Monday, 29 June 2009

Funnel photos

So did the Toronto Sun pay Adam Strongman for today's 10 funnel cloud photos, the ones being offered for sale by the tabloid for about $50 a pop?

"Photos at the Whitby/Oshawa border of a funnel cloud attempting to form and touch down on June 29, 2009. (Photo by Adam Strongman)"

Strongman gets photo credits at, but how about some cash for the rare Ontario funnel cloud pictures?

The Sun is also using a photo submitted by Willem Woudwyk.

It's Sun Media's Your Scoop at work again. The solicitation of photos for world-wide, copyright-free use by Sun Media in exchange for a photo credit.

Yes, we know a lot of media are doing it, but it doesn't make it right.

Globe talks

Veteran labour mediator William Kaplan has been called in by both sides in Globe and Mail contract talks, says a CNW Group release.

Company and union negotiators will meet with Kaplan on Thursday, extending tomorrow night's lockout/strike/work-to-rule deadline to midnight Thursday.

The news blackout on the talks continues.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

TorSun -4

The Little Paper That Once Grew got smaller again this week.

A TSF tipster says four non-union employees in the Toronto Sun circulation department were pink-slipped on Thursday.

If names and Sun Media work experience are provided, TSF will provide a sendoff to recognize their contribution to the tabloid.

We are eager to see a current Toronto Sun payroll count following a decade of layoffs, firings, buyouts and resignations.

Just how few people are needed to publish the Sun these days?

Stay tuned.

Sun venting

Nicole Marr is a former eight-year Sun Media vet who saw her job in Alberta vanish through cutbacks while on maternity leave.

Now on the outside looking in, she is concerned about the path taken by Sun Media and is in "mourning" for Quebecor.

She writes:

"I'm glad I found the TSF blog, but I tell you, each day I read it my heart breaks a little more.

"I was at the Edmonton Sun, Spruce Grove Examiner/Stony Plain Reporter, Calgary Sun, Cochrane Times, and Airdrie Echo over a period of eight years. I may not have been around for everything, and Quebecor may not have been the greatest company to work for, but I was happy working there (mostly it was usually people I had a problem with, not the company.

"I am on maternity leave currently, but had left Cochrane/Airdrie four months prior because I didn't want to be eight months pregnant and on the winter highways between Calgary and Airdrie. Therefore I have no job to go back to.

"Then again, shortly after I left, they consolidated the production departments to the Sun, so I'd have no job in Airdrie anyway. I was hoping these were all temporary measures in a tough economy. But after reading TSF, it sounds like the problems are across the board, across the country.

"I'm mourning for Quebecor. It's like they have a slow-killing cancer. If they keep up with the cuts and the strong-arming across the country, they're going to die off. How can they expect to compete with Black Press, or all of the independents that are springing up?

"They seem to think the ball they started rolling is going to save them, but by losing all of their staff (whether from layoffs or resignations), and losing all their local content, they're losing their readership. Losing your readership is a harder obstacle to overcome than staff-loss ever could be.

"I apologize for the long, rambling email. I needed to vent re: Quebecor, and TSF is a perfectly understanding place.

"Nicole Marr

"(ps, if you hear of anyone wanting to start an independent in the Calgary area, let me know. I can run a production department!.)"

Thank you for your e-mail Nicole. All the best in motherhood and future employment.

Friday, 26 June 2009

More goodbyes

A string of Sun Media editors have called it quits in recent months and the most recent is Bill Duke, editor of the Strathmore Standard in Alberta.

Duke, who said his farewell to readers yesterday in an online editorial, is moving on to an online hockey site job.

He started as a Standard sports reporter in 2007 and became editor last August.

"My decision to leave the Standard at this juncture comes for a number of reasons, but ultimately, it was just time to move on," he writes.

A TSF tipster says you can read Quebecor management into the reasons for Duke's resignation.

Another TSF tipster says Jeff McCoshen, managing editor of the Daily Herald-Tribute in Grande Prairie, Akberta, has called it quits two weeks short of 20 years with the paper.

McCoshen was hired in 1989 as a sports reporter, became sports editor in 1989, moved to the city desk in 1999, became news editor in 2004 and managing editor last July.

Sounds like a newsman who knows the business and would be an asset to Sun Media.

"Word is he didn't like the direction the company is headed," said the tipster.

Meanwhile, TSF awaits details of the departure of the Barrie Examiner's managing editor, as noted yesterday by a TSF reader.

If it's not layoffs and firings across the Sun Media chain, it is resignations.

We admire any newsroom employee who stands by his or her principles and walks over stifling working conditions.

Life is too short.

All the best, Bill, Jeff et al.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Re Bill Nicholson

Toronto Sun Family members who worked with Bill Nicholson in the Toronto Sun library are being asked to help with a relative's family tree research.

Norri writes: "My Great Uncle was Bill Nicholson. He is deceased. I am researching family history of Nicholson and any photos or stories about My Uncle Bill (would be) greatly appreciated."

Any stories to tell about Bill? Please e-mail. We're sure Bill, one of the 62 Day Oners, is mentioned in Sun books and retired Sun vets who worked with him at the Telegram and the Sun might have a story or two for Norri.

Norri: We will need your e-mail address for any information we receive.

Go Soo This Week

Sun Media's Sault Ste. Marie This Week posted this an hour ago and we are repeating it verbatim should it soon vanish from the web site.

Based on a survey and "posted by Communications Workers of America Canada," the comments about Quebecor's newspaper decisions and strategy echo what frustrated Sun vets have been saying for years.

The heading: "Newspaper chains could reverse readership losses by restoring local content: survey says"

The story:

June 25, 2009 / OTTAWA — Newspaper chains such as Quebecor Sun Media could reverse readership declines in mid-size Canadian cities if they restored local content and once again became a pillar of the communities they purport to serve, a poll commissioned by CWA Canada indicates.

“Publishers and newspaper companies complain that the financial model for the media industry is broken and papers are endangered because of competition from the Internet. This poll shows that providing quality local coverage and properly serving and representing their readers may be the real remedy for newspapers, particularly those in medium-sized cities such as those that were surveyed,” says Arnold Amber, the director of CWA Canada, the union that represents thousands of media workers in the country.

"Although our poll was conducted in six cities in Ontario where Quebecor Sun Media publishes daily newspapers and we have hundreds of members, we believe the findings would apply across Canada," says Amber.

Citing tough times in the media industry, Quebecor has over the past 18 months cut hundreds of jobs at its newspapers and exported editorial, circulation, production, and advertising work to non-union facilities outside of the communities where the newspapers are published.

"These communities have supported and depended upon their local newspaper for, in some cases, more than a century. To be a good local newspaper, it needs more than just the name of the city on its front page," says Amber.

The CWA Canada poll found that Quebecor could regain almost half the readers it has lost in major Ontario cities in recent years were it to improve the quality of coverage of local news, people and events.

Of those who had been regular readers, 42 per cent said they would become so again if they could be assured that local coverage would be improved. Were that to happen, Quebecor could increase its readership in the six cities from 53 to nearly 58 per cent of the adult population.

The polling company Vector surveyed 611 people in Kingston, St. Catharines, Peterborough, Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste Marie between May 19 and 26. There is 95-per-cent certainty the poll results would not vary by more than 4.0 per cent in either direction if all adults in the six cities had been interviewed.

