Thursday, 29 March 2007

Our basic needs

Journalists just want to write.

Few among the last several generations of journalists picked up pad and pen as cub reporters with visions of becoming millionaires. Most leave hording of the millions to owners and investors.

Just give us a desk, a keyboard and other tools of the trade, fair wages and respect and you will be hard pressed to find employees who are more loyal to management.

Hundreds of reporters, columnists, editors, photographers and other employees throughout the tabloid found their Shangri-La at the Toronto Sun in the two decades before the bubble burst in 1992 with Doug Creighton's ouster.

Then along came Quebecor in 1999.

The Quebec-based media conglomerate has, in eight short years, decimated the Sun, slashing staff throughout the building and curbing most of the company benefits, including sabbaticals after 10 years service, profit sharing, stock options, Christmas bonuses etc.

What 62 Day Oners nurtured from the start on Nov. 1, 1971 and through the 70s, 80s and 90s, has been evaporating into thin air.

So we have been asking ourselves when will the once proud tabloid reach the point of no return? When will it be time for the Save Our Sun movement to throw in the towel?

When Al Cairns, Len Fortune and other gifted but frustrated veteran newsroom staffers who have given their all to the tabloid for decades begin to call it quits voluntarily, this is it.

We are teetering on the brink. Stay this tunnel vision course and the Miracle on King Street, an incredible North American media success story, will become only a memory.

Merge the remaining Sun staff with 24 hours, sell off 333 King Street East, move everything under one roof after the new printing presses roll this fall.

The dismantling of a dream newspaper spawned by Doug Creighton, Peter Worthington and Don Hunt et al, will be complete.

We have empathy for the surviving Sun employees in all departments who are getting the job done daily despite the increasingly dire circumstances.

We also have empathy for the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild reps who are trying to retain some dignity among journalists who just want to write.

But dignity is difficult when collectively you feel like road kill being pecked at daily.

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