BC Press Gallery legend, Jim Hume, dies at 98
Jim Hume died peacefully at 3 a.m. Wednesday at Royal Jubilee Hospice with son Nic at his side holding his hand. He was 98.
For more than 30 years Jim was the political columnist for the Times-Colonist, and dean of the Legislative Press Gallery. Most recently, he was faithfully writing a weekly blog, The Old Islander. He was a frequent contributor to Orders of the Day (OOTD) published by the Association of Former MLAs of BC. He was also an Honourary Life Member of the AFMLABC.
Below is a nice tribute to Jim penned by Dave Laundy for the Winter Issue of OOTD. A proper obituary will be posted soon.
Jim Hume: A first class reporter still going strong at 98
By Dave Laundy
I have probably known Jim Hume longer than anyone around the BC Legislature. He was my boss at the Edmonton Journal when – a fresh-faced 21-year-old Victoria graduate of the Ryerson School of Journalism in Toronto – I arrived in the Alberta capital in the summer of 1963.
Jim was Assistant City Editor and put in charge of the stable of young university students from various campuses who had been recruited by Managing Editor Andrew Snaddon to give new life and youth to the revitalized paper. The prevailing wisdom among the seasoned reporters was that all of us “ivory tower” kids needed to learn about the “real world” of newspapering.
Jim was the right guy for the job. We all gathered in a small space off the newsroom to be instructed in the ways of The Journal. His approach was a dose of reality mixed with humour. On one occasion, he told a rather sanctimonious young woman that if she neither drank, smoked nor dated men that “you’ll never make it in this business.” It was said with a smile but did reflect how things were in the crusty world of newspapering in the 1960s. How times have changed, and all of us as well!
Later, Jim was sent to the Alberta Legislature as senior reporter and, for a while, I was his assistant. A great learning experience. One story I remember particularly was when Jim learned that the rather straight-laced Social Credit MLAs were to have a secret showing of the movie Tom Jones, which the government had banned from the provincial theatres. Jim stationed himself outside the room to ask embarrassed MLAs what they thought of this sexy movie which fellow Albertans had been forbidden from seeing. Exposing hypocrisy in the halls of power. Jim saw it as a journalistic duty.
Two decades later, Jim was dean of the Legislative Press Gallery in Victoria when I arrived to run Premier Bill Bennett’s Government Information Services (GIS), which the Hume parlance had nicknamed the “Glow Worms.” (The premier, in a candid moment, had admitted GIS at times had “a political glow.”) Jim was welcoming to me, always fair and usually objective, keeping his professional distance. A nice balancing act, reflective of Jim’s approach to reporting and column writing.
It is an honour to know and to have learned from Jim – a friend to this day and a first-class reporter, still going strong at 98.