Sunday, 5 August 2007

Fave comment

Of all the e-mails and posted comments Toronto Sun Family has received since this blog was launched in December, nothing has touched us more than this one:

"I just wanted to say how pleased I am with this page. My father was Mark Stewart and I am very happy that he was not forgotten because he loved his job very much. Thank you so much!"

No name was attached to the feedback left Friday for our The Departed posting, but Mark, a veteran Toronto Sun crime reporter, had three children when he died at 38 in 1995.

The comment highlights a priority of this blog - to not forget any of the late pioneers of Sun Media's flagship Toronto Sun. Mark, who won multiple awards, was among them.

(Update: People who worked with your father would like to hear more about how you, your siblings and mother are doing. You can e-mail TSF or send another comment.)

TSF's goal is to post posthumous tributes for all Toronto Sun staffers responsible for making the Miracle on King Street the tabloid that is was for almost three decades.

Quebecor's Pierre Karl Peladeau and some of the fresh faces in Sun newsrooms have no time for nostalgia and less time for stories about the good old days of the tabloid.

Well, sorry guys, everything that was so right with the Toronto Sun before Doug Creighton's heartless ouster in 1992 is just too memorable to forget.

Yes, the good old days, when the newspaper was run by newspaper people.

And when the going got good, as it did very quickly after its launch in 1971, newspaper people at the helm generously gave back to the dedicated and loyal employees.

Sabbaticals, profit sharing, stock options, medical and dental plans, generous Christmas bonuses, a blah day in February, parties to celebrate anniversary and circulation milestones etc. etc.

Quebecor, in eight short years, has all but wiped that slate clean with cutbacks, firings, layoffs, buyouts, elimination of benefits etc.

The Toronto Sun is profitable - but without the heart and soul it once had. Morale is low and loyalty is nil.

So when former Toronto Sun vet Sean McCann asks remaining members of the Toronto Sun's old guard why they are hanging in, we echo the sentiment.

It can't be loyalty, not with Quebecor pulling the strings. So it must be their well-paid egos.

In a perfect world, all of the Sun vets who still have so much more to give appreciative readers would launch an independent publication of their own.

Leave the spoils of the once treasured tabloid to the cold, calculating hands of the bean counters who have no rapport with employees and less time for readers.

But, for now, we can only hope few people who worked for the Toronto Sun and read the Toronto Sun during the good old days won't forget the experience.

It was North America's media success story and management, loyal employees and dedicated readers were all benefactors.

The Toronto Sun was such a media darling, key people preparing to launch USA Today paid a visit 25 years ago to ask Doug and others for advice.

Yes, Wayne Janes, the Sun has always been a business. The difference is, Doug Creighton et al knew more about heart and loyalty than PKP et al will ever muster.

To the child of Mark Stewart who left the much appreciated comment, thank you. It was rejuvenating.


  1. >>>It can't be loyalty, not with Quebecor pulling the strings. So it must be their well-paid egos.<<<

    Yeah, that's it, it's my ego. Not my mortgage, car payments, kids' scholarship funds or dog who keeps getting into fights with pitbulls forcing me to pay $500 each time to get him stitched up.

    The print job market is shrinking, and I've heard from people who took buyouts thinking a lockout or closure of the Sun was imminent and now regret it. I could make more money flakking, but I probably wouldn't enjoy it. So I'd be no further ahead. So yeah, I'm squeezing what fulfillment I can get out of doing the best job I can, even if it's not necessarily the same paper as the one in Lou Grant anymore.

    I really don't understand the change in tone on this blog. It's gone from blaming the company to blaming the staff.

    Jim Slotek

  2. Agreed. What a bunch of crap. The reality is, some of us love what we do for reasons other than just "gee, it's a great job." But then again, there are a some people who have never really understood that.

    I disagree with much of what my employer is doing, and for many more and varied reasons than "gee, they're breaking up the ol' gang".

    But if you'd like to offer an option that allows me to stay in the community I wish to live in, with my home and my family, then I'm all ears.

    In the meantime, try thinking about the bigger picture occasionally, OK? The dreamy view you seem to have of how the Sun used to be didn't account for the fact that, like any newspaper chain out there, we've always had plenty of faults.

    Is the environment tougher now? Of course. But some of us choose to stay and fight and slug it out for what we believe in. If that doesn't fit this blog's perspective on why some of us still work for Quebecor, then my condolences to you.

    Jeremy Loome