Charlie Whipp inducted into Ontario Community Newspaper Hall of Fame

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The former owner of the Petrolia Topic is one of the first inductees into the Ontario Community Newspaper Hall of Fame.

The association launched the Hall of Fame Awards earlier this year and inducted nine people to be celebrated and remembered for their tremendous contributions to community journalism.

Charlie Whipp was named as one of nine inductees Monday.

A long-time newspaperman, Charlie was most recognized for his weekly editorials. He usually wrote three per issue. They explored all topics and included everything from municipal matters to medieval engineering. Often, the prompted local councillors to change their minds about issues of the day.

He worked for the London Free Press and the Windsor Star for several years in the early 1950s. He then moved on to editor and publisher of the Advertiser-Topic in Petrolia, taking on the role as owner from 1962 until 1979.

According to Heather Wright, Publisher of the Independent Serving Petrolia and Central Lambton, “his influence on the newspaper’s pages was immediate when he purchased the paper; the reporting included investigative pieces and feature stories, presented in a fresh and appealing new design.”

“He had become an icon in the business…his editorials provided a voice widely-heard and widely-respected by readers, community leaders and local, federal and provincial politicians alike,” said his son, Ted, on his passing.

The Petrolia paper was not only one of the few community newspapers with its own press, but it was the first weekly to move from hot type into the new field of cold typesetting, a precursor to computerized newspapering.

Whipp was always interested in new ideas and enjoyed pursuing innovation and improvements in the newspaper industry. He was not only enthusiastic about the reporting and writing side, he had a keen mind for the technical side as well.

He sold the Advertiser-Topic in 1979, and for a few years in the early 1980s, he operated Lambton Editorial Services from Petrolia, a freelance venture in which he continued to report and write stories for newspapers such as the Observer and the London Free Press.

Charlie moved to BC later in life but managed to remain connected with his hometown. He passed away in 2018.

Whipp will be honoured at a future OCNA event when COVID-19 restrictions allow.