Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas party

When Toronto Sun staffers gather tonight for their Christmas party, they will no doubt be in a more positive mood than they were last Christmas.

The mood was grim last December, with bodies falling left and right and rumors of more staff cutbacks to come in the New Year. The rumors were true.

That downward spiral has ebbed, more bodies have been added to the newsroom and morale, reflected in the content of the flagship tab, is on the upswing.

"It's kind of like old times at the Sun again," a staffer told TSF in an e-mail congratulating us for turning a year old on Dec. 8.

"Well done," said the staffer. "You are right, Michele did a wonderful job (always does) at the Pickton trial, Strobel and Bono are must reads and Worthington and Gross show that older just means getting better."

And to top off the Toronto Sun's cream of the crop:

Popular columnist Joe "Scrawler" Warmington, cartoonist extraordinaire Andy Donato, city hall and Queen's Park bureau columnists, Jim Slotek, Bruce Kirkland, Liz Braun et al in the entertainment section, a sports department to die for, a tighter but always productive photo team, Linda Leatherdale and her Money team, Rita Demontis the bargain hunter, op-ed columnist Eric Margolis etc. etc.

And judging by Sun staffer comments to TSF, the jolly, bearded Christmas miracle this season is Lou Clancy, a newspaper vet who has helped restore newsroom morale as editor-in-chief.

TSF's only request to Santa - put a lifetime Frank and Ernest daily comic strip deal under the Sun tree. Those funny guys are sorely missed through the week.

A New Year's wish is for Sun Media chief Michael Sifton to recognize the Toronto Sun for what it is in 2008 and do his part to keep the good vibes flowing.

We'll see how appreciated the solid editorial team is when negotiations for a second three-year contract begin in mid-January.

"We were supposed to start talks at the beginning of this month, but Chris Harrison, the company's negotiator, left the Sun for Metroland," Brad Honywill, president of CEP Local 87-M, told TSF.

"It will be mid-January before we are ready to proceed again, depending on the availability of Chris' replacement," he said.

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