Saturday, 28 February 2009

Mike B-G leaving

No matter how thin the Toronto Sun newsroom got in recent years, there was always Mike Burke-Gaffney, a company man to the hilt, working on the tabloid he loves.

Come March 31, no more.

Mike, managing editor and former Sunday Sun editor, is retiring at 59 after 29 years at the Sun and all who have known and loved this guy will miss his presence in the newsroom.

He is one of the pros who made the Sun newsroom a better place to make a living.

MBG has been many things to many people at the Sun. Mentor, gifted editor, friend, but in TSF's mind he never shone brighter than when he took the Sunday Sun circulation to new heights in 1992 during one of his several stints as Sunday Sun editor.

The Oct. 25, 1992, edition of the Sunday Sun had a record circulation of 544,473, thanks to Mike's leadership and the Toronto Blue Jays' first World Series win. The Sunday Sun was on top of the world in staff, content and reader support.

Eleven days later, Sun co-founder Doug Creighton was ousted and all that was the Sun in its first 21 years began to crumble.

Mike hung in there and the decent guy that he is, he must have had a heavy heart watching everything he and other Sun vets built take a slide.

At 59, this affable father of four is going golfing.

In a memo to staff yesterday, Lou Clancy, editor-in-chief said:

"It is with sadness, some trepidation, and with happiness for him that I announce the retirement of Mike Burke-Gaffney, effective March 31.

"Known affectionately across all departments as MBG, Mike has been a stalwart in this newsroom for 29 years. He's our institutional memory wrapped in all that is good about the Sun.

"Mike has served in just about every key editorial position, including Sunday editor (often) and managing editor.

"He arrived anonymously (ask him) and became known inside and outside editorial as the go-to guy, Mr. Fix-it, the one everyone could depend on. He has an earned reputation for trust and honesty.

"Mike always finds a nice way to say it, but he always gives you the straight goods. I will miss his guidance, friendship and presence. Please let him know how you feel and wish him luck with his golf game."

If you want to share your thoughts about Mike with TSF readers, e-mail your comments in the weeks before his retirement.

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