Joan Hollobon’s career as the medical reporter for The Globe and Mail afforded her some unique experiences outside the medical field.
Statue of Jefferson by Alejandro Mallea (CC BY 2.0)
In November 1963, Joan Hollobon was enrolled in the Advanced Science Writing Program in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University after winning a Sloan-Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship. As fate would have it, John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States of America at the time, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, and The Globe and Mail needed a reporter in Washington, DC as soon as possible to cover the funeral of John F. Kennedy. Because of her proximity to Washington as a student at Columbia University in New York, The Globe and Mail sent Joan down to the American capitol to cover the unfolding events in Washington DC and the JFK funeral. Joan quickly arrived at the White House and was issued an official White House Press badge “Trip of the President” on 24 November 1963.
During the five cold and wet late November days Joan spent in Washington DC in 1963, not only did she cover the funeral for John F. Kennedy attended by dignitaries and officials from around the globe, but her White House Press Badge gave her access to the new American President Lyndon B. Johnson, HRH Prince Phillip of the United Kingdom, HRH Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, and she was able to interview the recently-elected Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson, as well.
In May 1960 Joan Hollobon flew on special assignment for The Globe and Mail in a Sabena Airlines Boeing 707 on its’ inaugural flight from Montreal to Brussels. She then travelled to England where she covered the wedding and honeymoon departure of Princess Margaret and Mr Anthony Armstrong-Jones for The Globe and Mail.
In 1967, Joan Hollobon travelled to Montreal to cover the 1967 International and Universal Exposition or EXPO 67 for The Globe and Mail. Over 7000 media and invited guests attended the opening ceremony on 27 April 1967, which served as a kick-off celebration of Canada’s centennial year. For Joan, who was granted Canadian citizenship in 1960, it was a poignant event to cover as a leading Canadian journalist.
By Andy F. Visser-de Vries