In an ombudsman role like mine, impartiality and detachment are keys. But I am led to believe certain exceptions can be made to discuss those in journalism longer than I've been alive.
Lloyd Robertson signs off Thursday as anchor of CTV National News, a role he has held solo since 1984, a role he shared since 1976, and a role he performed since 1970, at that point nearly two decades into his career.
So comfortable are we in our patterns and so significant are media in uniting us. it would not be hyperbolic to suggest that with his departure goes a ritual of Canadian life and the end of a chapter in our country's history. His successor and competitors are formidable journalists, but there is only one Lloyd.
I was one of many executives who held the title of running CTV News in Lloyd's time, but let's be honest, he had built the brand and he knew better than any of us how it could be fulfilled. When CTV was sold more than a decade ago, Lloyd was the principal asset. It would be hyperbolic to suggest otherwise.
We shared two years, including history 10 years ago on the 11th day of this ninth month. On 9/11, Lloyd came in quickly, came on swiftly, and kept on well beyond when the supporting team was spent. The great anchors of our country work hours ridiculous in most jobs but necessary in theirs, and Lloyd typically showed up early and stayed late.
I never saw him in anything other than a suit (except once, when he rode in the Calgary Stampede parade), ready to be in front of the world at a moment's notice.
I know there are countless tributes out there from those with deeper ties, so my contribution will be (as it was with him) limited. But let me list 10 things about him, perhaps to shed some light on the man under the lights all these decades:
1. Considering his status, Lloyd had the world's most disproportionately small office, which he shared with Sandie Rinaldo. I suppose that if a big space had been created for him, he would have lived there.
2. He has an encyclopedic understanding of Canadian federal ridings, which on election night would stun even the party officials.
3. He has, for this business, an unnerving optimism which might be mistaken for casualness if he weren't so convincingly solemn when the moment suits.
4. A minor criticism, albeit personally helpful in my case: He laughs at way too many substandard jokes.
5. There are many valid ways to frame the principles of a newscast, but Lloyd's involves a focus on talking points and on issues of well-being. Satisfy neither and the story is relegated.
6. He tends to the flock, in that he calls the medically and professionally ailing.
7. Last time I checked, he owned a rowing machine and used it most every morning.
8. With awards on his mantle and his Order of Canada pin on his lapel, he remains gentlemanly and courteous with total strangers, and that is the least friendly he can ever be.
9. He has a preternatural love of country, which is why the Terry Fox story and Olympic gold make him misty.
10. He expects much of himself, which is why he never seriously ventured into the eternally disappointing world of golf.