Carleton Ravens alumni and current broadcaster Jeff Morris has been inducted into the Ontario Community Newspaper Association Hall of Fame. Morris enters alongside his grandfather, father and uncle. Morris becomes the first Carleton grad to make it to the OCNA Hall of Fame.
"It was a big surprise and a huge honour when I found out last month that I was being inducted into the Hall of Fame," wrote Morris.
Morris began his career in community newspapers as a nine-year-old, working in the Prescott Journal mailroom after school and landing his first Wednesday afternoon paper route. He continued to work in the family newspaper business throughout high school, covering events at the school during the school year. In the summers, he worked as a full-time sports reporter while helping out with obituaries, production, page layout, collation and store deliveries.
Morris went to Carleton University to study Journalism and Communications. He was recruited by the school to play football, and he played for the Ravens from 1982-86. Morris graduated from Carleton as the Ravens’ all-time scoring leader and is one of only a handful of players in Carleton history to be named league all-star three times.
Between 2005 and 2021, Morris was a top-three finalist for more than 60 OCNA awards. He is a two-time winner of the OCNA Stephen Shaw Reporter of the Year Award, a two-time winner of the OCNA Humour Columnist of the Year, a winner of the OCNA Columnist of the Year Award, and he was also a winner of the CCNA Award for best local editorial.
He says the highlight of his newspaper career was being able to work through two bouts of bone marrow/plasma cancer. In 2019 he lost a quarter of his skull to a tumour that had penetrated his brain. He had a craniotomy and brain surgery on May 9 and was able to put a newspaper out four days later. In 2020, after a stem cell transplant, he produced and sent four editions of the Messenger and Independent to print from his bed at the Ottawa Cancer Centre.
“If my father, my uncle and grandfather would be proud of me for anything, it would be that,” he says. “Being a Morris means having a relentless work ethic and a thirst for excellence, and I learned that from all members of my family.”