One of Carleton’s longest-serving journalism professors – George Frajkor – has passed away at the age of 89.

Jan George Frajkor retired from Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication in 1999 after nearly 27 years teaching journalism, specializing in television news and current affairs. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Kelly Funeral Home. Visitation and a service are planned for later this summer.

Jan George Frajkor

During his time at Carleton, Frajkor taught several generations of Canada’s future television reporters and producers. Before coming to Carleton, he also worked as a sports, general and political reporter for 25 years at the Canadian Press, the BC Herald, the CBC and CTV.

Intensely proud of his Slovak heritage, Frajkor lectured at universities in Slovakia, Poland, and Bosnia and helped non-profit and non-government groups with their information and media needs. He also produced a half-hour program at Rogers Cable TV, published the Slovotta newsletter and was director for the Kanadsky Slovak weekly newspaper.

Frajkor studied at Concordia University, where he completed a BA in English and Economics before launching his journalism career. Over the years he also pursued courses in biology, botany and organic chemistry at McGill and Carleton to upgrade his scientific knowledge. He also took courses in East European studies, particularly Slovak and Austro-Hungarian history, at the University of Ottawa.

One of Frajkor’s former students, Rose Simpson, noted in a Substack post that her former professor always provided words of encouragement, even well after she had graduated.

“‘Don’t worry kiddo,’ he would say when I presented him with my fears about a job interview, or worry over a tough assignment. ‘You’re gonna do great!’” Simpson recounted.

Frajkor was the kind of person many would refer to as larger than life, outspoken and blunt.

He was in some ways ahead of his time, as when he launched a research project with students in the early 1980s into the new speech synthesizer and text-to-speech technology first developed by DECtalk and later made famous by scientist Stephen Hawking. Frajkor’s premise was that “any Schlunk could read the news” and 40 years before the current AI craze, he and a team of students experimented with feeding radio scripts into the program and putting the synthesized voice on the air – replacing human announcers. The so-called “Schlunk Project” made national news.

Frajkor died on June 30 but in the interest of privacy, family members held off announcing his passing. Information about funeral arrangements and a full obituary will be shared as they become available.

Monday, July 31, 2023 in ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook