Colleagues pay tribute to journalist Barry Streek

The death of veteran journalist Barry Streek had robbed news writing in South Africa of one of its most committed exponents, colleagues said in tribute on Friday.

 

A long-time committee member and former vice-chairperson of the Cape Town Press Club, Streek died earlier in the day after a long struggle with cancer. He was 58.

 

“Barry, a graduate of Rhodes University, was deeply committed to the liberal school of thought, having been schooled in the traditions of the anti-apartheid National Union of South African Students (Nusas),” press club co-chair Donwald Pressly said in a statement.

 

Streek was a fierce defender of the liberal tradition in its broadest sense. “He was devoted to the craft of journalism, and absorbed just about every piece of news available,” Pressly said.

 

Press club co-chair Marion Edmunds said Streek had “a passion for principles”, which at times had made for uncomfortable discussion.

 

“He wasn’t frightened to speak out about inappropriate behaviour and betrayals of principle, and that is increasingly rare among journalists these days,” she said.

 

Streek had a distinguished career as a political journalist, and spent 25 years in the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
He was also a former chairperson of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association.

 

In 2001, he became Parliament’s media manager, before returning to the gallery as a correspondent for the Mail & Guardian. Later, he became editor-in-chief for publishing house Jonathan Ball.

 

Streek leaves two step-children, Kathy and Douglas Scott, his parents, Frank and Deena Streek, and sister Jocelyn.—Sapa

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