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March 18, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Former Salient Editor Passes Away

Obituary: Colin Bickler



Salient’s 1959 editor Colin Bickler passed away on January 12 at the age of 78.

Bickler was born in Leeds in 1934 and migrated to New Zealand as a teenager. Always having a love for theatre, Bickler belonged to the drama club at Victoria. Bickler toyed with theatre as a career, eventually incorporating it into his journalism career. In the early ‘60s, he wrote theatre reviews for the Dominion and hosted a Sunday morning radio programme reviewing films. Bickler began his journalism career in Wellington at the Dominion, before joining the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. In 1965, he moved to the Eastern desk of Reuters in London where he worked for 26 years. During this time he served in Kuala Lumpur, Tel Aviv, Manila, Jakarta, Nairobi, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey, and reported on Malaysian conflicts and the Yom Kippur War before moving to London.

Subsequent to his retirement late in 1990, Bickler mainly worked at London’s City University with Journalism students. His passion for journalism across borders continued into his work with the United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). A UNESCO panellist on press freedom in the Caribbean, Bickler also conducted seminars for the International Press Institute and was a member of a number of committees. These included the Foreign Office’s Freedom of Expression Advisory Panel, the Human Rights Consultative Committee, and the Communication and Information Committee of the UK National Commission for UNESCO. 

While at City University, he enjoyed telling students stories of his experiences. Salient spoke to Shirley, Bickler’s wife, who shared a story he loved to tell concerning the high costs at the Student Union cafeteria in the late ‘50s;

“In his typically probing yet humorous manner, he discovered that she was buying all her supplies from local grocery shops rather than through wholesale outlets. He ran an exposé in Salient and of course appropriate action was taken!”

Bickler is survived by his wife, Shirley, their son, Simon, daughters Rachel and Deborah, and their grandchildren.

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