Joe Schlesinger

Joe Schlesinger
Born (1928-05-11) May 11, 1928
Vienna, Austria
Alma mater University of British Columbia
Occupation Television journalist, author
Notable credit(s) CBC Television
CBC Newsworld

current: Judith Levene

former: Myra E. Kemmer
Children Leah and Ann

Joe Schlesinger, CM (born May 11, 1928) is a Canadian television journalist and author.

Early life and career

Schlesinger was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, in 1928. He was raised in Czechoslovakia. When that country was occupied by Germany in 1938, he was sent to England by his parents as part of the kindertransport, organized by Sir Nicholas Winton, that rescued 669 Jewish children. His parents were later killed in the Holocaust.[1] Schlesinger appears in and narrates the 2011 documentary Nicky's Family about Winton and the kindertransport.[2]

Schlesinger pursued a journalism career after the war, first working at the Prague bureau of the Associated Press in 1948. He left Czechoslovakia after its Communist government began arresting journalists. In 1950, he arrived in Canada. After studying at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, he reported for the Vancouver Province and the Toronto Star, and edited for UPI in London and the International Herald Tribune in Paris.[3]

Career with the CBC

Schlesinger joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1966 as executive producer of The National but soon returned to reporting and served as the CBC's foreign correspondent variously in Hong Kong, Paris, Washington and Berlin, reporting on the Vietnam War, and guerrilla wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador, the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately the fall of the Iron Curtain including the Velvet Revolution in his homeland of Czechoslovakia.[3]

In the early 1990s Schlesinger was promoted to Managing Editor of CBC News, producing commentaries and documentaries for the short-lived CBC Prime Time News. He retired from full-time employment in 1994, but continues to produce essays and special reports for CBC News.[4] In the last half of the 1990s he became host of a few foreign news magazine programs on CBC Newsworld, including Foreign Assignment (shared with Ian Hanomansing), and Schlesinger.

In 1990, he wrote his autobiography, Time Zones: a Journalist in the World, which became a bestseller.[4]


In 1994, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.[5] He was nominated for 18 Gemini Awards and won three Geminis, for "Best Reportage" (1987 and 1992) and "Best News Magazine Segment" (2004). He was also awarded the John Drainie Award (1997) and "Best Performance by a Broadcast Journalist (Gordon Sinclair Award)" (1987).

On June 7, 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Queen's University in Kingston[6] and delivered the convocation speech to a part of the graduating class of 2010 from Queens' Faculty of Arts and Sciences. On June 8, 2011, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Alberta in Edmonton for his long and distinguished career, and also delivered a speech to part of the U of A's 2011 graduating class of the Faculty of Arts. He also holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of British Columbia, the Royal Military College of Canada, Dalhousie University and Carleton University.


  1. "Nicholas Winton: The man who saved children from Hitler". CBC News. June 30, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  2. "Nicky's Family Celebrates a Quiet Hero". Huffington Post. July 17, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  3. 1 2 Byrne, Ciara (June 8, 2009). "Joe Schlesinger's view is still gritty, witty". Toronto Star. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 "Schlesinger's View". CBC News. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009.
  5. "Order of Canada citation".
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