The regular (at least five times a week) and long-term readers were the ones to most readily identify a decrease in local news and the corresponding increase in the use of content from Quebecor's other Sun papers from Toronto, Ottawa or other places. On both counts, about one third noticed these changes: 32 per cent registered the drop in local coverage and 31 per cent the increase of material from Sun Media sources outside their cities. About 23 per cent of all readers were aware of the drop in local coverage and 25 per cent noted the increase of Sun Media content.

The poll shows extreme opposition to suggestions floated by Quebecor earlier this year that it might on Saturdays substitute the Toronto or Ottawa Sun papers for the local daily. An overwhelming 68 per cent said this is a bad idea; only 20 per cent liked the suggestion.

If Quebecor stops publishing its local newspapers on Mondays - another idea the company has bandied about - approximately one in six readers (16 per cent) said they would not buy their local paper on the other days of the week. These findings indicate that, if Monday editions were dropped, Quebecor could lose up to 22 per cent of circulation in the six cities polled.

For more than the past year, the company has been reducing the editorial work it does in the cities where it publishes the local paper, moving it to other Quebecor facilities in Ontario.

The poll shows that, overwhelmingly, people in these communities are worried about the effects of this change:

• 82 per cent said they were very or somewhat concerned that there would be fewer stories about local news, people and events;

• 77 per cent said they were concerned that there would be fewer stories about what's wrong in their community that needs to be corrected;

• 76 per cent said stories are often inaccurate or not checked;

• 70 per cent were concerned there would be less space in the paper for articles by people in the community expressing their opinion on the news;

• 58 per cent were very or somewhat concerned there would be less room in the paper for letters to the editor.

"One of the functions local newspapers have is to be the watchdog over what goes on in government, school boards and other things vital to the citizens of each and every city,” says Amber. “Less local editorial input in each city doesn't make those papers better. It doesn't help them at all."

Most residents in the six cities also were upset to learn that their local newspaper no longer keeps its business office open throughout the week. In the poll, 27 per cent described their reaction as 'angry'; another 28 per cent described themselves as 'annoyed'.

In the minds of those polled, the Quebecor brand is badly tarnished, with 69 per cent saying the people running the company are "trying to do what is best for themselves" and 62 per cent saying corporate executives are most concerned with what is "best for their shareholders."

Only 32 per cent identified Quebecor as "a good corporate citizen" and only 27 per cent said they believe the company’s leaders "care about the community.”

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Mark Bell, a former Toronto Sun staffer and TSF reader, has come up with a brilliant idea for Mike Strobel's ongoing Moonlight Ladies photo spreads.

He suggests the Sun do a "where are they now" series for early SUNshine Girls from the 1970s and 1980s showing how time has treated them over the years.

They would all be post-40 women and then-and-now photos would be interesting to see, he says.

SUNshine Boys too, says Mark, a former SSB.

"I still remember a couple from the 1980s (me included) and to see them again with the before and after pic would be nice," says Mark.

Strobel could judge if those long walks on the beach and athletic interests SUNshine girls spoke of 30 to 40 years ago helped keep them looking forever young.

Chinese checkers

Sun Media's Christina Spencer wasn't invited to the Chinese foreign minister's speech in Ottawa Tuesday, but the national reporter still wrote a relatively positive story.

Read the Calgary Herald story first and then Christina's story and you have to wonder why she was not a little more outraged about being barred from the Canada China Business Council meeting.

Media reps allowed to attend included journalists for Canwest News Service, Global TV, CBC, CTV, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Omni TV and Ottawa Citizen.

The Herald story suggests the Parliament Hill Press Gallery member might have been barred because of past articles critical of the Chinese government and her calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

All kinds of people are outraged by the media clampdown in Iran. How can Canadians tolerate the exclusion of a Canadian journalist from a speech on Canadian soil?

If Spencer was barred because of her previous words about China, we would expect her, and other reporters and columnists, to be bloody irate.

Who is the Chinese minister to control media invitation lists in Canada?

If it was someone on the Canada China Business Council who barred Spencer, all the more shame for doing so.

Let's feel the outrage, Sun people.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Alberta crunch

Sun Media's Alberta weeklies continue to experience the wrath of Quebecor cutbacks, the latest being the Pincher Creek Echo and the Crowsnest Pass Promoter.

Says a TSF tipster:

"The name of the papers are the Pincher Creek Echo and the Crowsnest Pass Promoter. They are going to keep the Crowsnest Pass open only in the mornings and the reporter and sales person are to work from home.

"Two people between the two branches lost their jobs. The changeover will occur on Aug.1. Also, the Promoter lost their bid for municipal advertising. Another blow to the Sun Media paper, leaving the Crowsnest Pass Herald to reap the rewards."

Thanks for the info.

Not having a newspaper office in a small community must be a nuisance for advertisers, readers and locals who just enjoy dropping in to say hello.

Main Street newspaper offices have always provided a comfort zone for employees and their readers.

So what is expected of Sun Media employees who are working from their homes instead of a newspaper office?

Are they on call 24 hours a day?

Are they expected to have people come into their homes for interviews and business dealings?

Are they compensated for business-related expenses in the home?

Is there a dress code for the home office?

Just what are they expected to surrender in the name of Sun Media?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Habs safe, but ...

Numerous anonymous TSF readers are celebrating PKP's failed attempt to buy the Habs, as is Bleacher Report columnist Daniel Arouchian.

In an online column today - Montreal Canadiens: Fans Happy, Quebecor Not New Owner - Arouchian provides a long list of reasons Habs fans are celebrating the Molson family's winning bid.

One TSF reader thought the loss of the Habs bid might mean a breather in Sun Media cuts, but . . .

"There is another change at a community weekly Alberta paper and people have received their layoff notice for the end of July."

Name of paper? How many employees?

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Share Sun photos

The discovery of Twitter's photo upload service raises another Toronto Sun Family source of sharing - Sun-related photos taken over the decades but never shared.

Special events, parties, sports outings, farewell gatherings, Sun anniversary celebrations etc.

If you have any photo favourites you would like to share and know how to send them as jpegs or gifs, please e-mail them.

We're sure there are some photos from the Toronto Sun's anniversary celebrations others would like to see. We'll post them on our new twitpic page as they arrive.

For now, we'll upload some of our favourite Sun fronts and special memories.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Saturday. updates

Globe and Mail staffers have voted 97% in favour of a strike in contract talks that expire in 10 days.

PKP has lost his bid to buy the Montreal Canadiens, The Molson family has apparently agreed to pay more than $500 million to regain ownership of the Habs.

We're not sure about the logic of the strike vote, but hockey and beer are a perfect match.

Friday, 19 June 2009

British bonanza

The British Library has unveiled its new 19th century newspaper archives project providing free and paid access to more than two million pages from 49 London, national and regional newspapers.

British Newspapers 1800-1900 allows online archive searchers to select an outcome that includes free access to content, not just results that require payment.

Only in Great Britain? Pity.

The Toronto Star's Pages of the Past is a paid archives search service for the newspaper covering 110 years, but we are not aware of any multi-publication newspaper search services in Canada.

We would pay for access to all of the pages of the Toronto Sun from Day One in '71, and the Toronto Telegram, and the Globe and Mail etc.

CP re strike vote

David Friend of the Canadian Press reviews today's newspaper woes as Globe and Mail employees prepare for a strike vote tomorrow.

