Monday, 30 November 2009

Freep -1

Marnie Lanning, a London Free Press staffer for more than 20 years, was pink-slipped by Sun Media today to the amazement of fellow employees.

Marnie, manager of online and classified inside sales, joined the Free Press in August of 1988.

"It's an odd move, considering as head of online sales she is integral to the web operation," says a TSF tipster. "This from managers who say online is the priority. It makes no sense. There is no one who knows the web, or print sales, better than Marnie.

"The advertising staff is shocked," says the tipster. "She was hugely popular. They are left wondering who's next."

Yet another "Merry Christmas, you're fired" casualty.

Voice's voice

The Hinton Voice in Alberta, one of Canada's newest independent weekly newspapers, posted this comment on TSF today. It reads:

Just a clarification on the Hinton Voice - this start-up is owned and operated by Robin Garreck and Sarah Burns (we are both former Hinton Parklander employees).

With that said, Tyler (Waugh) is a great community newspaper guy and his editorial background and overall knowledge are a definite asset.

The Hinton Voice started publishing in June 2009 and we are doing great. We've received ongoing support from some businesses who wanted to see a more community-oriented approach to their local paper and who appreciate the fact that the profits stay here in Hinton and are not siphoned off to some corporate headquarters out of province.

Customers and readers have also appreciated the quality of our printing . . . and we feel a debt of gratitude to Roger Holmes and his good people at Star Press in Wainwright, AB, whose consistent work quality and continued guidance have been a great help.

The Hinton Parklander went total market coverage in September, but we stuck to our guns with a paid circulation on the belief that there is value in what we do and that people will pay for it . . . that has continued to be the case.

Subscriptions continue to grow steadily, with the Parklander move to a free paper actually pushing people to our office for subscriptions when Quebecor refused to refund money for those who had already paid for home delivery.

Just as an update, we won the Newcomer Award at the Chamber Small Business Awards in October and we were recently awarded the contract for a writing and design project for early 2010 that will be a welcome boost to the bank account.

It has been a lot of hard work, but we feel it is paying off.

Anyone who wants to check us out online can do so at (we are planning to do some redesign work in the coming months) or check out our Facebook page.

Anybody who really wants to support these independent movements can buy an ad or get a subscription.

We are happy to hear the news out of Strathmore . . . and wish Mario (Prusina) and his crew all the best. We want to thank TSF for connecting the people who care about accountable journalism, whether they be large daily papers or small weeklies like us.

We hope you reconsider changing your focus back to primarily the Toronto Sun and instead keep your network available to all of us trying to keep the spirit of your 'Day Oners' alive.

All the best,

The Hinton Voice

Thank you for your update.

TTC suicides

The Toronto Sun's fourth day of coverage of TTC suicide stats leaves us wondering what mental health professionals have to say about the motivations behind very public suicides.

Why do so many people inflict their traumatic and indelible deaths on TTC drivers and passengers when they can off themselves quietly and privately with a bottle of pills?

The TTC suicide stats the Sun fought to have released clarify all of those brief radio reports of subway shutdowns aired over the years.

You would say to yourself "another suicide" when hearing of subway shutdowns, but you didn't keep count. The actual numbers are much higher than estimated.

Kudos to the Sun for removing that veil of secrecy. Time now for proposals to reduce deaths by subway, including trains slowing to a crawl when approaching each station.

Has the TTC considered emergency alarms at both ends and in the middle of each station, with warnings of substantial fines for misuse? There are emergency stop strips inside subway cars, why not exterior alarms linked to the control centre?

If used for a fall of suicide jump, the extra seconds could prevent deaths. If misused, no harm done, except for the loss of a few seconds in the service schedule.

Substantial fines for misuse could help the TTC with its annual budget woes.

Meanwhile, other secretive stats we'd like to see the Sun pursue are the number of suicides attributed to all forms of gambling in Ontario, including casinos. We have heard those stats would be equally staggering.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Re new weeklies

Don Sinclair, a retired newsman and former Bowes executive now living in St. Albert, Alberta, comments on new weekly newspapers being launched in western Canada:

"I continue to read with interest about new weekly newspapers sprouting up in the west. They are, of course, the result of the changes in operational functions of existing weeklies owned by Sun Media (Quebecor).

"My congratulations to the latest venture in Strathmore. Long may it prosper.

"The opportunity for start-ups in rural Alberta are, of course, a gift from Quebecor to former employees, although I very much doubt that they even know it.

"As publisher after publisher bites the dust and more and more publications are being managed by a single publisher living in another community, the window of opportunity for former employees to compete with Quebecor opens wider.

"That is because senior management at Quebecor seems to lack any basic understanding of the products or the markets they serve in communities with weekly papers.

"And while the western management team should know, they are either feigning ignorance, or are towing the company line with little or no protest.

"Having been in the weekly and small daily game from 1962 until my retirement in 2001, I have an intimate understanding of how a paper in a small community works. And as former Executive VP and COO of Bowes Publishers for a dozen years, I was instrumental in acquiring many of the papers Quebecor is set on destroying.

