It’s a must read for history buffs, journalism fans or anyone who just loves a good story.
Legendary reporter and newsman George Garrett has recently launched Intrepid Reporter.
In the memoir, Garrett shares the behind-the-scenes tales of his harrowing, humourous and occasionally humiliating investigative tactics, from posing as an accident victim to uncover the questionable practices of an insurance lawyer, to acting as a tow truck driver to expose a forgery scheme, and baring it all for the sake of an interview with a local nudist colony.
He also delves into the personal details of his life, sharing the hardships and resilience that marks him as an empathetic storyteller. He reveals the heartbreaking loss of his son in a canoeing accident and his wife Joan’s devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, which inspired him to dedicate his time to supporting the Alzheimer Society.
“It was truly a labour of love,” said Garrett. “I started thinking about this book long after my retirement. I wanted to leave something for my grandchildren about what their ‘papa’ did. I had so many experiences covering stories in B.C. that it might be something of interest.”
The book is flying off the shelves and several of his appearances in Maple Ridge and Surrey have seen people lined up down the street to meet Garrett and have him sign their copy.
It is also number three on the best-seller list.
“I’m just a reporter. I’m not a writer. I just tell stories,” he said. “It’s humbling and rewarding to see the reactions from people. My intent was to give the public an insider’s view into how one covers a beat, the essence of stories, the contacts you build up and the trust that you develop. To me that is the basis of good reporting – the contacts you build up. There is a time to release a story and a time to hold it for a while, particularly if there is an investigation involved.”
Starting from humble beginnings as a farm boy in Saskatchewan, Garrett rose through the ranks of journalism. Now retired, he spent more than 40 years with CKNW. He also worked for BCTV, now Global TV. He has received the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jack Webster Foundation and the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an Honorary Life Member of the RCMP Veterans Association, an Associate Member of the Vancouver Superannuated Police Officers Association, and an Honorary Constable of the New Westminster Police Department.
He lives in Surrey, and continues to be active with the Volunteer Cancer Drivers’ Society, which has been featured in the Optimist on numerous occasions.
Garrett said despite the challenges that journalists face today and the industry as a whole, he feels the role of journalists is still vitally important to society.
“In this era of fake news, (U.S. President Donald) Trump has sold the idea of fake news and that is damaging to the institution,” he said. “When all is said and done and beyond the politics we are the last resort at getting at the truth and that is an important role of the media. I think a segment of the public are convinced that everything is fake news. Well, it isn’t. The real news is important. It’s a tough job, but I really have great hopes for the future. We have good people in journalism right across the country. The public is well served.”
Garrett will be on hand on April 13 at 1 p.m. for a meet and greet and book signing at Black Bond Books.