The “Badger” Is Back!

Richard Brennan is called the “Badger” for a reason.

For 43 years as a journalist, he has badgered politicians, police officers, corporate CEO’s and many others who needed to be held accountable for their decisions.

So, when he retired last week from the Toronto Star’s Queen’s Park Bureau, many a politician had their best night’s sleep in some time.

Well, I have good news and I have bad news.

The bad? Badger has come out of retirement after one business day.

The good? I am excited to announce he will be partnering with me to enhance the media coaching sessions I’ve been conducting since leaving the CBC six years ago. Richard is going to be applying his skills, experience and tenacity to helping people prepare for media interviews.

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(Photo credit: Toronto Star)

I’ve always admired Badger. As a journalist, he was larger than life — approaching politicians in an authoritative but fair tone that put him on their level as equals. He didn’t sugar-coat questions. He asked what we were all thinking. He made politicians lose sleep and gave younger journalists inspiration and direction as an unintentional role model.

After a full career as an award-winning journalist covering such hotspots as Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill, Richard has so much to offer. This is a man who has covered the governments of Bill Davis, David Peterson, Bob Rae, Mike Harris, Ernie Eves, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne – many of whom joined him last week to celebrate his career. He was honoured by colleagues and his career featured in the Ryerson Journalism Review.

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(Photo Credit: Fatima Syed)

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Now, anyone who knows Badger knows full well this is a man who can’t ever ‘retire’. His work ethic is legendary. So, I reached out recently — not just as someone who admires him — but as a media coach who admires talent.

I have conducted hundreds of customized, full-day sessions with everyone from politicians to Fortune 500 companies, drawing on my 20 years experience in broadcast media with the CBC. It’s not an assembly line. Small groups. Everyone gets to do two mock interviews on-camera with video playback critique. Participants truly improve and feel more comfortable with the media in a single day session. So, to bring in someone like the Badger, experienced and insightful, who will add immense value to the sessions, is incredibly exciting.

Richard is joining me as an associate and partner — especially in areas he’s passionate about like politics and policing. He won’t be working full-time (his wife, children and grand-children would kill him) — but will be joining me on an on-demand basis. And, I have a feeling demand will be high.

To say I am excited about this is an understatement. Imagine a full-day media training workshop with an award-winning print journalism icon like Richard Brennan who has made Premiers and Prime Ministers sweat it out – and a Gemini Award-winning former investigative journalist.

Please help me in welcoming Badger out of his short retirement (I feel like I should have a cool name…maybe the Aardvark?). And if you gave him a retirement gift, it is fair that you ask for it back (come on — did you really think he was going to fully retire?).


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