Paikin, Steve 1960-
PAIKIN, Steve 1960-
Born June 9, 1960, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1981; Boston University, M.SC. (broadcast journalism), 1982.
Office—TVOntario, 2180 Yonte St., Toronto, Ontario M4T 2T1, Canada. Agent—Denise Bukowski, The Bukowski Agency, 202-114 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5R 1A9, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].
Television journalist. CHFI-FM 98, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, news reporter, 1982-85; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation-TV, Toronto, anchor and reporter, 1985-92; TVOntario, host of Between the Lines, 1992094, co-host of Studio 2, 1994—, host of Diplomatic Immunity, 1998—. Producer of television documentary films Return to the WarsawGhetto, Balkan Madness, Teachers, Tories, and Turmoil, Chairman of the Board: The Life and Death of John Robarts, and A Main Street Man.
Silver Screen Award, U.S. International Film and Video Festival, Yorkton Film Festival Award, and Shanghai Film Festival award, all for Return to the Warsaw Ghetto; Gemini Award nomination for Best Host, Anchor, or Interviewer in a News Program or Series.
The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
The Dark Side: The Personal Price of a Political Life, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The Last Prime Minister, a biography of Ontario Premier John Robarts, for Penguin Canada, 2004.
Canadian journalist Steve Paikin is a television commentator and co-host of Studio 2, a nightly news commentary that airs on Ontario's public television station. Paikin draws on the two decades he has worked the political beat in Canada for his first book, The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics. As Paikin unabashedly says early on in his book: "I like politicians.… Yes, some of them are corrupt.… But some of them are also inspiring. Some of them live lives of such intense drama on a daily basis, one can't help but admire them. Like it or not, they do blaze trails.…And when they get things done—even the small, seemingly insignificant things—they can change our lives."
The controlling question behind The Life is a simple one: What motivates a man or woman to run for political office? To arrive at a consensus, Paikin interviewed one hundred retired and still-serving Canadian politicians, among them former prime minister Brian Mulroney, retired Ontario premier William Grenville Davis, and Jason Kenney and Deborah Gray of the Canadian Alliance. While Rhonda Parkinson noted in her online review for Suite101.com that Paikin's book might be hard to follow for those readers unfamiliar with the Canadian Parliamentary system—"Paikin's focus is on the actors on the Canadian political scene, not the underlying political landscape on which they play out their role," Parkinson wrote—Canadian-born news junkies had no such problem,
Several reviewers remarked on what Maclean's reviewer John Geddes dubbed Paikin's "unabasheldy pro-politician" approach, Geddes going on to quip that the journalist "has a soft spot for elder statesmen." In Quill & Quire Marina Glogovac was even more pointed in her comments, and expressed dismay at the lack of "any serious critical perspective" on the author's part. According to Glogovac, The Life reads "like a kind of appetizer, with the more flavourful, textured main course of reflections and analysis still to come." Perhaps as an answer to such criticism—and a balance to The Life—in 2003 Paikin released his second book, The Dark Side: The Personal Price of a Political Life. In this book he profiles the public and private tragedies that have impacted the careers of many of Canada's political leaders. In the process, Paikin has produced what Mike Harcourt praised in the Globe & Mail as "a well-written book with a noble purpose: to restore lustre to political office."
Paikin told CA: "The opportunity to be published was quite accidental. I received a telephone call from a literary editor who asked whether I'd ever wanted to write a book. I said it was on my list of things to do before I died, but doubted anyone would be interested in publishing anything I wanted to write. I wanted to write a book that didn't start from the premise that politicians are all egomaniacal, evil, corrupt idiots. I wanted to look at the good reasons why they seek this kind of work. Penguin Publishing in Canada liked my take on public life and agreed to publish The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics. The writing process was quite onerous but very fulfilling. I host a daily current-affairs show on public television in Toronto—TVOntario. The program airs five nights a week at 8 p.m. 'live.' I'd get off the air at 9, write until one a.m. every night, then twelve hours on Saturday and another twelve on Sunday. I interviewed one hundred politicians for a year, then took another year to write the book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Paikin, Steve, The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), November 1, 2003, Mike Harcourt, review of The Dark Side: The Personal Price of a Political Life, p. D3.
Maclean's, December 24, 2001, John Geddes, "Fare for Political Junkies," p. 75.
Quill & Quire, November, 2001, Marina Glogovac, review of The Life, pp. 30-31.
Toronto Life, December, 1998, Adam Sternbergh, "The Importance of Being Earnest" (profile), pp. 14-15.
Steve Paikin Web site,http://www.stevepaikin.com (January 27, 2004).
Suite101.com,http://www.suite101.com/ (January 31, 2002), Rhonda Parkinson, review of The Life.*