Interesting read.

George's award

Congrats to Dwayne De Rosario, the second recipient of the George Gross Memorial Trophy.

Any trophy carrying the name of the late, great Toronto Sun founding sports editor, carries a lot of weight.

The Toronto FC web site says De Rosario received the award after being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 Nutrilite Canadian Championship, helping Toronto FC win the 2009 Voyageurs Cup.

The first recipient was Impact's goalkeeper Matt Jordan who won the award in 2008.

Toronto FC devotes equal space to The Baron's own achievements as a Canadian sports legend.

George died in March of last year and the void left at the Sun and in sports circles is as large as ever.

Money, money

Quebecor Media has set up a new branch, but it has nothing to do with enhancing the quality of journalism across its newspaper chain.

Nope, it's a new flyer, printing and distributing subsidiary, says a Canadian Press story.

Love those money-making flyers. Quebecor Media distributed more than 1.5 billion across Canada last year, says CP.

Critics say many of Quebecor's smaller dailies and weeklies are being turned into glorified shoppers, with flyers shadowing local content.

CP says the move will group its printing plants in Toronto and Mirabel, Que., north of Montreal, with Alex Media Services, Messageries Dynamiques and the community weekly distribution network under the banner Quebecor Media Network.

(Keeping track of your Quebecors: Quebecor Inc., Quebecor Media, Quebecor World, Quebecor Media Inc., Quebecor Media Network.)

Which raises the question of printing schedules and newspaper replates?

Do the editors of Sun Media newspapers being printed at Quebecor plants still have the freedom of replates?

Can they pick up the phone and stop the presses for major news updates, the latest sports scores etc.?

Or is it one uninterrupted press run squeezed between flyer and telephone directory print jobs?

A TSF tipster says the deadline for his newspaper could be pushed back to 7 p.m. because of printing plant scheduling.

A responsible and competitive print media is clearly at the bottom of the list of PKP's priorities.

Expositor blues

The Brantford Expositor, much like the Windsor Star, London Free Press, Hamilton Spectator, Kingston Whig-Standard, Peterborough Examiner, Ottawa Citizen, the defunct Ottawa Journal etc., was once on the must-apply list for young journalists.

It was a solid and respected stepping stone up from smaller weeklies and dailies in the province.

But, as a disillusioned source tells TSF: "Tough times here at The Expositor."

"The building that has been our home for 114 years is for sale, some say sold.

"The paper looks like crap. It is filled with daily mistakes to the point where faithful readers and old employees can't stand to look at it any more.

"Local columnists have been slashed. Sometimes, we like Sun Media columnists so much we run their stuff several times.

"There is one poor editor at night to copy edit everything, slot positions and write headlines. Then he ships it all off to Woodstock and crosses his fingers. He's rarely pleased with the results.

"The rumour is PKP is coming for a visit soon and . . . we were instructed to clean off all desks not being used (in case we look over staffed.) We hid the phones in the drawers of the desks and tucked computer monitors away.

"It's only a matter of time before some entrepreneurial sort starts a weekly with all the fired, laid-off and downsized talent out there. Meanwhile we wait and cringe for the next plot-line."

Thank you for your e-mail.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

This is cool

A comment posted today re water coolers at the Welland Tribune:

"A water cooler mysteriously appeared on the second floor of The Tribune today. Pre-press, advertising and editorial all have access to it.

"If it appeared because of this posting and this blog, then a big thank you goes out to both."

Perhaps PKP realized returning a water cooler is cheaper than repairing water pipes and taps to code under the watchful eye of health officials.

Or you have a water cooler-equipped publisher on the first floor who wants to be fair and is footing the bill for the second-floor cooler.

Sun Media employees working in older buildings have to draw the line when it comes to potential health hazards. You are not asking too much in wanting a work environment with clean air and safe drinking water.

The Fitzhugh

A TSF reader in Alberta says the revival of independent community newspapers includes the Fitzhugh, launched in Jasper in the summer of 2005.

"In the summer of 2005, a group of friends gathered with the idea of creating an independent, locally-owned newspaper that would represent the needs, issues and ideas of our community," says the online edition. "The result is the Fitzhugh.

"We currently distribute approximately 3,000 free copies weekly from over 60 distribution points in Jasper, Hinton and Valemount B.C. Our distribution during the peak season of May through October is 5,000 weekly."

Quebecor's Jasper Booster, competition for the new weekly for almost five years, closed its doors in March. It was one of two Alberta weeklies shuttered by Quebecor.

The TSF reader writes:

"What exactly is going on with Sun Media in the west-central Alberta area? First the Jasper Booster tanks, then this?

Good luck to the (Hinton) Voice.

"If nothing else, new locally owned papers like the Fitzhugh in Jasper are proving the community newspaper industry is still viable . . . with a little effort.

"It seems almost shameful a ma-and-pa paper outfought one that is owned by a big corporation with plenty of resources, which appears to be the case in Jasper. So sad is the new mentality of selling out fast."

So just how many independent community newspapers are there in Canada? We know the conglomerates own the majority of daily and weekly newspapers.

Publishers of independent newspapers are invited to profile their newspapers in TSF and describe the benefits of being independent.

The revival of interest in independent newspapers is a national story, but one we don't expect to read in any of the conglomerate newspapers.

Gillespie dynasty

The Gillespie family dynasty at the Toronto Sun, spanning Day One to last week, has come to an end with the departure of Larry Gillespie.

Larry, with 34 years under his belt, took a buyout after IT was told there would be an involuntary layoff if someone didn't volunteer to take a package.

"So Larry volunteered," says Maryanna Lewyckyj, a former Sun vet/layoff casualty and Larry's better half.

Larry, who left the building June 9, got his well-attended sendoff, but no words in the Sun for his productive, three-plus decades at the tabloid. None that we could find.

"Dave Blizzard was at the sendoff and Trudy Eagan (who was in New Brunswick presenting a scholarship in memory of her brother Tom) sent a warm message to Larry wishing him well," says Maryanna.

"Other old Sun faces at the bash included Darlene Avery, Larry's sister Colleen Leblanc, Art Roach and his wife Lindy, Andy Balfour, Randy Miller and Calvin Reynolds.

"Several current employees also managed to make it to the sendoff."

Maryanna says "kudos to Tim Peckham for a brilliant front page and to Stephen Fraser for rounding up a great photo of Larry, who is notoriously camera shy. Gary Latham coordinated the sendoff, and Larry's sister helped spread the word."

She says Larry's departure marks the end of an era for the Gillespie clan. His brother, Chris, and sister, Colleen, got laid off on the same day. And the closure of the press room eliminated positions for his brothers Glenn and Paul (a Day Oner).

The Gillespies were legends in their own time at the Sun.

Maryanna says Larry's first job at the Sun was in the Sun Syndicate department. He later moved to information services (as it was then called).

"He worked through the era when editorial types associated CSI with monochrome monitors, not high-tech forensic technology. Computer filing freedom for reporters on the road first came from Radio Shack TRS-80 computers, the model T of journalism laptops.

"It's hard to believe now that we could have put out a paper with such primitive technology. But it was the content that made the underdog Sun such a success, not the technology."

Maryanna said Larry wanted his departure to be low key, but you can't keep a 34-year man 's exit and the end of the Gillespie dynasty out of TSF.

All the best to all of the Gillespies. You made a difference.

