Friday, 2 October 2009

Good names day

Yesterday was what you would call a good day for TSF blogging, with six - count 'em - six readers providing names to go with their comments.

John Downing, Jim Slotek, Ian Harvey, Rob Lamberti, Bill Sandford and Butch McLarty all included their names in contrast to the usual sea of "anonymous" comments.

Slotek and Lamberti are still on the job; Downing, Harvey and Sandford are former Toronto Sun staffers and McLarty is a vocal non-Sun Media blogger in London.

As we've said before, there are no doubt legitimate reasons for some TSF readers still on the job to withhold their names, but not all staffers.

And why former Sun Media employees and people who have never worked for Sun Media?

Slotek, a veteran Toronto Sun entertainment writer, is equally perturbed by the abundance of anonymous comments.

His latest reaction to an anonymous comment yesterday reads:

"If the post is anonymous, how can it be 'for the record?'

"For cryin' out loud, what is in that post that compels the poster to enter the Witness Protection Program?

"Can't anybody post under their own name? Try it. It feels gooood."

We second that emotion.

Journalists should not be fearful of losing their jobs for speaking their mind about legitimate workplace issues.

And if you are targeted and lose your job for being vocal, is that an employer you want to work for in the first place?

Life is too short to be a neutered pawn in the workplace.

Take a stand, speak your mind, toss shoes, whatever. You are not living and working in a third world dictatorship, even though Quebecor's work environment might mirror the experience.


  1. Wow Jim ... good to see you're completely oblivious to what most Sun Media employees live with.

    Let's see, you're near retirement and have a cushy, union-protected job at the flagship paper, where even if things suck, they suck considerably less than the other papers in the chain.

    Why don't you step down out of your bubble and spend a few weeks in Brantford, Peterborough or St. Catharines? Check your morale after working in papers that take away water coolers, shut down entire departments on a whim, and lock the doors to the public at 1 p.m. (nice, Welland, nice). These papers are run by beaten down, disillusioned people slowly being drained of any and all love they once had for this industry. And if they dare speak out about anything, management has naive college kids waiting to take their place.

    "If you are targeted and lose your job for being vocal, is that an employer you want to work for in the first place?"

    Oh my God ... do you really work in this industry?

    Glad things are rosy for you at the Sun, but don't pretend you share a single thing in common with the rest of us.

  2. Wow, you sound like our publisher, slamming "anonymous" tipsters as cowards. You were on to something good here, but you're backing down, and that's your choice. Criticizing those of us who supplied your content for so long is a low blow. It's easy for a retiree to say "is that the sort of place you want to work," but in reality, we have been told we'll be fired if it's discovered we contribute to your site. We took that chance to help you and our fellow workers across this country. You think that's a mistake? This is my last visit to your site.

  3. If there were other jobs out there - in any field - I'd be happy to put my name here. Since jobs are few and far between and I like to pay rent, put gas in my car and have some food every now then, I'll keep my name out and keep my paycheque.
    I am sure you'll find most people that post anonymously are in the same boat.
    Try and tell a manager, publisher or anyone else high up in the chain that closing offices, cutting back hours, cutting staff, etc. is hurting the paper and you'll get blank stares, outright hostility, or someone who sticks to the company mantra that 'it's happening everywhere and we have to live it.'
    You're right, we shouldn't be fearful, but we are. I'm vocal as hell and I count myself lucky that they have targeted me as yet. I'd love to work for a company that understood newspapers, but I'm stuck at one that doesn't. Clearly this company doesn't get the fact that the changes it is making are hurting the papers. When circ numbers start to drop they'll lay off more people and the paper will hurt more. And numbers will drop more and they'll lay off more. Quebecor doesn't think there is a correlation between less staff, dumb office hours, piss-poor customer service and declining circulation.
    PKP is killing papers because he can, because he is a dictator, because he listens to the ass kissers that surround him and to the voices in his head that tell him he's on the right track. Someone in the past at a paper somewhere must have really pissed him off. Or he just wants to drain what money he can for a future failed attempt at a hockey team, or for his future failed cellphone network in one province.

  4. I now truly believe PKP is actually running this website, sitting back in his lounge chair, zipping a martini and chuckling every time a post is made.

  5. With this shot at anonymous folks such as myself, either the owner of this site has jumped the shark, or he is up to something -- perhaps attracting posters in order to defend his site from attacks from others. I hope it's the latter.

  6. Some of us know where the bodies are buried and who buried them.

    Anna Nonymous

  7. >>>If you are targeted and lose your job for being vocal, is that an employer you want to work for in the first place?"

    Oh my God ... do you really work in this industry? <<<

    You just keep going on, Emily Natella. I didn't write the stuff you're quoting. That would be the proprietor of this blog, who extrapolated a rant of his own from my few words. Nice job keeping your eye on the ball.
    I totally understand people in sensitive situations saying things that could have repercussions and wanting to hide their identities. Repeat... I understand. But EVERYBODY posts anonymously here about the most innocuous things - in the case that set me off, who exactly it was that wrote what Sun headline during the Turbot War with Spain. The whole thing happened years ago, nobody involved works there anymore. There is absolutely zero justification for anonymity in that post.
    As for the hellhole that you guys live in as opposed to "the flagship," let's see... water coolers taken away (check), departments closed down (check). 1 p.m. closing? Nope.
    In the words of Jim Croce, like the pine trees lining the winding road, I've got a name.
    Jim Slotek
    Vice Chair
    Toronto Sun Unit
    Local 87-M

  8. Jim, some of us don't have unions to protect us and that's why we don't post our names.
    I'm not saying your hiding behind the union, I'm just saying it'd be harder for the bosses to get you than those at non-union papers.
    I'm glad you're able to post under you own name and wish I could. And I don't think you come off as the 'flagship guy.' I know all the papers in the chain are hurting

  9. "Life is too short to be a neutered pawn in the workplace."

    Guarantee our jobs then you might get more names. We have to be "neutered pawns" or else we might not get paycheques. Some of us don't have a union to hide behind. Get out of the 416 once in a while and actually connect with some of the smaller papers.

  10. Wha? This isn't the '70s anymore? More than one story a week? Can't jump across the street and find another job? When did I get out of touch?

  11. Okay, I'll try this one more time. I 'get' what current Sun Media employees are saying - even if what they're posting is not the least bit controversial, they don't want their names associated with this blog.
    But - again - what about people who have never worked for Sun Media, or who don't anymore? What's their excuse? Are they all Sandra Bussin?
    Again, those with legitimate concerns aside, I think anonymity has simply become the fallback mode for many people who post on the 'Net, no matter where. And that's just a sad trend.
    Anyway, it's exhausting debating with shadows. I'm done. My condolences to anyone who's Anonymous for a good reason.