Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Where was Sun?

We might have missed it, but was there a single word in the Toronto Sun about a recent newsroom visit by Quebecor chief Pierre Karl Péladeau?

Was there any mention of Peladeau's emphatic denial that Quebecor is considering turning the Sun into a free Sun/24 Hours commuter newspaper?

Quebecor spokesman Luc Lavoie is quoted in today's Globe and Mail as saying that is exactly what Peladeau told newsroom staffers during his visit.

Grant Robertson, the Globe's media reporter, quotes Lavoie as saying Peladeau told the newsroom: "Let me answer the question before it is asked: There is no plan to go free with the Sun - period."

That is positive news for Toronto Sun staffers, who have been demoralized by cutbacks, layoffs and rumours of a Sun/24 merger.

That should have been a Sun story, especially when Peladeau was being quizzed by Sun staffers about the future of the thinning tabloid.

But Peladeau's visit didn't get past Grant Robertson. In today's Globe, he writes about Peladeau's visit and Quebecor's focus on free 24 Hours commuter newspapers.

Grant caught our attention in the first four paragraphs:

"When Pierre Karl Péladeau visited the newsroom of the Toronto Sun a few weeks ago, the head of Quebecor Inc. faced several questions from his staff about the future of the paper, the flagship of Canada's largest tabloid chain since the 1970s.

In particular, they wanted to know where the Sun fits into the Montreal-based media giant's plans. It's a question that has been asked a lot lately within Quebecor and throughout the industry as the company expands its free newspaper, 24 Hours, across the country.

At a time when the Sun's readership and circulation have dipped, Quebecor has launched several editions of 24 Hours throughout Canada in recent months. And increasingly, the Sun tabloids and the free daily are looking similar.

In a departure from its original small-page format, new editions of 24 Hours in Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton have been created in the Sun's image, in a larger tabloid size. The latest move came this week when the smaller, glossy version of the freebie in Toronto was converted, and Vancouver is next on the list."

You can catch the remainder of the story here until the Globe archive service takes over.

Thank you Grant Robertson for writing about the Sun at a time when the Sun isn't writing about its own house.

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