"A weekly is only as good as the people who work there and the publisher, editor and ad manager are key members who liaise with the community every single day.

"Unlike a major city daily, these people know everyone in the community due to their positions. Relationships are formed at the council meeting, the county meeting, the chamber of commerce meeting, the hockey rink, the curling club, the minor hockey league, the local school, the local pub and dozens of other places too numerous to mention.

"The staff in total become part of that community, led by the publisher. When you tear the heart of that relationship out of a community by removing key staff members and managing from afar, you leave a void in that community.

"So naturally, the community loses any sense of feeling for the publication being a real part of their lives, and considers it an outsider since the changes. Throw in the word Quebec and you will find a certain, not unexpected reaction, by many small town western residents. In short, they never thought about who owned it before, but the new owners, and former employees, will now be sure to remind them often.

"And when a new publication comes along, with a few familiar faces from the days they felt the paper represented them, the loyalty is instantly transferred to the new publication. And so are the advertising dollars.

"It is sad to see a management team so blind to the concept that they are unwittingly destroying their revenue stream, bit by bit, community by community.

"But destroy it they will. Sit back and watch it happen over the next few years.

"Don Sinclair
St. Albert, Alberta
Visit my web site:"

Thank you for your comments, Don.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

New Alb. paper

The newest independent Canadian weekly staffed by former Sun Media employees is Alberta's Strathmore Times, launched a few days ago.

One TSF tipster says the publisher, ad manager and production manager are former employees of Sun Media's Strathmore Standard.

Another TSF tipster writes:

"A birdie whispered in our ear that former Strathmore (Standard) publisher Mario Prusina, axed in the last round of (Sun Media) cuts, has started up a new weekly in Strathmore.

"The fledgling newspaper apparently launched this week. It's nice to know that even though the company no longer believes in newspapers, that employees who have given their hearts and souls to the business still do.

"God bless Mario! You give us all hope."

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Donato tax wins

Today's Globe and Mail says Andy Donato's charitable ways took him to court on tax charges involving big bucks, but the award-winning editorial cartoonist and Toronto Sun Oner has won his battles.

Paul Waldie's lead reads:

Andy Donato has been skewering politicians, bureaucrats and public figures for nearly 40 years in his editorial cartoons in the Sun newspaper chain. But for the past seven years, Mr. Donato has been waging a personal battle with the government, and federal tax officials in particular.

Waldie's lengthy story details the tax turmoil Andy has been experiencing for seven years and describes his determination to fend off the federal Canada Revenue tax hounds.

In a nutshell, the Globe story says the court cases involved tax credits and capital gains after Donato generously donated 710 cartoons to universities in 1999 and 2001, valued at close to $500,000. He fought both tax battles all the way and won.

Congrats, Andy.

The last paragraph of the story should delight fans of Donato and the Bird:

His contract with the Sun expires next year but he hopes to renew it and keep going. For how long? "As long as I can," he said. "There's so much going on."

You said it.

Macklin's photos

Sandra Macklin, a former news editor, has posted a dozen or so nostalgic "old Sun pics" of fun moments in and out of the Toronto Sun on her Facebook page.

Quite the amiable crowd, circa 1980s and 1990s. Got the job done, partied. Won awards. Enjoyed profit sharing, an annual reflection of the excellent work they were doing.

Sad to say, but just about everyone in the photos is long gone from 333. A few have died. - Nick Ibscher, Lloyd Kemp and Paul Heming - Most of the others have been axed or took buyouts.

Thanks for sharing Sandra. Great to see those familiar faces again.

Say what?

TSF could devote a daily post highlighting typos and other editorial faults in the Toronto Sun, but the underlying cause is lack of staff and overworked employees.

But we can't get past the lead of Don Peat's news story on Page 20 of Wednesday's Sun. If it is still online by the time you read this, click here to see what we mean.

The heading is: Brit boss sued by Mississauga woman sent lewd e-mail: Intern

The lead is: I don't think that's loving your enemies.

No quotes, no attribution.

We consider Peat a competent, productive reporter, so the personalized lead is quite puzzling.

It is a news story, not a column or an op-ed effort.

Did an editor rewrite the story and add the personalized comment?

Is this the "new" Sun, with reporters trying to be cute with the news?

Or are we missing something?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Odds & ends

David Richie, a freelance photographer, got excellent mileage out of photos of an Oakville police takedown of two women. Almost identical photos appeared Monday on the Toronto Sun's front page; the Star's Greater Toronto section front page and Page 11 of the Globe and Mail.

A Canadian Press story says Toronto Star management has filed notice with SONG that 121 jobs in editorial and pre-press will be cut, saving Torstar more than $4 million a year. How many Toronto Sun refugees will be among the bodies cut next month? Stay tuned.

Re the sale of 333: The Toronto Star has quoted sources saying the new owner of the 34-year-old newspaper building "is likely Toronto developer First Gulf, a division of the company that recently purchased the 1 Bloor condominium site in Toronto."

