Broadsheets across the Sun Media chain will be identical in layout, if not always in content, with publishers and editors restricted to new page and content guidelines.
So much for local autonomy and innovation.
This, in a nutshell, will be the face of Sun Media broadsheets, all mirroring the London Free Press from front page to back.
The new page flow and Sun Media PDF guidelines, include:
Page Content and Design
• The following is a list of pages that currently make up the bulk of our papers.
• National Life, Sports, Entertainment and News pages will now have throws to Canoe. These are built in a manner that will allow you to use the bottom half of national pages as half pages when you replace the throw with a page topper.
• Pages should be 100% local copy.
•All front pages will now contain an online throw built into your mastheads as well as a cropped photo throwing to something inside the paper. (See attached PDF on next page)
• There will be a detailed index down the left-hand side of the page that will include our standardize web throws.
• We will create several versions of front page templates with pre-built designs for your editors to choose from and then fill will (sic) copy and photos. (More later on this)
• All design work on these pages will be done (sic) Sue Batsford and will be modelled directly from the London Free Press. She will then work with your paper to build templates suited to your needs.
• The following are acceptable items on pagetwo:
• “How to reach us” box containing all the info readers and advertisers need.
• Other items such as: Weather map and Lottery numbers.
• Local news/turns from the front page.
• Other local items that are acceptable, but not required on Page Two include Death Notices, Community Calendars (with standard brand badge).
Get the drift? There is much more for editors to absorb in conforming to Quebecor's cut and paste journalism, but from the PDFs TSF received, it is clear broadsheet sameness in print and online is now the brand across the board.
Much of the same foreign strategy has been applied to the print and online pages of the Sun tabloids in recent months.
Local pride in assembling community newspapers from scratch and playing the news, sports, entertainment etc. as experienced editors see it, is obsolete at Sun Media.
It is publishing by numbers, from front to back, with numerous PDF pages being provided by outside sources to conform to Sun Media edicts.
So much of what made newspapers a success is now obsolete.
Dare to be different at a time when print media desperately needs to be different to survive? Not in PKP's domain.
Late, great newspapermen we have known and admired over the decades would be shocked by the emasculation of Sun Media publishers and editors.