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Book Reviews

Pamela Wallin: A Memoir

by Pamela Wallin

Pamela Wallin has the storytelling component down pat: it’s sheer David and Goliath. Wallin is a westerner bringing common sense to public discourse in the eastern centres of public discourse. She is a woman forging her way in a man’s world. She is an individual following her own course in the control freak culture of the CBC.

Along the way, Wallin rubs shoulders with prime ministers and corporate czars. She ascends the heights of Canadian media stardom, is cast down into the valley of humiliation, but rises again after being reminded of where she comes from and the importance of community.

Anyone hoping for a Chomsky-influenced recantation of the media’s sins will be disappointed, but Wallin’s is as frank a disclosure on the internal workings of the CBC as I’ve seen in print. Wallin also denounces the general state of the industry with reference to TV tricks of the trade such as sound-bites, spliced-in re-asks, and the use (and abuse) of technology for purely televisual purposes. The book’s dramatic climax is, of course, the end of the author’s three-year stint as co-host of CBC’s ill-fated Prime Time News

Wallin says she was ousted because of her failure to play ball with committees of producers at PTN and because of her lack of membership in the boys’ club at CBC TV News. Beyond that, she describes a mismanaged corporate culture besieged and turning on itself. There have been many dark moments in CBC’s recent history, but this was one of the darkest. Wallin’s isn’t the whole story, but as the affair’s most public victim, she deserves thanks for shedding a little light on it. – by Andrew Borkowski, former editor o/’SCAN, a magazine for CBC employees.


Reviewer: Andrew Borkowsko

Publisher: Random House of Canada


Price: $32.95

Page Count: 256 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 0-679-30946-2

Released: Nov.

Issue Date: 1998-11

Categories: Memoir & Biography