Thursday, 8 October 2009

Tab-less Sun

The Toronto Sun's news pages are as far from "tabloid" as they have ever been, with frequent multiple pages devoted to single topics.

Eight pages for Dave Miller's recent decision not to seek re-election as mayor of Toronto.

And eight pages today for the eHealth Ontario scandal.

Plus other news stories spread over two or three pages.

Are these decisions being made locally, or is PKP directly responsible for abandoning the successful "tight and bright" tabloid style in favour of "loose as a goose" to fill space?

Eight pages for one topic is broadsheet journalism, not the successful "tight and bright" tabloid formula that Sun readers favoured for several decades.

No news story was continued on another page and rarely did a major news event devour more than a page or two, let alone seven or eight, elections being an exception.

But with a bare bones newsroom at 333, the line of least resistance seems to have called for an end to "tight and bright" and have remaining bodies write until the cows come home.

Whatever, the Sun's tight tabloid style, which filled a niche envied by major dailies across North America, is being ignored.

Its sports and entertainment sections are, as always, top notch. They are consistently meaty in content, with numerous stories catering to readers with varied interests.

It is the news pages that have lost their tabloid appeal.

Audits showing a steady decline in readership should be signalling management that the news direction is not what readers want in their daily tabloid.

The Internet has an abundance of free broadsheet journalism. Why would tabloid readers want to pay for more of the same?

A return to tighter tabloid news fare might renew the interest of former Sun readers. Give them their quick read back and leave lengthy news analysis to the Star and Globe.

One problem at the Sun is just about every editor who had true tabloid front page and layout skills has left the building, including those in the 1970s and 1980s British invasion.

1 comment:

  1. The trend on city desk over the last 4 years had been to Balkanize major stories into as many pieces as possible. The theory was to create numerous "points of entry" into a story.

    This is fine when when the sidebars work naturally. Too often, however, what could have been one well crafted story became three or four weaker sisters filled with overlap.