New Hinton paper

Sun Media is advertising for a new publisher at the Hinton Parklander in Alberta.

It seems the previous publisher, along with former Parklander employees who were laid off or quit recently, are about to launch their own independent print newspaper.

It is called the Hinton Voice and TSF, for one, wishes them all the best in competing with the Parklander for advertisers and readers.

There's nothing like a new kid on the block to kickstart journalistic adrenalin.

We hope it becomes a movement.

The Parklander will have a slight edge in manpower, but as the 62 former Toronto Telegram employees who launched the Toronto Sun in 1971 learned, the need to succeed trumps conglomerate complacency every time.

Says a tipster:

"The Town of Hinton has a new independent newspaper which is set to launch its first edition.

"The Hinton Voice is staffed by former Sun Media employees who worked at the Hinton Parklander, which is still operating. One was let go during the move to have composing moved elsewhere, one quit, the other left to join the new paper.

"And apparently they have found a very sympathetic printer."

The tipster didn't mention a launch date, or whether the Hinton Voice will have a voice online, but TSF is looking forward to a photo of the first print issue to share with blog readers.

Even better, a first issue in the mail, with a TSF donation to the cause, of course.

Break a leg, folks.

All you can do is the best you can.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Not cool-er

Welland Tribune staffers say they aren't cool with publisher Ken Koyama's water cooler still up and running after they lost theirs recently.

"The newsroom/prepress/advertising water cooler was eliminated as a cost saving measure as well as the lunch room," says a TSF tipster.

"But the first floor, with publisher Ken Koyama and a few assistants, has a water cooler and lunch room which is off limits and locked up to night staff."

Meanwhile, tipsters working in other older newspapers buildings with old water pipes are raising health concerns. That leaves bottled water and some people question the safety of bottled water.

TSF wonders how many Sun Media buildings are air conditioned and is that comfort zone on the endangered list?

Sun Media employees concerned about working in unhealthy environments should request provincial air and water testing.

Air quality in the Toronto Sun newsroom was tested in the early 1980s when a concerned reporter, backed by others, called in the provincial health department to test the air quality.

It was a good move because air circulation in the new building wasn't working properly and the problem was corrected.

There is no disputing the rights of employees when it comes to a healthy work environment.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Short shorts

Hundreds of vintage, iconic red Sun newspaper boxes in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg have seen better days. On Saturday, the Winnipeg Sun, working with city business organizations, allowed children to "muralize" 40 Sun boxes to cover wear, tear and graffiti.

Almost 500 Globe and Mail employees belonging to SONG will gather at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Saturday for a strike vote. Their contract expires June 30. Why does a strike vote sound out of sync in a time of newspaper turmoil across North America?

The New York Times has been judged the best in 24/7 Wall St.'s Top 25 newspaper websites. list The Times is followed by the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, New York Post etc. Is there a comparable list for Canada? Where would Sun sites register?

Catching up: The 2008 Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards. No Sun Media honours. And the National Press Club in Ottawa has announced its three recipients for journalism scholarships.

The Kingston Whig-Standard is the latest former Osprey newspaper to lose its water coolers, says a TSF tipster.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Hanson award

A new Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award in memory of the late, award-winning Canadian Press photographer has been set up by CP, says a Hill Times story.

The story says the new award will be unveiled at an upcoming Commoners vs All-Stars soccer match in Ottawa.

Hanson died March 10 while playing pick-up hockey in Ottawa. He was 41.

The 2002 CP photographer of the year was respected among his colleagues and competitors, including current and former Sun photographers.

Good on CP for respecting his contributions to photojournalism.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Don Hunt H&S

TSF is in search of a head and shoulders photo of Don Hunt, the Toronto Sun's founding general manager, to complete our Sun co-founders mug shot gallery.

Photos of his brother, Jim "Shaky" Hunt, a Sun sports columnist who died at 79 in March of 2006, are plentiful, but Don appears to have been more camera shy.

If you have a suitable H&S, please e-mail it to TSF.

Jamie -20 years

It was 20 years ago today when Jamie Westcott's battle with brain cancer came to an end at age 25.

Jamie. a natural as a go-getting Toronto Sun crime reporter in the 1980s, left an indelible impression on colleagues and friends. The presence of Clare Westcott's son in the newsroom was felt immediately after he was hired with the help of Doug Creighton.

Clare says Jamie was first given a summer job while recovering from a brain operation and was hired full-time in the fall after impressing everyone in the newsroom.

"He didn`t want to return to Centennial College for the doctor said although he could live a long time - if it returned (for it was melanoma) he would have one to three years.

"Jamie loved the Sun, but as you know the damn cancer came back in the Spring of `89 and when it got into his lungs, he had to quit."

Before he died, Jamie was told a crime reporting award in his name would be awarded annually.

"Although it was difficult to talk, Jamie said, "Mom, I`m not worried (about being forgotten) any more," says Clare.

Jamie's wide smile and positive attitude while staring down a terminal illness inspired others around him, including college buddy Joe Vecsi, who wanted to share his memories of Jamie with TSF readers. He writes:

"Jamie and I attended Regina Mundi College in London, Ontario, together for Grades 12 and 13 and we were very close friends. We remained friends up until the time of his death.

"People naturally gravitated towards Jamie. He had that special charisma and endless sense of humour that would simply radiate through a crowd.

"Many individuals who are blessed with such qualities tend to associate themselves with specific groups. Jamie didn’t care about social pretenses; he was just as friendly and open to someone who wasn’t popular as he was to his closest friends.

"And he had a precocious side as well.

"My favorite memory is Jamie convincing a group of us to sneak away from boarding school to preview the release of Porky’s at a nearby drive-in. After a lot of laughs and some terrible apple wine, someone managed to sneak into the school.

"A parade of cars entered into Regina Mundi (lights off) barely missing hitting the priest who lived in an outside 'hut' in order to be at one with nature.

"The next day, five of us were suspended but it was worth every minute of it.

"Regards, Joe Vecsi, manager, corporate communications CNW Group."

Sun stiffs kids

PKP's ongoing campaign to strip all of the "give" at Sun Media community newspapers while maximizing the "take" now extends to sponsorship of amateur sports teams.

The Welland Tribune says Sun Media is withdrawing the Tribune's financial sponsorship of the boys and girls basketball tournaments in the community.

The Tribune says Quebecor's decision also applies to Sun Media sponsorship of other tournaments in Niagara, such as the St. Catharines Standard and Niagara Falls Review basketball tournaments, as well as other events sponsored by Sun Media newspapers.

Organizers in Welland say upcoming boys and girls basketball team tournaments previously sponsored by the Tribune will be held as scheduled while the search for new sponsors continues.

Ken Koyama, publisher of the Tribune, told readers the newspaper will continue to support both tournaments with “excellent” coverage and promotion.

Coverage, but no cash for amateur sports in the community? That is taking "community" out of community newspapers.

No doubt the decision to axe sponsorships will be felt at newspapers across the Sun Media chain.

Koyama blames the recession for the elimination of community sports sponsorships.

We could use most of George Carlin's seven words to react to that Quebecor-fed B.S.

PKP is just squeezing every last cent out of his newspapers, shafting the employees who produce them and the communities who have supported them for decades.

But hey, bidding for ownership of an NHL team like the Montreal Canadiens can be costly.

Friday, 12 June 2009

L3Cs for Canada?

