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CBC s Joe Schlesinger remembered for compassionate reporting, esteemed career

CBC s Joe Schlesinger remembered for compassionate reporting, esteemed career
Canada
A spokesman for the public broadcaster says Schlesinger died peacefully in his home at age 90 with his wife, Judith Levene, by his side.

"It was a difficult time but at the same time he didn t lose his spirit," said Mansbridge. "He was the kind you always looked up to as one of the top foreign correspondents in the world."

Schlesinger was born in Vienna in 1928 and raised in former Czechoslovakia. He and his younger brother fled to England in 1939, after Hitler occupied the country. When he returned home in 1945, Schlesinger discovered that his parents had been killed in the Holocaust.

"He had a passion for journalism, strongly believed as we all do that it s one of the important pillars of democracy," he said. "But he also had a compassion for those he covered. And he showed it right to the end."

The love of a good story, and the thrill of the hunt took him to London and then to Paris, where he eventually began working at the International Herald Tribune.

"It wasn t like there was ever a moment I worked with him where I wasn t aware of his wealth of experience," Hanomansing said in a phone interview. "He was a window not just into the world he saw, but also into the world of the foreign correspondent that I don t know quite exists in Canada now the way it was then."

Hanomansing said Schlesinger s penchant for listening propelled him on global assignments, racking up first-hand accounts of history as he covered the Vietnam War, guerrilla wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, the Iranian Revolution, and the first Persian Gulf War.

While he never lost his hunger for getting stories on the air, Schlesinger brought the same humility to his interactions in the newsroom that he demonstrated abroad, Hanomansing said, refraining from pulling rank on junior colleagues.

In the wake of Schlesinger s death, Hanomansing hopes some of those qualities have rubbed off on the now-experienced journalists who learned from him, so they can be passed on to the next generation of reporters.

"Even if he wasn t the person telling the story, the life he lived was extraordinary," he said. "When you add all the stories that he told about other people s lives, I hope younger people get a chance to see some of that work."

Schlesinger retired in 1994 but continued to work for the public broadcaster as a correspondent and online columnist until 2015.
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