Lon Appleby has been a freelance print and broadcast journalist for over thirty years. His documentaries and articles have taken him around the world and he has received many awards for his work. He is currently a general education professor at Oshawa's Durham College in Canada, where his classes in literature, cultural studies, communications, and human history have been widely praised.
In addition to teaching, Lon is presently completing a novel, Beyond Elephant Hill, set in Toronto, Spain, and India; the book was selected for development by The School for Writers at Toronto's Humber College. A producer and director, he is also developing a feature-length documentary, The Ghetto Wizards, about an untold story in prizefighting before the Second World War. His most recently broadcast documentary is about China's legendary Ming Tomb, and a feature story he wrote for Toronto Life magazine about a homicide investigation received attention when he successfully fought an attempt to subpoena his notebooks in a case of press freedom that was watched closely by other journalists. His career has been distinguished by compelling story sense, detailed research, and a wide range of subject matter that reflects his broad interests.
Lon began his career in journalism as a fifteen-year-old student apprentice at Toronto’s CITY-TV. While part of a work-study program at Toronto's Alternative Independent Study Program, he began submitting story ideas to the station's newscast, CITYPULSE NEWS. He was brought on board as the evening newcast's youth reporter, and among the many reports he produced for the newscast was a five-part documentary series that won an investigative documentary award from Canada’s Radio and Television News Directors Association. A year later he followed up with an award-winning documentary for the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).
At nineteen, after a summer studying Greek Classics and English Literature at Harvard University's Summer School, Lon traveled to Karigiri, India to help launch a video production studio at the Schieffelin Institute of Health & Research Centre. When he returned to Canada, he joined the CBC’s nightly current affairs show, The Journal, as a director of feature documentaries. His subjects ranged from an investigation of the Love Canal environmental crisis to a profile of a young Canadian comic, Jim Carrey. In the following years, he worked as a reporter for United Press International, traveling to the South Pacific to cover the Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaign in the aftermath of the bombing of its Rainbow Warrior flagship. He was a writer and senior producer of the two-hour CBC special, Runaways: 24 Hours on the Street, which was the first national CBC documentary broadcast without commercials, became the highest rated documentary in the history of Canadian television, and won nearly ten national and international prizes, including a Governor General's Award for excellence in public service journalism.
During that time, his articles were published in the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Saturday Night, and Columbia Journalism Review. His short stories were included in an anthology put out by Toronto’s Coach House Press. He was contracted by the Science Council of Canada, York University, and Greenpeace Canada to write research reports, and his work as a documentary director continued to be featured on prime-time CBC programs, where his stories included a Gemini-nominated portrait of a young man going through military training, the failure of a group of friends to help a friend who was murdered, and a rare glimpse inside a Canadian courtroom. He was also active with the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists as a board member.
Lon then relocated to Barcelona, Spain, where he worked for two years as an English teacher and completed an unpublished manuscript. He co-developed the concept for an international television channel, World Telemonde, and was a senior member of the executive team that appeared before Canada's Radio and Television Communications Commission for a broadcasting licence.
More recently, Lon co-founded and was a partner in a full-service production company in which he was involved in a variety of productions as a writer, director, and producer. Among them: a CBC arts special, Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey, about the great pianist’s career-making trip to the Soviet Union during the Cold War; the Gemini-nominated Downtown Angel of Medicine, a behind-the-scenes chronicle of life at a large inner city hospital, which was produced for The Discovery Channel in Canada and the United States; and Zoo Diaries, the popular National Geographic series about zookeepers and their animals.