Happy birthday National Post – from a day-oner back on page C13

I was a day-oner at National Post, which celebrated its 11th anniversary today. Actually I wasn't so much a day-oner as a day-minus-121'er. My first day in the only newsroom the Post has ever known, in Don Mills in Toronto's northeast end, was in mid-summer four months or so before the Post launched. I had been working at the Hamilton Spectator, then owned by the Conrad Black-controlled Southam Newspaper company. Those of us who joined the Post in its early days suspected that Black was going through the motions to scare Ken Thomson into selling him The Globe and Mail. Indeed, my employment contract had an 'out' that, if the Post folded within two years of my hire, Southam would find me a spot back at one of its other papers. Happily, the paper did not fold and was a tremendous editorial success in its first few years. It has since had its ups and downs but I'm confident that, as the newspaper industry comes out of one of the worst years ever, it has a great future ahead of it.

I was hired, incidentally, to work as a technology reporter in the Post's business section. This was a business section that was supposed to compete with The Globe and Mail's Report on Business and the Financial Post. Black would buy the Financial Post weeks after I got hired so when I showed up for day one, , there was a band of less than a dozen of us that were to take on ROB and FP. The idea was to go heavy on coverage of technology and marketing, two areas that we believed the ROB and the FP at the time had not covered with much depth and insight. That group was led by a wonderful young editor named Howard Intrator. Tragically and sadly, Howard, hardly 40, died of anaphylactic shock after a severe allergic reaction to peanuts in our second year. Howard's number two at the time was a young Scots emigre named John Ivison, who now sits a few feet away from me in Canwest's Ottawa newsroom and writes a column on national politics for the Post a few times a week. You might have seen it. He is one of more than a few day-oners still writing in the paper. One of the other originals is Jacqueline Thorpe, who was also among that small hardy band in the summer of 1998. Jacqueline became the Post's accomplished lead economics writer and is still at the heart of the FP as an associate editor.

Who else was in the early business section? I'm sure to miss someone and for that, I'm sorry! I remember Michael Den Tandt there. Michael and I would later work at the Globe and Mail together. He is now happily ensconced at the Owen Sound Sun Times as its editor — and keeps his hand in national politics with a syndicated column for Sun Media. My friend Paul Brent was also an day-oner — a terrific reporter and author of a book on the “beer wars” between Labatt's and Molson's. During one of the Post's staff restructurings, Paul ended up leaving the paper. Brenda Bouw was there as well as a reporter. She had tremendous sources and broke one story after another. Brenda jumped to TV too, eventually become the top editorial producer at BNN, back in the day when it was known as ROBTV.

I left the Post in the summer of 2001, before Black sold the paper and the chain to the Asper family. I left reluctantly — was pulled, rather than pushed — to try an experiment in what was then called convergence, doing two jobs — a reporter for CTV News with Lloyd Robertson while also pulling my weight as a Contributing Writer for The Globe and Mail.

The front page of that first edition had none of our little group's bylines on it — though, in the days leading up to that first edition, we were all trying to come up with a big splashy scoop to get on that first front page, a front page which hangs in a frame on the wall in my home office.

The big story in that first edition was from Sheldon Alberts, who had come from the Calgary Herald and is now Canwest's man in Washington. Sheldon's story was headlined “Klein backs unite-the-right movement”. Coming down the left-hand side of the page was the front page contribution from our business section: Sandra Rubin wrote “YBM linked to Russian underworld”. The rest of page 1? A column from Allen Abel “At 77, Glenn shows the white stuff”. Abel's column was the tip for what I thought was an odd choice for the main front page photo that day, a close-up of U.S. astronaut John Glenn, giving us the thumbs-up as he prepared to blast back into space. Steven Edwards, who still reports for the Post from the United Nations in New York, was on the front with “ANC accused of torture, rights violations”; Mike Trickey had a file from Ottawa “Yeltsin tells Chretien to stay away” and the kicker down at the bottom was from Julie Smyth and John Geiger “Scott of the Antarctic continues final journey: Body Travelling in Ice.”

I think a lot of us on the staff sensed it was a special edition and we all wanted a byline and a story in that first paper. Here's my lame-o contribution — 200 words which found a home on page C13. I have no idea why I thought this was news but here it is.. Happy Birthday NP!

IBM developing high-end OS

National Post
Tue Oct 27 1998
Page: C13
Section: Financial Post
Byline: David Akin
Source: Financial Post

International Business Machines Ltd. said yesterday it will lead an alliance to develop a new operating system for high-end computers used by businesses.

The decision by the Armonk-N.Y.-based company to develop a new Unix operating system – dubbed Project Monterey – is aimed at beating back competition in the high-end server market.

IBM's chief rivals are Compaq Computer Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., but Microsoft Corp. will also be trying to add share in that market with the release next year of Windows NT 5.0.

“It's significant news. I see this as more of a differentiator for IBM to counter Compaq and Sun, who are their two primary competitors in this enterprise server hardware market,'' said Hadley Reynolds, director of research at Boston-based consultancy The Delphi Group. “Even NT 5.0 doesn't look to be really enough of an enterprise system to deploy a lot of the software that currently runs on Unix.''

IBM has teamed up with Unix developers Santa Cruz Operations Inc. of Santa Cruz, Calif. ,and Sequent Computer Systems Inc. of Beaverton, Ore., to develop a Unix operating system that can run on next-generation 64-bit processors. An initial release of Monterey should be available in 18 months.

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