko Thomas when we read this item in Jim Romenesko's daily fix of media news:
Romenesko's Poynter newsletter showed a link to the story - an interesting, well-researched article headed Back when the scoop was king, sub-titled And nobody cared much about journalistic ethics. Jocko Thomas's 60 years on the police beat. The front cover of the current Ryerson Review screams: JOCKO THOMAS: 60 YEARS OF BLOOD, BOOZE & BANDITS.
Anyone with printers' ink in their veins will thoroughly enjoy reading Miokovic's entertaining article. Just follow the link shown at the bottom of this page.
"The Ryerson Review of Journalism is an award-winning magazine that twice a year casts an unflinching look at the practice of journalism in Canada," says its website blurb, which continues:
An Ontario government website shows that Sonja Miokovic is not just a talented young writer. She also established Puppeteer Productions, to help pay for her tuition at Ryerson University.
"Puppeteer Productions is an interactive art program that teaches children teamwork and creativity through the production of a puppet show," says a message on the official website, throwing the spotlight on successful youth enterprises. "The kids do everything from writing the story line and making the puppets to organizing a final presentation to their friends and families."