Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Sun box blues

Doug Creighton always looked you in the eye during newsroom conversations, but you knew at some point he would look down at your shoes. He was a spit and polish kind of guy.

The Sun newsroom never imposed a dress code. Suits and ties were optional, but catching Doug on a bad shoe day was unnerving.

Doug's fancy for spit and polish extended to the hundreds of red Toronto Sun newspaper boxes scattered through the GTA and beyond. He liked them shiny, clean and current.

Doug and Sun co-founders Peter Worthington and Don Hunt acted like proud new poppas when the first of the red newspaper boxes hit the streets after the Sun's launch in 1971.

Fast forward to 2007 and it is a different story for the Sun's circulation department. It has had its share of cutbacks and is feeling trashed these days.

And the upkeep of many of the Sun newspaper boxes tells the story.

"They are not replenishing boxes," says one source. "All over the place, you see yesterday's papers in boxes. Today, I saw three, maybe four, boxes with yesterday's headlines."

"Back in the day . . . and not that long ago, they rode range on the boxes. The perfect box was one with a single face paper showing . . . and the Sun didn't miss a sale."

The source said the decline in Sun box servicing and the drop in readership numbers represent a "self-fulfilling prophecy."

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