Diane Francis' Life

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Di Bi

I was born and raised in Chicago, or Skokie Illinois to be precise. Had an idyllic childhood and wonderful parents, Paul and Mary Davis. My sister, Laurie Michie, lives in Overland Park, Kansas which is a wonderful community. Her husband, Scott, is an urban planner and vice president with Bucher Willis in Kansas City. A great guy and they have two terrific kids, Sarah and Aaron.

I got married to a Brit, Frank Francis, at 19 years of age and one year later we immigrated to Canada, or Toronto to be precise.
We started a graphic design and typesetting business, Francis Graphics, which became very successful. I left the business to stay at home with our two babies, Eric and Julie, for six years.

At 29, I decided to become a journalist and took a community college course. Within months, I landed a job at a small daily in a nearby suburb, Brampton.

Worked there for 15 months and went freelance. Built up a sizeable magazine "practice" as a generalist, then in 1981 was hired by the Toronto Star as a business writer. From that came radio, television gigs, book deals and a fabulous offer in 1987 from a rival media company. I then wrote four columns a week for Maclean's Magazine, The Financial Post and Toronto Sun.

In 1988, the Financial Post went daily, I became a director and in 1991 I was named Editor. It was the best job in journalism in Canada and we grew the business from an annual loss of millions to its ultimate purchase by Conrad Black and his Hollinger Company for $200 million.

Ever since, I've been Editor at Large of the larger entity, National Post, and it's been an interesting and frustrating ride.

In 2005, I decided to move to New York via Harvard's Shorenstein Fellowship and it's been a wonderful move. Now I'm a blogger which is really nothing more than a self-publishing journalist.

Manhattan is an amazing city and I'm thoroughly loving it here.

What's been most interesting, however, is the difference in the business and political cultures between Canada and the United States.

Americans embrace competition. Canadians usually avoid it if at all possible, or try and eliminate it. Americans like winners. Canadians resent them.

Politically, I'm a small "c" conservative in Canada which, surprisingly, makes me slightly left of the Democrats here. The Republicans are so extreme (social conservatism, religious fundamentalism and plutocratic disdain for government, except the military) that it's hard to comprehend their following but I'm trying and will be writing about U.S. politics as time goes on.

Stay tuned. Or comment.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Landed in the Big Apple

Here I am ready or not. Will be playing around with this blog until I get it right. Or left.

Am off to a road show tour of six cities in Canada for the Financial Post Forecast annual series. Will be fun. Toronto Jan. 9, Vancouver Jan. 10, Calgary Jan. 11, Winnipeg Jan. 12, Halifax Jan. 13 and Montreal Jan. 15

Hope to see many of you there to see us make fools of ourselves by trying to predict the future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Relocation: Cambridge--->New York

BTW, I'm moving to New York. I leave Cambridge now that my Harvard Shorenstein Fellowship is done and I'll be living in the Big Apple as of the new year.

I'll be writing three times a week for National Post and doing online stuff including this blog.

In other words, I'll have no life.