Tom Clark, host of ‘The West Block’, to end iconic journalism career

Tom Clark of Global News' The West Block. Global News

With mixed emotions, Global News is announcing that Tom Clark, chief political correspondent and host of The West Block will end his career in journalism on Jan. 1, 2017.

An iconic Canadian journalist, Clark has had an extensive and storied career, witnessing and writing history in Canada and around the globe. During his 40-plus year tenure, he has interviewed every prime minister since Lester B. Pearson and covered every federal election campaign since 1974.

He has reported from 33 countries, including eight active war zones. In his last five years with Global News, he has covered significant ground.

Clark visited Ukraine during the civil war, had one of the first one-on-one interviews with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a park outside Buckingham Palace and most recently had a front-row seat for the most contentious election in U.S. memory, sharing his signature contextual analysis with Canadians.

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WATCH: A walk in the park with Justin Trudeau

Together, Clark and Global News helped build The West Block into Canada’s most watched political affairs program. Clark has become notorious for pushing beyond the headlines and pressing politicians for answers. In his unique ‘Plane Talk’ segment, he found a way to bring his love of flying to work, profiling influential newsmakers while in the air in his Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

WATCH: Plane Talk with Tom Clark

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Prior to Global News, Clark held several roles at CTV and was present for innumerable significant world events. He was one of only a handful of journalists who made it into Belgrade to witness the bombing of Yugoslavia, he was in Berlin the night the wall came down, in Tiananmen Square when the government attacked the students, and in Kabul the day the last Canadian boot left Afghan soil.

“Journalism has been my life’s work. It has rewarded me in ways I could never have imagined. Choosing to leave journalism has been wrenching. But, it is time,” said Clark.

“After 45 years it’s still fresh, the prospect of the next story still exciting. But I don’t want to stand in the way of a younger generation having that same remarkable life and opportunity.

“I have been honoured to have spent my last and best years in the craft with Global News which has always allowed me to pursue what has intrigued me. I will always maintain the curiosity about people and life that has been the fuel of my career and I will remain actively engaged in the life of this country.”

A young Tom Clark (right) chats with former prime minister Pierre Trudeau on Parliament Hill. (Credit: @TomClarkTV, Twitter).

Clark, who hails from Toronto, is a fourth generation media expert. He is the recipient of countless awards and accolades. Earlier this year he was recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association with a lifetime achievement award.

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He has also been named one of the most influential journalists in Ottawa, known for his charismatic, solution-oriented reporting.

“Tom is a true master of his craft and an irreplaceable asset to Global News. He will be sorely missed,” said Troy Reeb, senior vice president for Global News and Corus Radio.

“Tom will always be a valued part of the Global News family and we wish him and his wife Jane all the best as they embark on the next chapter of their remarkable lives.”

Clark’s last show will air on Jan. 1, 2017. A new host for The West Block will be named in the coming weeks.

The show airs on Sundays at 11 a.m. in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 12 p.m. in the Atlantic provinces, 10 a.m. in Alberta and B.C. and in repeats at 10:30 p.m. in Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon and 11:30 p.m. everywhere else.

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