Sunday, 9 December 2007

TSF Turns One

Happy first birthday to us.

Toronto Sun Family is now a year old, born from a seed planted during conversations at the remarkable reunion of 150 current and former Toronto Sun employees in November of 2006.

A trial TSF run on MySpace was short-lived due to space limitations. The move to Blogger on Dec. 8, 2006, was the start of a user-friendly relationship.

Some numbers: 365 days; 499 postings; 75,000 hits.

The numerous plaudits from readers are much appreciated, the anonymous cheap shots aimed at Sun staffers and TSF are not. The latter, thanks to moderated comments, haven't seen the light of day.

Anonymous comments and e-mails requesting anonymity are always welcomed when productive, but we are not here to provide a platform for anonymous Sun bashers.

TSF's favourite comments and e-mails are those from current and former staffers who identify themselves and expand the knowledge of readers with their Sun memories and experiences.

What fond memories Les Pyette, John Downing, Christina Blizzard, Joan Sutton-Straus, Joan Iaboni, Peter Worthington, Kaye Corbett, Ken Robertson, Matthew Fisher and others have shared with TSF readers.

The growing list of books written by Toronto Sun employees, the tributes to those who have left us and where-are-they-now links all reflect the high calibre of men and women who have walked our way.

When TSF was launched, the focus was the Toronto Sun. The flagship tabloid had been hammered by Quebecor cutbacks for years and was in desperate need of an alternate voice. Stickers at the Sun reunion read SOS: Save Our Sun.

Interest in the blog quickly expanded to include all of the Suns, peaking in April when the staff numbers and morale bottomed out at all of the tabloids thanks to nine years of relentless Quebecor cutbacks. The mood was bleak. Employees who weren't being fired, laid off and forced into buyouts abandoned ship voluntarily.

Paranoia replaced loyalty, laughter and dedication.

A lot of informative, but anonymous, comments TSF received have been from Sun employees fearful of losing their jobs for speaking out about working conditions at their Suns. What a foreign environment, compared to the pre-Quebecor glory years.

We are pleased to hear staff numbers and morale have rebounded at some of the Suns since Osprey's Michael Sifton was named Sun Media chief in September.

Toronto Sun newsroom staffers say the return of Lou Clancy as editor-in-chief has made a huge difference in direction and morale.

Unsigned editorials and a renewed focus on local news speak volumes for the Toronto Sun's intention to return to its roots.

The London Free Press is keeping its presses. The Ottawa Sun is regaining control of its press runs. The Toronto Sun's presses are still rolling.

The overall mood appears to be more positive than it was a year ago.

Is it the calm before another Quebecor-induced storm, or is the Toronto Sun back on track for employees and readers and poised to regain its reputation as a focused major daily newspaper?

TSF, where the Sun has resided in our hearts for more than three decades, wishes it only the best in 2008.

As 2007 winds down, we thank the many contributors for their e-mails and comments about all things Sun, from Day One in November of 1971 through 2007.

The rising of the Sun was one of North America's most remarkable media success stories. When Sun employees, past and present, talk about "family," it rings true.

Hopefully, Quebecor's respect for family will be fully restored.

Maybe Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again - for the benefit of the invaluable and talented employees and out of respect for Doug Creighton, the late Sun co-founder and founding publisher, and the 61 other Day Oners.

As Doug told the Canadian Press annual dinner after his ouster as chairman and CEO in November of 1992: "They (staff) are truly 'Sun family' and while I am no longer an official member, I am with them and will thank them forever."

Doug will be in our hearts forever.

Thank you Doug, thank you TSF readers.

Keep in touch.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, TSF, on your first anniversary. Keep up the outstanding work.

    I check your site out on a daily basis and would advise all other news and media junkies to do the same.

    From your friends in London, Ontario, Canada.

    Butch and Betty McLarty's Alt-London