Thursday, 22 May 2008

The new guy

His name is Jack Romanelli and they are calling him a newsroom manager.

He was managing editor of the Halifax Daily News when Transcontinental Media pulled the plug on Feb. 11, leaving him and 65 other employees unemployed.

“Not a second of advance notice," he told Aaron Burnett, a NovaNewsNet student reporter. "We showed up and they told us, ‘that’s it. Today was the last edition of the Daily News.’”

Tim Fryer and Darren "Woody" McGee, two Toronto Sun copy desk vets shown the door on Tuesday, must have shared that same mental shock punch in suddenly losing their jobs.

Was Romanelli's hiring by the Toronto Sun at the expense of Tim and Darren's jobs? Sources say he waited until they were out of the building before entering the newsroom.

Ah, to be a fly on the wall for that newsroom scenario.

The latest axing of talented and dedicated Sun newsroom staffers is not the last, insiders tell TSF. More heads will roll at the profitable, but perplexing, diminished tabloid.

The Sun has lost its edge and numerous loyal employees since Doug Creighton's ouster in November of 1992 and more so since Quebecor bought Sun Media in 1999.

As a couple of TSF readers have said, Doug, the Toronto Sun's late, great founding publisher, must be turning over in his grave once again with the exit of Tim and Darren.

But we digress.

Back to the new guy, plucked, not from within the Sun Media chain, but from the debris of the defunct Halifax Daily News, a tabloid that had a circulation of about 20,000.

Readers of the Nova Scotia Business Journal became aware of Romanelli's move to the Toronto Sun on April 29 when this news brief appeared:

"Romanelli moves on
Halifax - The editor of the now defunct Halifax Daily News, Jack Romanelli, will start a new job as a newsroom manager at the Toronto Sun next week.

Since the February closure of the Daily News, Romanelli was offered several jobs outside of Nova Scotia, but was waiting for a career opportunity to arise locally.

He admits that it is unfortunate that there were no real career options available that would allow him to remain in Halifax.

Romanelli and his wife, Jane Davenport, editor of Halifax Metro, have listed their Clayton Park house on the market."

Previous newspaper stops for Romanelli during his 20 years in the news biz: The Montreal Gazette and Cornwall Standard-Freeholder.

It's interesting to note that a few Daily News employees were transferred to a new free Halifax newspaper in the Metro International chain.

A rumour during the ongoing Quebecor chainsaw massacre that peaked in the spring of 2007 was Sun newspapers would eventually be merged with free 24 Hours commuter newspapers.

With 333 being eyed by condo developers, the downsizing of the Little Paper That Grew to free paper status doesn't sound far fetched.

And when Sun rim legends like Tim and Darren become victims of the carnage, there is little doubt Quebecor is more interested in packaging ads, not news.

The heart of the old Sun gets weaker by the day.


  1. What a sad and stupid thing to do: showing Woody and Tim the door. That's a real blow to the Sun, to say nothing of the fact Mr. Pong's will probably have to go out of business now. Hang in there, Woody and Tim. You guys are among the best in the biz.

  2. Linda, you're so right, what a blow. There are many hearts that make up a newspaper, these guys were the left and right ventricles of the news desk. What the hell is going on ... sometimes I wonder why anyone still works there.
    My friends, Woody and Tim, I wish you all the best, especially in the lawsuit.