Saturday, 6 December 2008

Re John Kerr

Longtime readers of John Kerr's Outdoors column in the Toronto Sun say they were stunned this week to learn Sun Media has axed his column after 27 years.

Another victim of Quebecor cutbacks, John's final column for the Sun was published Thursday and web sites were soon abuzz with feedback demanding his return.

"In short, after 27 years of filling this space, this will be my last column," John wrote in his farewell column. "I will leave judging whether this is being penny wise or pound foolish up to company executives and, ultimately, readers."

John said "It is the end of any Toronto newspaper covering the angling and hunting community on a regular basis (something I always have had pride in the Sun for doing.)

"I hope the latest move is not a further sign of the disconnect between rural and urban society, and how each envisions their connection - or not - to the natural world."

No, John, it is another sign of the disconnect between the glory days of the Sun and Quebecor intent on weeding out remnants of the "old ways."

TSF sources say new influences at Sun Media spew out the words "old ways" as if everything that made the tabloid the most talked about newspaper in town is obsolete.

Readers be damned.

Well, John's readers aren't taking his departure quietly.

Jason Whyte, a longtime faithful Sun reader, says in an online forum he is saddened by John's departure and has written to the tabloid to reconsider.

"We should not let him leave quietly," says Whyte.

He says he told the Sun: "It saddens me that I may have bought my last Toronto Sun today. I cannot believe you have done this. Please bring his column back."

Peter Wood writes on his Outdoor Ripples site: "John’s Toronto Sun outdoor column will be missed indeed by many readers, both rural and urban.

"Knowing John, he didn’t write for the money but for his love of the outdoors."

Wood says if you missed John's final column, email him.

(TSF Googled John's finale but it has already been deleted.)

It is not that John Kerr's fans will have to go cold turkey. He is the new editor-and-chief of Ontario Out of Doors magazine, as announced recently in an Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters press release.

"John Kerr, one of Ontario's most respected outdoor writers and a passionate angler and hunter, will assume the position of editor-in-chief," says the 83,000-member OFAH, new owners of the magazine. "John has been a fixture on the outdoors scene for more than 30 years, and brings a steady and familiar hand to the publication.

"He began writing for O.O.D. in 1976, and has filled various roles since, including assistant editor, managing editor and executive editor. He has also penned a column for the Toronto Sun newspaper. John spends as much time in the field as possible, fishing year-round and hunting deer and waterfowl each fall."

All the best, John Kerr.

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