If Canada has anything comparable to the L3C - low-profit, limited-liability corporations - in the United States, bring it on.

Ryan Blethen, in a Seattle Times editorial column, says L3C regulations available in some U.S. states could lead to a revival of independent, locally-owned community newspapers.

"For nearly 40 years, newspapers have been acquired by publicly traded corporations or ever-expanding privately held, but highly leveraged, companies," he writes. "The inexorable, greed-fueled feast might finally be coming to an end.

"An industry-transforming recession has exposed the decay of decades of corporate and profit-driven newspaper ownership."

He says the U.S. L3C "might be the perfect pairing for journalism and business. It would permit a company to act as a nonprofit and attract investors but allow for modest earnings.

"Even better, the overriding reason for an L3C is the public role it endows. This is a model made for the mission of newspapers."

Blethen goes into more detail about L3Cs and their potential to preserve journalism based on principles, not profit.

Most newspaper people we have known since the 1960s didn't get into journalism to make a million. Some did, but the majority just wanted to do their jobs as best they could and try to make a difference in the community while earning a decent wage.

Pride and dignity, two things Quebecor has hijacked from Sun Media employees in the past decade, could be revived by an unloading of properties to people who truly care about journalism.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Tilley praise

Toronto Sun vet Lorrie Goldstein has devoted a full column to Steve Tilley, the prolific gamer/Internet writer who is making the Sun shine with his passion for all things electronic.

As Lorrie, the associate editor, says: "No other Canadian writer, and few in North America, has Tilley's knowledge, ability to break major stories - at times even scooping the gaming industry's own publications - and access to industry executives."

Your said it, Lorrie.

Tilley's Internet page on Mondays and his weekend gaming coverage are a winning combo for readers.

The Sun devotes a lot pf pages to gaming, the Internet, wrestling, cooking, historic Toronto etc. - but we're still waiting for a writer with a passion for all things gambling to package a weekly page in print editions.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Finding printers

A TSF reader posted an anonymous comment this week suggesting the availability of printing presses might be scarce for journalists wanting to launch new community newspapers.

And too costly to buy.

Perhaps, but there are small printing companies capable of printing thousands of newspapers in the page range of community papers.

An independent antiques newspaper we know of has a commercial printer print 20,000 copies of each issue. The most recent issue was 36 pages.

Printing the new product is not out of reach. All you need is the determination to sell the ads, write the copy and distribute the papers.

Let townsfolk know a new print newspaper is in town and canvass the business community for potential classified and display advertising.

Start with a weekly. Focus on everything local: news, sports, entertainment, social notes, obits, weddings etc. And lots of photos of local people.

Be innovative.

If you think new print newspapers aren't feasible these days, take a look at Snap, a photo-heavy publication launched in Newmarket in 2004 by Paul Dutton and Jon Henderson. There are now franchises across Canada, one in the U.S. and one in Italy.

The people who launched Snap found a welcomed niche - a free community paper filled with photos of men, women, children and pets. As they say, everybody wants their picture in the paper.

In launching your own community newspaper, start small, but think big. Not too big. Just big enough to keep your advertisers and readers content while paying the office rent and the wages.

If journalism is in your heart and printer's ink in your veins, get together with other like-minded, unemployed media men and women and give it a try.

Launching an independent community newspaper could be the most personally satisfying venture of your life.

Tori & Michele

The Toronto Sun got off to a slow start in the abduction of eight-year-old Victoria "Tori" Stafford in April and the coverage that followed was erratic at best.

In a nutshell, Sun Media economics got in the way of adequately covering a national story.

Sun Media owns the Woodstock Sentinel-Review, the London Free Press and the Toronto Sun, so you would think coverage would have been superior on all fronts.

But it wasn't, not in print.

The woefully understaffed Sentinel-Review relied on the London Free Press.

The Toronto Sun relied on the Sentinel-Review, London Free Press and the Canadian Press, rather than send its own reporters and columnists to Woodstock.

Yes, the Sun dispatched columnist Joe Warmington to the scene a couple of times, but only on day trips. There were days when the Sun used only CP copy. Bizarre.

So Michele Mandel's Sunday Sun column detailing Saturday's emotional memorial service for Tori makes us wonder why she was not assigned to the Woodstock story in April.

She is an award-winning columnist and an empathetic mother. Sun readers would have been better served had she been there often, as were the Globe's Christie Blatchford and CTV's Austin Delaney, instead of watching the story unfold on TV.

But that would have created an expense account and the profitable Toronto Sun prefers the line of least resistance - and least expenses - in covering the news these days.

Sun columnists excel as wordsmiths in dramas of the heart. Seeing them sit on the sidelines for major out-of-town stories because of budget restraints is disheartening.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Media unions

Speaking of unions . . .

Re Metro Toronto: Old news, circa 2007. Apologies.

Meanwhile, the Communications Workers of America is targeting Sun Media employees in Barrie for union organizing in an online pitch.

The intro reads:

await Sun Media employees in Barrie

Your colleagues at other newspapers owned by Quebecor/Sun Media probably earn more than you. Chances are, they have more vacation time, better benefits and enjoy a work/life balance that you can only envy.

In other words, they get what they deserve.


They are members of CWA Canada and they have introduced democracy into their workplaces. We'd like to help you do the same in Barrie."

Is the CWA targeting the Barrie Examiner, Sun Media's "centre of excellence" in Barrie, or both?

And is CWA competing with SONG for new members? We've never understood the need for more than one strong media union in the province.

But check out CWA's April story about Quebccor's continuing job cuts at former Osprey newspapers: "Layoffs, outsourcing, department closures leave Ontario dailies a lot less local in nature"

"If Quebecor continues to outsource jobs and centralize production, the only thing that might still be local about many of Ontario's daily newspapers could be the nameplate on the front page," says the CWA.

"Jobs and entire departments are being relentlessly chopped at former Osprey Media newspapers - many of which have served their communities for more than a century - as Quebecor's Sun Media division sends more and more work to non-unionized company facilities in Barrie."

Ah, the Barrie connection . . .

"The cuts have been keenly felt in Kingston, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, where the loss of the four-person composing room led to the demise of a CWA Canada Local, the Sudbury Typographical Union."

That story was posted in April and, as you know, job cuts and cutbacks at former Osprey newspapers continue almost weekly.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Sherri Woodstock 2

A second annual music fest to celebrate the life of the late Sherri Wood, a Toronto Sun entertainment writer, will be held Aug. 29.

Bill Brioux, a TV critic who who worked with Sherri at the Sun, says her mother, Debbie, has confirmed the Horseshoe Tavern for the music fest. Tickets, $10 at the door.

More information about the performers etc. will be posted later on Debbie's Facebook page and on Brioux's Sherri Woodstock site.

The first Sherri Woodstock last year was organized just months after Sherri died of brain cancer at 28.

Petrolia 2

Updated 6/06/09
Brian Whipp
, a former 25-year Edmonton and Calgary Suns employee, tells TSF his father, Charlie, purchased the Petrolia Advertiser Topic in 1961 and nurtured it until ihe sold it n 1979 to the Dresden News.

Brian, who notes that the town of Peterolia "has continually been served by a local office and newspaper since 1866," writes:

"My dad purchased the Petrolia Advertiser Topic in 1961 after working at the London Free Press and other dailies.

