Webster, John Edgar, 1918-1999

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Webster, John Edgar, 1918-1999

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  • Webster, Jack

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John Edgar Webster was born April 15, 1918 in Glasgow, Scotland, one of five boys born to William (“Wullie”) Webster and Margaret Edgar Webster.

On leaving school at age 14 Webster began working at the Glasgow Evening Times as an editorial telephonist, taking dictation from reporters over the phone. By age 18, he was holding down three newspaper jobs and working 12 hour days.

Webster married his wife, Margaret Thomson (June 12, 1919-Feb 22, 1985) on July 13, 1939. They had four children together.

Webster joined the war effort in October 1939 spending his last four years of service in the Sudan Defense Forces as a lieutenant-colonel based in Khartoum. He returned home to Glasgow in July 1946 and began working for the Evening News before joining the new Scottish Daily Mail. After a short period be began work on Fleet Street in London before emigrating to Canada aboard the Aquitania.

Upon arriving in Vancouver, Webster found work in September 1947 at the Vancouver Sun covering the labour beat. He briefly covered the Legislature in Victoria for the Sun in 1952, followed by short stints as assistant city editor and city editor before quitting.

Webster began his radio career in 1953 with a short show called Spotlight at noon and a main program, City Mike at 6:10 p.m. on CJOR; also recording ten two-minute opinion pieces on Fridays that were aired over the weekend as Capsule Comments.

Following a brief move back to Scotland in 1957, Webster returned to Vancouver to work on radio at CKNW and later at CJOR.

In 1963 Webster, himself, became the center of the news when he acted as a mediator in the violent hostage taking at the B.C. Penitentiary.

Webster left CJOR in June 1978.

In 1979, at the age of 60, Webster moved to television with one of his first taped television interviews for a show called Sunday and interviewee Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, kicking off a career in television at BCTV with his program Webster! until his retirement in May 1987.

Webster received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Simon Fraser University in June 1983 and from the University of British Columbia in May 1990 and was inducted into the Canada News Hall of Fame in 1987. He was awarded the Order of Canada on November 17, 1988; invested on April 12, 1989.

The Jack Webster Foundation was founded in 1986, to promote and honour excellence in journalism in British Columbia and to carry on Jack's legacy by promoting and recognizing the achievements of BC based reporters with the Jack Webster Awards.

Webster died in Vancouver on March 2, 1999.


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Central Name Authority Files.
2018.142 accession file.
Webster : an autobiography by Jack Webster (NW 070.92 W381).

Maintenance notes

Created by: Kate-Lynn Flanagan.
Revised: CGilbert 2018-01-24
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