Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Dunlops axed

Sun Media's popular annual in-house Dunlop Awards for 2008 have been cancelled, sources told TSF last night.

Chances are the first cancellation of the Dunlops since they were established in 1984 to honour Edward A. Dunlop, first president of the Toronto Sun Publishing Corp., means they are toast.

Sources say Sun Media's vice-president of editorial announced the cancellation Monday, advising department heads:

"After much consideration, it has been decided it is best that the Dunlop Awards program for Sun Media be suspended for this year in view of sacrifices and cuts we have had to make in all aspects of our business."

Yeah, right. Bean counters must have caught wind of expenses being incurred in honouring the best of the best in the Sun Media chain.

Why give the survivors of 10 years of Sun newsroom guttings any cause for celebration and morale boosting? Besides, it's only news, so why strive for excellence?

As the Edward Dunlop Award of Excellence brochures read:

"These Awards commemorate Edward's high ideals by annually recognizing the outstanding journalistic achievements of editorial staff members within the Sun organization."

The Dunlops were the pride of the late Doug Creighton, the Toronto Sun's co-founder and founding publisher. Former judges included Doug MacFarlane, Joan Sutton Straus and Hugh Wesley. Awards nights were memorable and bonding.

Can Quebecor sink any lower in squeezing the life out of every Sun Media newsroom?

If PKP's intent is to erase all ties to the glory days, when newspaper people ran Sun Media, he is just about there in numbers and morale.

Just a few more Sun vets to be shown the door and viola, his cookie cutter papers will be produced by low-paid fresh faces right out of college who won't have a clue about the Suns pre-1999. None of that "glory days" tabloid talk.

Personally, we'd say screw Quebecor and organize an employee-sponsored 2008 Dunlop Awards to keep the Dunlop spirit alive and to get some joy and satisfaction out of jobs well done.

Set up a website, confine Dunlop submissions to the four original Suns - Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton - and have an online awards presentation this summer.

You could have site visitors vote on entries, or continue with a panel of volunteer judges.

Or have Sun staffers lost all enthusiasm for the job and any awards in the wake of 600 layoffs on Black Tuesday and more layoffs and buyouts since December?

Sun Media lost its enthusiasm for promoting Dunlop winners in recent years, leaving each newspaper to announce their winners, with no overall summary.

If employees do quietly let the Dunlops for 2008 pass, the torch lit with enthusiasm in 1984 will be permanently extinguished.

No doubt about it.


  1. Maybe they realized most of the potential winners were unceremoniously dismissed in a fit of fiscal stupidity?

  2. Just a passing thought, but there is another explanation to the cancelation of the Dunlops. Maybe PKP recognized that he'd be placed in the position of having to admit that the best work of the past year was done by the very people that he'd shown the door.

  3. What ... no love for Winnipeg?

  4. I can't believe how completely f___ing stupid this is.

  5. I have been shocked at the series of boneheaded moves by PKP, but this one is a new low. It's a slap in the face to all staff and former staff, anyone who proudly hangs a Dunlop Award certificate on their wall. To say nothing of the recognition it offered war hero Edward Dunlop who lost his sight in battle. It meant something dammit. It made the Sun stand out. Of course, there's hardly anybody left to honour - previous posters have nailed it. Shame.

  6. It's another money thing, why throw a banquet for the workers, no matter what the reason.

  7. I had the great good fortune to attend three Dunlops, three years in a row. It was a wonderful honour, and just a rush to be in the same room with other journalists from across Canada who were also being recognized for good work. I always appreciated the opportunity to get up and thank the talented editors and layout people who, just as part of their jobs, made me look good. It was a kind of professional camaraderie I have never experienced anywhere else. It would seem that, more than ever, Quebecor would want to engender that spirit and build up that esteem. I hope they reconsider this move, it is one of the most cost-efficient investments they could ever make.
    The last Dunlops I was at, I stopped sort of telling this joke: I hoped the smaller Sun Media papers competing for the “under 50,000 circulation” awards wouldn’t be too upset next year when the Toronto Sun slid into that category.
    It seemed funny at the time.

  8. I won my first Dunlop for a story I wrote one month into my job there. Six months later I was laid off.