A glimpse of the character of former mayor Tom Gosnell

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It’s not the big things a person does in life that truly tell his or her character, it’s all the little things that add up to a life of positive impact.

As we remember former London mayor Tom Gosnell, who died Monday, I want to share a behind-the-scenes story at city hall.

One evening three J-school students trotted up to the municipal centre of politics, camera gear in tow.

It had probably been a long enough day for Mayor Gosnell, but he agreed to be interviewed by 3 kids learning the craft.

And as we were learning, we made a costly mistake. It’s a mistake I think every broadcast journalist has made. No sound on the interview.

And it had been a long interview, close to an hour as I recall. He didn’t just give us a few minutes, he allowed us all the time we needed to set up in his office (we were slow and I’d like to say meticulous, but apparently not) and then ask every question we wanted.

The interview went well. It was only after we returned to school and played it back, that we realized we had a lip-synced version only.

We gave Tom a call and packed everything up and back we went. He didn’t flinch when we asked if we could do the interview again. Didn’t say he had something else to do, which I’m sure he did. Just told us to come on back.

I don’t recall if the second interview was as good as the first, but it didn’t matter. This busy politician had given us more time that day then he probably spent with his own family.

He knew that talking to journalism students mattered as much as talking to CFPL-TV (not sure what re-incarnation or name our station was at that particular point in time). Well it mattered to us, anyway, and it’s something I’ve never forgotten.

Thanks Tom and RIP.

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