John Fraser is a Canadian journalist, author, and academic who was elected the fourth master of Massey College at the University of Toronto in 1995. After almost two decades at the helm of this illustrious interdisciplinary graduate institution, Fraser stepped down on 30 June 2014 and was succeeded by the Hon. Hugh Segal, formerly of the Senate of Canada. Fraser, 70, retains an office at Massey College and is the founding patron of its innovative Quadrangle Society as well as president of the newly-founded Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada. He continues his extensive journalism and book writing.
As a journalist, John Fraser has received multiple national and international awards. A former columnist at the Toronto Star and the National Post, his work has also been published in many leading international newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Maclean's, The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Paris Match, and New Republic. In his career, he twice became part of the story: first when he assisted the Russian ballet star, Mikhail Baryshnikov, to defect from the old Soviet Union to the West in 1974; and later as a correspondent in China when he addressed a crowd of over 20,000 people in Tienanmen Square during the short-lived 1978 Xidan Democracy Movement.
From 1972 to 1987, Mr. Fraser served at different times as the dance and theatre critic, China correspondent, Ottawa bureau chief, national columnist, national editor, and London correspondent at The Globe and Mail. From 1987 to 1994, he was the editor of Saturday Night magazine, where he pioneered the use of mixed circulation with inserted copies in the Globe and Mail and other newspapers across Canada.
Until mid-2008, John Fraser was the chair of the Canadian Journalism Foundation. He is the author of twelve works of non-fiction and fiction, as well as an editor of three anthologies. A recipient of four honorary degrees, he was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2001.
In 2015, John Fraser was appointed the founding President & CEO of the new National NewsMedia Council of Canada, formed from five former provincial press councils. In 2020, he was named its Executive Chair. In 2021 the Michener Foundation awarded him the rarely bestowed Michener-Baxter Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service Journalism.