Remembering Bart Fisher…

commentary 1-28


Every profession has members who’s contributions to that profession cannot go unnoticed.  In the history of sports journalism in Connecticut Bart Fisher is one such figure.  A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Bart began his career in the media at the same radio station where my own career began, the now defunt WINF in Manchester.  Bart preceded me there before going on to a long distinquished career as the sports editor of the New Britain Herald, where he rapidly established a reputation as one of the great wordsmiths in the business.  His reporting on the sports world set such literary standards he was asked to expand his writing to other areas of the newspaper.  For decades he gave all who worked in the profession a strong lead to follow.  Bart also holds a special place in the history of the sports media in Connecticut.  Since the inception of broadcast journalism, even through individual cross over friendships, there was an overall anymosity that existed between the print media and the broadcast media, much of it over the immediacy of broadcast news that eventually led to the demise of the once time honored tradition of streetcorner newsboys trumpeting the arrival of “Extra” editions with their cry to “Read all about it!”  That anymosity continued into the generation of journalism that Bart and I represent.  Many members of the print media, often with valid justification, refused to accept members of the broadcast media as their equals.  Early in my tenure at WTIC I attempted to gain their approval by requesting membership in the Connecticut Sportswriter’s Alliance.  I was unceremoniously turned down.  A second attempt to gain entry to the long established and respected body resulted in a similar rejection, similarly unceremoniously.  A third attempt, even with the sponsorship of Shoreline Times executive sports editor Hal Levy, was about to end in similar rejection, when Bart Fisher spoke on my behalf, telling the members of the Alliance that, in his opinion, I had greatly elevated the quality of writing for broadcast sports reporting and, in that ability, I was the equal of many of the print journalists who had previously rejected me.  Coming from Bart Fisher, considered by many of them to be among the best of them, it was high praise indeed.  His argument convinced the Alliance to accept me as a member and it opened the door for other sportscasters to later be admitted.  When the Alliance elected me as their president, the first, and still only, member of the broadcast media to hold that position, the relationship of two media that had been antagonistic for decades had become a complete marriage of equal acceptance and equal respect, one that today consists of regular comfortable crossovers, sportswriters guesting on, and even hosting, broadcast sports programs, sportscasters writing their own newspaper columns.  The vast expansion of media over our generation would have eventually created such a crossover of media but, without the mutual respect that has grown over that generation it might have been an acrimonious melding at best.  Bart Fisher was one of the central figures in leading the sports media in Connecticut to it’s current status.  He eventually left the media to become an athletic department administrator at Central Connecticut, where he became as respected among college athetic figures as he had been among his media peers.  Bart passed away Friday at age 68.  His position among those of us with whom he worked, and for whom he blazed a very important trail, will never be forgotten.  With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.


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