Sunday, 25 February 2007

Words still count

You have to give the solid core of veteran Toronto Sun reporters and columnists credit for not taking the line of least resistance in the face of newsroom chaos.

No signs of surrender coming from Peter Worthington, Mark Bonokoski, Mike Strobel, Lorrie Goldstein, Thane Burnett, Rob Lamberti, Christina Blizzard, Michelle Mandel, Jim Slotek, Bruce Kirkland, Al Cairns, Tom Godfrey, Ian Robertson, Joe Warmington, Sam Pazzano, Sharon Lem, Zen Ruryk, Rita DeMontis, Linda Leatherdale, Liz Braun, John Coulbourn, Dean McNulty, Mike Rutsey, Bob Elliott, Dave Fuller, Ken Fidlin, Bill Lankhof, Joel Colomby et al.

They all have too much respect for their craft and for their editors, including Mike Burke-Gaffney, who was recently appointed managing editor, to throw in the towel and coast through their working hours.

While this blog has been preoccupied with talent lost and the uncertain future of the tabloid, we haven't forgotten the people who remain at the word factory and are doing what they do best. And they excel when focused on content that made the tabloid a success story.

A classic example of the Toronto Sun of old was Thane Burnett's "Mystery of Mr. Bones" story on Page 2 of Saturday's paper. One story, on one page, with more reader appeal than any of the misguided, epic "broadsheet" special reports we have witnessed in recent months.

Thane's handling of a 50-year-old murder mystery took this blogger back to the 70s and 80s, when Les Pyette's newsroom thrived on cops and robbers and Max Haines crime flashbacks. It was an era when the feisty paper was unpredictable and the talk of the town.

Those were the days.

Everything Quebecor has been doing since it bought Sun Media in 1999 has detracted from that successful tabloid formula. Layoffs, cutbacks, centralization, convergence etc., it doesn't make any sense to journalists and media watchdogs.

Dismantling the once mighty Sun and lowering its status to a free, throw away newspaper as rumoured, would be a monumental media blunder.

While waiting for the next development in this incredulous media tale, thanks again to the troupers who are not compromising their journalistic integrity in the face of adversity.

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