Norm Browne leaves Seven News
Seven News, November 20, 1976
Seven News started a new chapter in its history last week with the departure of Norman Browne, whose name has been intimately tied to that of Seven News almost since the paper’s founding six-and-a-half years ago.
In his years with the paper, Norm did almost every job on it, from tieing bundles to acting as first Chairman of the Board. But for most of those years Norm edited the paper, and it was in so doing that he brought and kept it under the sway of his forceful personality. It is as editor that he had the greatest impact on the paper, and it is as editor that he will be remembered .
Seven News has always been a community newspaper, and as such it has been shaped and supported by the efforts and talents of hundreds of people in the Ward Seven area. But at the same time, in the years Norm acted as editor – and usually as managing editor as well – he was the single most dominant influence on the paper’s fortunes. There can be no doubt that Norm’s impact on the paper has been greater than that of any other individual. Seven News would not be what it is today were it not for Norm’s dedication and Norm’s contributions.
As editor, he largely determined what went into the paper. But he also wrote many of the articles that appeared in it, and in doing so he demonstrated a talent and a fluidity in writing that generated some fine examples of involved journalism. Especially in the early years, when 7 News was part of an active community control movement, Norm’s writing and editing helped to produce a paper that often managed to capture the excitement and commitment that the activities of those days radiated.
But when that movement began to ebb, and dissipate itself in more institutional channels, Seven News, with Norm at the helm, survived and settled in for the long haul. The paper acquired more stability, and perhaps respectability. Again, Norm played an important role in guiding 7 News in this direction. He showed that he was as much at home calculating a budget as he was in writing a story.
With a personality that is determinedly individualistic and sometimes even abrasive by the standards of some people, Norm’s tenure in office was not infrequently marked by conflict as well as achievement. But even those who clashed with him respected his abilities and his fierce resolve to realize his vision of the paper. His personality itself became a part of 7 News, and 7 News became part of his personality. Not surprisingly, this strong identification, born of dedication and purpose, helped to produce a dynamic tension that was simultaneously creative and destructive. Ultimately, and perhaps ironically, it made it parting of the ways inevitable.
But in the larger sense, Norm and Seven News have not parted company, because Norm’s contributions to the paper have become a major and inseparable part of its history. We all build on what went before – Seven News is no exception. Norm has played a part in shaping not only the past issues of 7 News that bear his name , but the issues of the future that will not. In that, he can take pride.
The staff and board of Seven News wish Norm every happiness and success in his future endeavours. We are sure that the rest of Ward Seven does likewise.
This article was published in Seven News, Volume 7, Number 11, November 20, 1976