Doug Harkness was a small-town boy who turned an early part-time job as a reporter at the local newspaper into a career that earned him provincial as well as national recognition as a news and sports journalist.
Harko, as he was known by most, was a rare individual who had the common touch necessary to communicate with his readers but, at the same time, the ability to influence government and, more importantly for him, the harness racing industry.
Since his passing, he has been noted for his devotion to harness racing - particularly as editor of Atlantic Post Calls - an honour which is well-deserved, but his journalism career, which began in his teens, honed him into arguably the best journalist of his time, and he was a mentor and an invaluable resource to the numerous young writers and editors who learned their craft under his tutelage. He was also a political junkie of the first order, loving politics in general and Liberal politics in particular, an association that grew to fruition during his days as a political staffer during the Gerald Regan days.
Besides his amateur baseball and hockey efforts, both of which could have led to careers as a professional athlete, Harkness worked for most of the top news-gathering organizations in the Maritimes in both print and broadcast capacities.
But in the end, he came home to Amherst to edit The Amherst Daily News and Atlantic Post Calls before devoting himself full-time to the industry he loved.
He was larger than life, a hard-drinking, hard-living legend in his own time who remained unaware of the special place he held in our lives, and it is a distinct honour to have the opportunity to write the final -30- on a long career of service by a truly great Nova Scotian.
— John Conrad.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The author is a former managing editor of The Amherst Daily News, and a long-time friend and political colleague of Doug Harkness.