"I grew up in Petrolia and we converted the paper from letterpress to offset in the mid to late '60's, taking negatives to Webco to print on their community press along with many other weeklies.

"Dad later bought a King Press and we moved and produced the paper from a plant that used to make steel sinks adjoining the new Oil Rig restaurant.

"The newspaper has a very long and proud history and I am sure the people of Petrolia always had a special relationship with their local newspaper, which is somewhat lost now with people now selling ads from their houses.

"This is a sad day indeed."

For a bit of history, Brian says Peterolia had two papers in the early years: the Advertiser and The Topic. They were merged in 1919 and eventually became The Topic.

His dad, an RCAF WW2 vet, started his newspaper career in 1947 at the Port Hope Guide, followed by the London Free Press and the Windsor Star.

Thank you for your comments, Brian. Our best regards to your father.

Whig gutted

The Kingston Whig-Standard lost five more newsroom employees last night, leaving demoralized employees wondering if cutbacks at Canada's oldest daily newspaper will ever end.

Pink slipped at 6 p.m. were reporter Jordan Press; photographer Mark Bergin; deputy news editor Tim Gordanier; copy editor Peter Hendra; features department editor Mike Onesi.

One TSF source said the paper is "down to 10 full-time editorial employees, including reporters, photogs and paginators. And that's putting out a paper six days a week. Do the math. The company won't."

The once proud Whig-Standard is being gutted rather than being cherished for the historic, flagship Ontario daily that it is, says another source.

"They're down to about half of where they were a year ago. And that's a paper that should matter. With its history, they should be moulding it into a flagship, not destroying it."

The latest Whig casualties?

"(Jordan was) the best young reporter they've had in decades (the other great young reporter, Brock Harrison, left last year for Alberta government because the writing was on the wall). Tim was the best paginator they had. (and) Peter one of the sharpest copy editors."

When features department editor Sarah Crosbie was fired, they gave the job to Mike Onesi, "then six months later, she's working at a radio station and he's out on his ass. Brutal."

Generations of cub reporters scouting Ontario dailies to gain experience looked to the Whig-Standard over the years, along with the Toronto dailies and Ottawa.

It all began in 1834 as a weekly with the founding of the British Whig, which merged with the Kingston Daily Standard in 1926.

Various families ran the newspaper for 166 years, until 1990 when the first of several conglomerates took over. That would be Southam, followed by Hollinger, followed by Osprey, followed by Quebecor in 2007.

Osprey employees had witnessed eight years of cutbacks at Sun Media tabloids when Quebecor bought their newspapers in the summer of 2007.

Family ownership is now looking good to the surviving Whig-Standard employees.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Dresden -office

A TSF tipster who told us about Sun Media's decision to close the Petrolia Topic newspaper office also said the Dresden Leader office is being terminated.

We couldn't find an online story for the Leader office closing, so if TSF readers down Chatham way can fill in the details, it would be appreciated.

Any layoffs? How many employees still on the job? When will the office close?

Our tipster did say:

"Two more weekly offices (being) closed in Dresden and Petrolia, as announced in both publications on Wednesday.

"Too bad for these small community papers and their dedicated readers, employees and advertisers. The papers will continue to publish under the Sun Media name and will still carry local news and concerns . . . sure like (that) has happened at every newspaper in the area,.

"All will become PKP cookie cutter products with no concern to readers or the communities they serve.

"When will someone stand up and say enough?"

Petrolia slim

The Petrolia Topic has had a newspaper office to serve the Sarnia-area community for more than a century.

Sun Media is closing the weekly paper's office June 12, leaving one reporter -David Pattenaude - and a sales rep - Dave Martin - working from their homes to carry on with the print edition.

TSF hasn't heard if layoffs are involved, but this is how readers of the Petrolia Topic, the town's only newspaper, were informed of the office closure on Wednesday:

Things are changing at your community newspaper.

2009 has brought with it new business challenges. Due to the conditions currently prevailing in both the local and global economies, we are forced to close our office in Petrolia effective Friday, June 12.

Rest assured our commitment to our friends and neighbours in this community and the surrounding area remains as strong as it has ever been. Despite the closure of the local office, the Topic will continue to operate as a Sun Media publication with its own distinct identity.

We will continue to have a reporter, whose work is focused on covering the goings-on in Petrolia and the surrounding area, bringing you the news you care about from the town you call home. And we will continue to have a local sales representative servicing the advertising needs of our local businesses.

A vibrant local newspaper is an important feature of any community. The Petrolia Topic has been your community newspaper, sharing the highs and lows of life in central Lambton County, for more than a century. It is an honour to be invited into your homes, and we hope to continue to serve the readers and advertisers of Petrolia and area for many years in the future.

Sales Manager Dave Martin and Reporter David Pattenaude will continue to be out and about serving the needs of people of the community.
To reach Sales Manager Dave Martin or Reporter David Pattenaude, to place an advertisement, provide a news tip or submit a letter to the editor, continue to call 519-882-1770 where you will speak with a Sun Media customer service representative in Sarnia.

End of story. End of another newspaper office for the not-so-destitute Sun Media to rent, staff and maintain.

"A vibrant local newspaper is an important feature of any community?" Vibrant, with one reporter and an ad sales rep and no office to work out of day to day?

Sounds like another potential independent weekly start-up community.

Re Roy Peterson

Roy Peterson, an award-winning Vancouver Sun cartoonist, says editors refused to publish his farewell cartoon after 47 years with the newspaper.

And no, while the treatment of a productive media vet sounds familiar, the Vancouver Sun is not a Sun Media newspaper. It is a Canwest paper.

The Hook story by Crawford Kilian says Peterson, highly respected among North America's editorial cartoonists, was dropped because he was "too expensive."

Peterson, winner of seven National Newspaper Awards, told Kilian: "They told me they couldn't afford me. They gave me three months’ notice.”

The cartoonist said the Sun published a story Saturday about his departure, but it did not say he had been fired.

The Sun also declined to run his farewell cartoon.

His cartoons can be viewed at

Musical media

TSF readers have added to the list of print media music and lyrics, including a song by the Beatles. Plus a few more obscure titles.

Pat Conroy in Barrie sent us this song:

That's Life (That's Tough), by Gabriel & The Angels (1962):

What's tough?


What's life?

A magazine

Well how much does it cost?

It costs twenty cents

But I only got a nickel

Woah, oh well that's tough

Dennis Earl over at The Writings Of Dennis Earl blog, provided a few print media lyrics and says:

"You might be surprised to know this, but there are a ton of songs inspired by newspapers and journalism in general. (Just click here, for starters.)

Paperback Writer - The Beatles (1966): "His son is working for The Daily Mail/It's a steady job, but he wants to be a paperback writer"

Space Oddity - David Bowie (1969): "And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear"

Welcome To The Working Week - Elvis Costello (1977): "Now that your picture's in the paper/Being rhythmically admired"

Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees (1977): "We can try to understand/The New York Times' effect on man"

In My Tree - Pearl Jam (1996): "Up here in my tree, yeah/Newspapers matter not to me, yeah/No more crowbars to my head, yeah/I'm trading stories with the leaves instead, yeah"

History Repeating - Propellerheads featuring Shirley Bassey (1998): "The newspapers shout a new style is growing/But it don't know if it's coming or going/There is fashion, there is fad/Some is good, some is bad/And the joke is rather sad"

The Way I Am - Eminem (2000): "And all of this controversy circles me/And it seems like the media immediately/Points a finger at me/So I point one back at 'em/But not the index or pinky. And I am whatever you say I am/If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?/In the paper, everyday I am"

Spooky Girlfriend - Elvis Costello (2002): "Newspapers play with the words of the fanatic"

Thanks for the song lyrics, Pat and Earl.

