Thursday, 3 May 2007

Changing faces

Updated May 9/07

Extreme makeovers are the name of the game in Toronto media circles this year, with the Toronto Star being the latest to announce an overhaul in content, layout and size.

The Globe and Mail unveiled its new look recently to mostly positive reviews.

The Toronto Sun was given a layout face lift last year and its Sunday Sun Showcase, renamed ENT, was revamped and introduced last weekend.

The Star and Globe have finally clued in to one aspect of the Toronto Sun's success - smaller is better. The broadsheet Globe has been trimmed and the Star will follow in August.

"With the new look will come a more convenient size starting in August, as the Toronto Star’s six presses are converted one by one to the new format," Star Publisher Jagoda Pike said yesterday. "The conversion will be completed by early October. The width of the newspaper page will be reduced. The depth of each page will remain the same.

“This multi-million dollar project will allow us to offer a size friendlier to our readers and the environment, as we will reduce our consumption of newsprint,” Pike said.

The architects of the Toronto Sun, including cartoonist and artist Andy Donato, knew smaller was better for commuters from the start.

Doug Creighton, John Downing and Andy MacFarlane began pitching a morning Toronto tabloid to the reluctant evening Telegram's Bassett family in the 1960s.

The proposed logo and mock paper were Andy Donato's vision of a tabloid.

Andy says he created a complete dummy tabloid - the news section, Susan Ford, Page Six and "all the other stuff."

"I can't remember if we called it The Sun," he told TSF. "I think it was just called The News, or something like that." Andy said his mock tabloid was hand drawn and glued together, "but what I could have done on a computer . . ."

The Bassetts didn't buy the tabloid idea, but much of what Andy created in the mock paper was put to good use in the new Toronto Sun after the Tely folded in 1971.

Much like Andy's cartoons and paintings, his original Sun logo and Sun design are still appealing to readers 35 years later.

Whether Quebecor's new printing plant will lead to any changes in the appearance of the Sun when it opens this fall is unknown.

But 2007 will be remembered as the year of the media makeover.

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