Phil Adler, reporter and photographer for Canadian Press, dies at 67

Journalist Phil Adler, a longtime correspondent for the Canadian Press, died Sunday after a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was 67.

“He was a pioneer of new media,” said Jason James, executive vice president of The Canadian Press and the Vancouver Sun. “This was the first to use video as a primary form of news presentation, then all over the world. He was just way ahead of the game.”

Adler got his start in journalism covering the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s, moving to the staff of the Toronto Telegram in 1977 where he wrote an important piece on the devastating impact of child labour on Thailand’s desperate labourers. It paved the way for his move to Canada, where he would spend most of his life.

He took time off work after his brother Steven, a Toronto journalist, was killed by Iranian soldiers in 1979.

He moved to Ottawa in 1980 to work as a reporter at the Canadian Press in the capital’s Kay-Cambridge area, covering Canada-U.S. relations, economics and agriculture. He also covered Belize, Guatemala, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Nicaragua, Nicaragua, Austria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Romania, Cyprus, Israel, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Cuba, Honduras, Argentina, Kuwait, Sweden, Kuwait, Romania, Lithuania, Mauritius, the Bahamas, Uruguay, Peru, Uruguay, Romania, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Greece, Japan, Taiwan, Malta, Malta, Australia, the Cayman Islands, and the U.S. Navy.

“He did it all,” said James. “But he enjoyed the political beat the most. He loved the intricacies and the street-level reporting. He covered NAFTA and other hot files.”

He covered political war and peace up to 2014.

“I was very proud of the work that he did,” James said. “He was just an extraordinary man.”

Adler and his wife Paula graduated from university together, and married in 1980. Their son Rhys was born in 1983, and their daughter Anna in 1984. Adler also has a sister.

Phil Adler was diagnosed with cancer in December. He worked tirelessly for the Canadian Press, pushing on through chemotherapy treatments.

“He was a true workhorse,” James said. “He kept on, with a lot of energy and motivation, he kept on chasing news and trying to tell Canadians’ stories. That was his passion.”

He is survived by his wife, his son Rhys, his daughter Anna, and his sister Heather Gartner. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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