Thursday, 1 October 2009

You Said It 2

Ian Harvey, a former Toronto Sun newsroom vet, speaks his mind about the direction of the once unpredictable tabloid:

"The Sun was always and will always be a tits and ass, sports and celebrity tabloid.


It's the one thing that competitively differentiates it from the broadsheets, especially the Star.

These days, there's little to choose from between Metro, 24 and the Sun. In a crowded market, you have to stand out. Everyone knows - or used to know as the poster points out - that the front page is the single biggest sales trigger.

Back in the day, wholesalers would bump or drop their buy at the dock based on the front page. While weather, TTC strikes and the like all had an effect on sales, the biggest pull was always shock value.

Love it or hate it, you picked it up because you never knew what you were going to see or read when you turned the page.

The Sun broke stories, it pumped stories into issues which others ignored. And then, it started to become the little broadsheet that couldn't. Not because of the staff, but because of dumb executives who saw numbers and wanted a larger market share.

The Sun cannot, will not and will never draw from the larger pool. It has a core base of appeal and it's very hard as we've seen to grow it past that.

Trying to appeal to more women, trying to cut into other demographics, just hasn't worked and along the way they've pissed off the core by cutting the (upfront) SSG, scaling back the sex ads, toning down the sensationalism, making it more bland, more corporate and McPapering the damn thing.

Take a page from the Red Tops PKP, let the paper be what it has always been - an in your face, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead kick ass tab.

Say the unsayable, think the unthinkable, do the outrageous. Have fun and tilt at those windmills.

Leave blandville to the Star, Post and Globe.

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. You won't, will you PKP, because you want that sameness even as the ship sinks around your feet.

A fully saturated segment is worth more than a slice of a multifaceted segment. You still make money and you can do it with fewer resources, though not as few as you've left in place at 333 King East.

Ahh well. Tried."

Thank you for your comments, Ian.


  1. Actually, for those of us who were professional journalists, the Sun was a NEWSPAPER. The tits and ass wee just a sidebar, a holdover from Brit tabs really.

    When I finally packed up my home office here in Barrie, I packed up some 20 different awards, for mostly NEWS photos, and some features. I also found others still in a box in the basement, there hadn't been room to hang them all.

    It's sad to see what a shell of a newspaper the Sun is now, and a lot of the people no longer working there should take a bow. We were the ones that made the Sun what it was in it's hay day.

    There are so many things wrong with the situation, that it could never be corrected.

    Bill Sandford

  2. ..what it was in"its heyday".

    You're welcome.

  3. We were the ones "who" made the Sun

    You're welcome