Print media is something to sing about.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Globe Rabbled

Recommended reading: Nick Fillmore's lengthy look at the Globe and Mail in the week after Edward Greenspon's sudden departure as editor-in-chief.

Gossip and all.

All we know is on Monday, the Globe's daily poker hand replay was gone. Is John Stackhouse, the new EIC, not a fan of poker?

And the paper has also ditched the daily TV listings in its Friday film/TV mag.

Are they changes for the sake of change, or does the Globe have readership surveys that show poker hand replays and TV listings are dispensable?

Claim the Fame

During his lengthy career at Queen's Park, Clare Westcott came to the aid of the Toronto Press Club more than once.

When the TPC's lease for the second floor club above Hy's on Richmond Street expired in the early 1980s, Clare secured a government-owned building on Wellesley.

The longtime media booster and freelance writer laments the current state of the press club and the tarnished Canadian News Hall of Fame, which hasn't seen an inductee since 2001.

Clare tells TSF:

"It's sad about the Press Club. I found them a home in a government-owned building on Wellesley when their lease was up on Richmond Street and they were there until I left Queens Park in 1985. It was a good operation and they served great food.

"However, I am more interested now in the resurrection and survival of Canada's News Hall Of Fame. Your (TSF) piece based on the Maclean's article pretty much tells the story.

"Would you believe we have over a dozen 'Halls of Fame' in Canada. Google Hall Of Fame Canada and you get about 2,000 sites. Halls of Fame for sports, agriculture, medicine, music, business, restaurants, songwriters - and even boating.

"But bugger all for news.

"A free press is a vital part of our system and honouring those who make it great is an obligation we can`t simply walk away from."

Clare said he would get back to us regarding the Canadian News Hall of Fame, but we are encouraged by the ideas being generated by journalists, young and young at heart.

Michael Friscolanti's piece in Maclean's was no doubt news to a lot of newspaper men and women who had no idea the Wall of Fame was damaged and locked away in a room and the News Hall of Fame hasn't been active since 2001.

Perhaps a meeting of minds can rescue both from obscurity. Update the News Hall of Fame by inducting worthy men and women who have been overlooked since 2001.

And repair the neglected Wall of Fame for display in an area that dignifies the dozens of inductees.

Let's not be territorial about who owns the rights to the Canadian News Hall of Fame and the Wall of Fame. With the TPC homeless and on life support, we're well beyond that stage.

Nanton speaks

We're sure today's letter to the editor of the Nanton News in Alberta reflects the sentiment of a lot of readers of Sun Media weeklies and dailies across the country.

Folks who are losing the local flavour of their community newspapers as more and more space is devoted to Sun Media's stable of writers and features far from their doorsteps.

It reads:

"Several weeks ago, I eagerly opened my Nanton News to page 4 to get my weekly dose of local writer Linda Maki’s column, Strangely Enough.

Since Linda began submitting her column, I have looked forward each week to her musings on different subjects, both locally relevant topics and general opinion pieces.

To my dismay, the spot which usually featured Linda’s smiling face and witty repartee was filled with a column by someone writing for Sun Media, with a byline I didn’t recognize.

I was disappointed, but assumed Linda’s column had been unavailable for some reason that week, and I looked forward to catching up the following week.

Strangely enough, (ironically), I have since learned local writer Linda Maki has been replaced by various Sun Media columnists.

The reason I read the Nanton News is for local news and local opinions about both Nanton and area events, and topics from farther afield with a local view.

I do not read the Calgary Sun, or any other Sun Media product, by choice, and I do not want to read the opinions of Sun Media columnists from anywhere but Nanton in my local paper, unless it is a topic of specific interest to Nanton residents.

I understand the News is owned by Sun Media, but it is still the Nanton News.

Now that the Nanton News office has closed, Nanton columnists are being replaced by columnists from elsewhere, I am afraid of what the future holds for our local news source.

After more than 100 years in business, that is too bad.

Pam Woodall,


You said it, Pam. Quebecor's centralized, cookie-cutter newspapering is zapping the strength from community newspapers.

We've seen it happen here in Ontario.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The TPC List

Canadian News Hall of Fame Inductees

1966: Arthur Ford, London, Gerard Filion, Montreal, * John W. Dafoe, Winnipeg

1967: * Joseph Howe, Halifax, Grattan O'Leary, Ottawa, Ralph Allen, Toronto

1968: Claude Ryan, Montreal, * George Brown, Toronto, Bruce Hutchison, Vancouver

1969: * Hugh Graham, Montreal, Robert A. Farquharson, Toronto

1970: Gillis Purcell, Toronto

1971: * Henri Bourassa, Montreal, Ross Munro, Edmonton, Mark Edgar Nichols, Vancouver

1972: * Ella Cora Hind, Winnipeg, Edward Henry (Ted) Reeve, Toronto, Charlie Edwards, Toronto, Gordon Sinclair, Toronto

1973: * Andre Laurendeau, Montreal, George V. Ferguson, Montreal

1974: James Stuart Keate, Vancouver, * J. Fred Livesay, Toronto, Gerard Pelletier, Montreal, * Blair Fraser, Ottawa

1975: Floyd S. Chalmers, Toronto, Lotta Dempsey, Toronto, * Grant Dexter, Winnipeg, * Dan McArthur, Toronto, * A. F. (Fred) Mercier, Quebec City

1976: Duncan Macpherson, Toronto, * Judith Robinson, Toronto, Sam Ross, Vancouver, * Edward Macklin, Winnipeg

1977: Bob Chambers, Halifax, * Fred Griffin, Toronto, John Heron, Montreal

1978: * Charles Jennings, Ottawa, Phyllis Griffiths, Toronto, Roger Lemelin, Quebec City

1979: I. Norman Smith, Ottawa, Len Norris, Vancouver, Harry J. Boyle, Toronto,

1980: * Oliver Asselin, Montreal, Helen Allen, Toronto, James A. (Jim) Coleman, Toronto, Ken W. MacTaggart, Toronto

1981: * E. Norman Smith, Ottawa, Doris Anderson,Toronto, Charles Lynch, Ottawa, Norman James, Toronto, Mort Fellman, North Bay

1982: * Martin Goodman, Toronto, Matthew Halton, Toronto, Bert Cannings, Montreal, Roy Tash, Toronto

1983: * Byrne Hope Sanders, Toronto, Pierre Berton, Toronto, John W. Bassett, Toronto, * Jacob Nicol, Sherbrooke

1984: Max Bell, Calgary, Herve Major, Montreal, June Callwood, Toronto, Ray Guy, St. John's

1985: Terry Mosher, Montreal, Betty Kennedy, Toronto, J. Douglas MacFarlane, Toronto, Norman DePoe, Ottawa, * Treffle Berthiaume, Montreal

1986: Beland H. Honderich, Toronto, * John M. Imrie, Edmonton, William A. Stewart, Montreal, * Clark Todd, Saint John

