Sunday, 25 March 2007

New editor-in-chief

Glenn Garnett, the Toronto Sun's new editor-in-chief, is full of optimism in today's Sunday Sun in spinning the 2006 NADbank circulation figures as positive for staff, readers and advertisers.

Glenn's opening comments: "The Sun: Fastest growing newspaper in Toronto. Has a nice ring to it."

Perhaps for him, but it has a muffled ring for staffers fearful of more layoffs and for the dozens of laid off and fired employees still licking their fresh wounds.

Glenn's full column, based on the results of the NADbank survey, sounds very much like the uplifting comments made about and by Jim Jennings after he arrived on the scene as editor-in-chief in 2004 .

What was said about Jennings was all positive and newsroom staff endorsed the kind words because they saw him as someone who truly cared about the news and the news makers.

The renewed enthusiasm in the newsroom quickly deflated last September when Jennings suddenly resigned and another round of layoffs were announced weeks later.

We would certainly share in Glenn's positive view of the Sun if not for all of the cutbacks and layoffs that have left the newsroom with minimal morale.

So spin on Glenn. The readers might buy it, the advertisers might buy it, but poll the remaining newsroom employees and you will discover they are not buying it.

Sun employees might buy it if the reported increase in circulation at the profitable tabloid prompts Quebecor to announce an end to the carnage.

A much-needed increase in staff? All the better.

But eight years of Quebecor cutbacks tells us that scenario is not going to unfold as it should.

1 comment:

  1. The scary thing is that driving success as a newspaper is no mystery.

    In New York the Post and Daily News have both won readership by beefing up their newsroom and leading with more local news.

    Why? It's simple, New Yorkers want to read more about New York and other New Yorkers.

    A study to be released this spring shows newspapers which invest in their newsrooms by adding resources fare better than newspapers which cut their newsroom budgets and shift the money to advertising and promotion.

    I can believe the Sun actually gained numbers during Jennings' tenure.

    But I'll bet those numbers will erode if the Sun doesn't continue to invest in its newsroom staff and stretch its coverage.

    Readers want more than the same old same old wire stories about the current flavour of the month celeb in rehab.

    They want news about their city and the people who live there.

    With 24 looking more and more like the Sun and the Sun looking more and more like 24 almost everyone sees the writing on the wall...and it's obscene.

    Luc Lavoie, PKP's lapdog, can say all he wants but if Quebecor is serious about the Toronto Sun, they need to put their money where their mouths are.

    All they seem to care about,is seeing how few people they can actually get away with in putting out a paper, how they can farm out as much of the layout and news gathering responsibilities as possible so they can break the union.

    Oh, and getting reporters and photographers to do two jobs and pay them as little as they can.

    Here, shoot video and still and then you, write this for Net, for print and, make a script so we can use it as TV and on our Netcast.

    Who cares if its the ame old fodder thats already on the radio or TV. We can do more with less.

    Sadly Quebecor seems to believe the content component of a newspaper/website/TV channel is a secondary thought.

    Instead of hiring the best in the business they go for cheap and few and invariably cover the same old ground.

    Those talking head hosts on Sun TV are an embarrassing joke. I've seen sheets of toilet paper with more gravitas.

    Even CITY TV wasn't this weak when it launched back in the day with fewer resources.

    Glenn is a nice guy but he's got his work cut out for him if he expects to inspire a decimate newsroom reeling from cuts and certain their future is a freebie.

    Jim Jennings' boots are a tough task to fill for anyone in this business and given Quebecors reputation )and the resignation of long time editors like Chris Nelson and Gord Walsh) one starts to think few veterans were willing to slip their head into the noose.

    Good luck Glen. You'll need it.