1987: * James M. Minifie, Vanguard, Jack Scott, Victoria, * Borden Spears, Toronto, Jack Webster, Vancouver

1988: * Joseph E. Atkinson, Toronto, * Kathleen Blake Coleman, Toronto, Douglas Creighton, Toronto, * George Edwards Desbarats, Quebec City

1989: Peter C. Newman, Cordova Bay, * Oakley Dalgleish, New Liskeard, Charles Bruce, Port Shoreham

1990: Richard J. Doyle, Chatham, Ont., Clyde Gilmour, Medicine Hat, Robert Fulford, Toronto

1991: Austin "Dink" Carroll, Montreal, Peter Gzowski, Toronto, * William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto

1992: Clark W. Davey, Chatham, Ont., Trent Frayne, Brandon, Anthony Westell, Ottawa

1993: George Bain, Mahone Bay N.S., Joseph Bourdon, Montreal, Eric Wells, Winnipeg

1994: Milt Dunnell, Toronto, Paddy Sherman, Vancouver, Ray Timson, Toronto

1995: Robert La Palme, Montreal, Joe Schlesinger, Toronto, Gwyn (Jocko) Thomas, Toronto

1997: Lise Bissonette, Montreal, Simma Holt, Vancouver, Knowlton Nash, Toronto, Peter Worthington, Toronto

1998: Bill Boss, Ottawa, Mel Morris, Montreal, Jean Pare, Montreal

1999: Conrad Black, Toronto, Allan Fotheringham, Hearne, Sask.

2000: Douglas Fisher, Ottawa, * Tara Singh Hayer, Vancouver

2001: Dorothy Howarth, Weyburn, Trina McQueen, Belleville

(* Indicates posthumous induction)

Source: Toronto Press Club website

Hall of Famers

Canadian News Hall of Fame lists floating around on the Internet are woefully out of date, as TSF readers quickly noted after our earlier posting.

Sun vets and others TSF readers say the list of 23 recipients posted here the other day - copied from several online sites and attributed to the Toronto Press Club - is not complete.

So we belatedly went to the source.

Yes, the homeless TCP - founded in 1882 - still has a web site and it does, indeed have a complete list of inductees up to 2001, the most recent year for additions to the Wall of Fame.

And yes, observant Toronto Sun staffers, Doug Creighton and Peter Worthington are in the Canadian News Hall of Fame, as are other Sun alumni. Peter was inducted in 1997 and Doug in 1988. Thank you for your e-mails.

The Toronto Press Club web site says "In 1965, the Toronto Press Club founded the Canadian News Hall of Fame, which now honours more than 100 men and women who have contributed significantly to journalism in Canada."

Separate from the TPC inductees are recipients of the annual Canadian Journalism Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Awards, which have been presented since 1996:

The 2009 recipient, Joe Schlesinger, was preceded by Sally Armstrong, Norman Webster, Knowlton Nash, Pierre Berton (posthumous), June Callwood, Doris Anderson, Trina McQueen, Doug Creighton, Mark Starowicz, Bernard Derome, Peter C. Newman, Peter Gzowski, Robert Fulford.

Monday, 1 June 2009

New press club

It is true the days of the 20th century press clubs, dominated by heavy drinking, smoking, cursing and the occasional fist fights, are over.

As are the days of top-drawer drinkers in the newsroom.

But what isn't obsolete is the need for a meeting place for men and women in the media, where they can mingle, talk shop, listen to guest speakers in person or via the Internet etc.

We all know there is a lot to talk about. Revive the pride in journalism. Renew the focus.

Journalists, young and old, would benefit from a new press club. Club management should be keen on attracting journalists from all ports - print, broadcast and the Internet.

Perhaps it could be Ryerson-affiliated. Many of today's journalism vets are Ryerson alumni and a bonding of young Internet-savvy scribes and older journalists would be enlightening.

TSF received this suggestion from a Ryerson grad:

"I can see a place for a reinvigorated press club, as someone who missed out on the era.

"As a Ryerson grad myself, I'd call on the School of Journalism and its Journalism School alumni association to step in and save the Canadian News Hall of Fame.

"Those two groups may also have a role to play in a new press club - perhaps with a wee bit of help from the venerable ol' Imperial Public Library."

Our experiences in frequenting press clubs in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver over the decades were mostly positive.

While the old ways and days are gone, a new 21st century press club environment for novices and veterans would be ideal in these tumultuous times.

Confirm or deny

Confirm or deny:

The Toronto Sun building at 333 King Street East has been sold and Sun Media is contemplating a move into one of the nearby empty film studios.

Sun/Canoe Studios, where all of the world is a stage for news, sports and entertainment.

Welland -presses

Sun Media is shutting down the presses at the Welland Tribune and moving print production to Quebecor's printing plant in Toronto.

The shutdown also affects printing of the Niagara Falls Review and the Daily Racing Form, which sources say has a long term contract with Sun Media.

A TSF tipster says the dozen or so pressroom employees have been told they can apply for jobs at other Sun Media press plant facilities. Several employees in the mail room were laid off last week.

Another source says the move to Toronto takes the Niagara Falls Review's copy deadlines back to 9 p.m.

Welland Tribune publisher Ken Koyama told staff about the end of Tribune press operations today, adding readers and advertisers will notice an improvement in print quality.

Koyama's comments have been posted online in a Tribune story, so kudos to the paper for communicating with readers and thanking staff for their efforts.

“Our staff for many years have done a great job of publishing our paper on presses that have seen better days,” he said. “ We thank the many press operators both current and past for their great dedication and hard work.“

Trucking newspapers from Toronto to Welland and Niagara Falls?

Weather is the key for long distance delivery of newspapers. Moving the printing of the Ottawa Sun to Mirabel, Quebec, a few years ago didn't work out that well. Ottawa now has its presses back in business.

And, as mentioned, earlier copy deadlines.

Press club shame

Petty politics, egos and bad decisions sent the once mighty Toronto Press Club spiralling into the abyss in the past couple of decades.

But nothing is sadder than hearing the Canadian News Hall of Fame tribute to generations of journalists is gathering dust in a locked room in the basement of a downtown Toronto hotel.

All of the sad details can be found in a new story by Michael Friscolanti at Suffice to say, the Toronto Press Club is homeless, where once it was a bustling hive of media camaraderie.

The 23 honoured journalists whose names are engraved on the numerous plaques - many of them late, great newspaper legends - are being disrespected by the neglect.

As the story notes, the Canadian News Hall of Fame, launched in 1965 and without a new inductee since 2001, now reads:


It is a bloody disgrace.

But maybe the fate of the homeless press club and our once treasured Wall of Fame is a reflection of how Canadian journalists are feeling these days: Down trodden. Defeated.

The press club was a way of life, an affirmation that there would always be a home away from home for any journalist wanting to step up to the bar.

Drinking habits have changed, but there is still a need for media camaraderie, especially in these doom and gloom times. This Friday's Newzapalooza V is a perfect example.

Press Review's demise after Michael Cassidy, its founding editor/publisher, died in 2005 left another void for print media members wanting a source for news and views.

Maybe it is time for a newly organized media club, with periodic gatherings, an online newsletter for club news, media updates, troop movements, awards recipients, obits and a place to hang the Wall of Fame.

Failing that, perhaps Newseum in Washington, D.C., can find a place to hang our Wall of Fame. Give the recipients the respect they deserve.

But fix the damn lettering.