With the sale of 333 and the Sun becoming a tenant in the building it built in 1975, what becomes of the Andy Donato mural on the wall of Red's cafeteria and John and Alexandra Hood's 180-foot-wide commissioned outdoor mural unveiled in 1993?

A TSF tipster says Sun Media's Dunnville Chronicle, once "a mighty community newspaper with its own presses," is down to 1.5 employees - one ad rep and a part time receptionist. A freelancer is being used as M.E.-reporter-paginator, says the tipster. "How long will it last?"

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Peter W & Oswald

Newsmen who gathered in the basement of the Dallas city jail on this date 46 years ago thought it would be a brief, uneventful perp walk for Lee Harvey Oswald.

Peter Worthington, dispatched to Dallas by the Toronto Telegram after President John Kennedy was assassinated two days earlier, was standing a few feet from Oswald when it all went deadly wrong.

And there is ample television footage of Peter at the scene.

In the first minute of one clip, Peter can be see up close as print and broadcast newsmen jockey for positions before the perp walk.

Later in that footage and in others, Peter can be seen standing to the left with his hands in his pockets while waiting for Oswald to be walked to an armoured car for transfer to a maximum security cell. The same footage shows him wincing when Jack Ruby's gun is fired.

Other footage viewed in a documentary, but not found online, shows Peter interviewing a cop after the shooting. He was in the thick of it for the Telegram that day in Dallas and, as always, did the paper proud.

Dallas cops involved in the perp walk are another story.

Forty-six years later, the visible lack of security for an accused presidential assassin still boggles the mind. And take note of how accommodating the cops were for the cameras in the hectic aftermath of the shooting.

Friday, 20 November 2009

TorSun staffers

The mass e-mail Rob Granatstein sent to editorial employees at the Toronto Sun this week included the names of men and women still on the job in editorial at 333.

TSF has mentioned some of the names of current staffers and the names of a lot of former staffers, but let's salute all of the editorial workers putting out the Sun daily.

There are a few bodies on Rob's e-mail list we thought were long gone. Glad to see they are still on the job. The list might not be complete, but here goes, in no particular order:

Al Maffei; Alex Urosevic; Andrew Mair; Andy Donato; Anne Bacani; Antonella Artuso; Bill Lankhof; Bill Murray; Bill Pierce; Bob Elliott; Brian Gray; Bruce Kirkland; Chris Doucette; Christina Blizzard; Craig Robertson; Cynthia McLeod; Dave Ellis; Dave Fuller; Dave Thomas;

Dean McNulty; Don MacPhail; Donald Duench; Ernest Doroszuk; Frank Zicarelli; Gary Loewen; Greg Henkenhaf; Harry Langford; Ian Robertson; Jack Boland; Jane Stevenson; Jim Baine; Jim Slotek; Jim Thomson; Jim Wilson; Joe Warmington; John Coulbourn;

John Fitz-Gerald; John Kryk; Jonathan Jenkins; Jonathan Kingstone; Julie Kirsh; Ken Fidlin; Ken Winlaw; Kevin Hann; Lance Hornby; Liz Braun; Lorrie Goldstein; Marilynn Figueroa; Mark Bonokoski; Mark Oneill; Michael Peake; Michele Mandel; Mike Ganter; Mike Strobel;

Mike Zeisberger; Pam Davies; Pat Job; Rita DeMontis; Rob Granatstein; Rob Lamberti; Rob Longley; Robin Robinson; Sam Pazzano; Steve Buffery; Steve Simmons; Sue-Ann Levy; Sue Dewar; Terry England; Terry Koshan; Tim Peckham; Tom Godfrey; Veronica Henri;

Wayne Janes; Bill Harris; Brett Clarkson; Tamara Cherry; Don Peat; Bryn Weese; Zenon Ruryk; Rolf Rimstad; Mike Rutsey; Joel Colomby; Irene Thomaidis; Jack Romanelli; James Wallace; Dan Bilicki; Paul Ferguson; Dave Hilson; Richard Mauntah; Ryan Wolstat; Alan Marshall;

Jon Mccarthy; Dave Abel; Stan Behal; Jenny Yuen; Sharon Lem; Kevin Connor; Jolene Gallant; Kurt Larson; Emily Barker; Davina Biln; Adam Bishop; Susan Dugas; Clarisa Feliprada; Jillian Goddard; Julie Hornby; Danielle L'Ami; Selena Ladd; Kevin Naulls; Sarah Reeves;

Augusta Shaw; Glenna Tapscott, Joyce Wagler, Katherine Webb-Nelson; Holly Wiseman.

Contributors, one and all.

For corrections and updates, please e-mail TSF.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Peter W interview

The Canoe Dossier's David Newland sat down with Peter Worthington, the Toronto Sun's founding editor, this week for a chat about Conservatism - with a few surprising results.

Newland writes: "Did you know, for example, that Worthington is basically pro-choice? Or that he's for gay rights? Did you know that he's a fan of Michael Ignatieff - the leader of the Liberal party of Canada? I sure didn't . . ."

The Canoe Dossier posting includes a four-minute video of Peter W. talking with Newland at 333. The video leaves us wanting to hear more from the TorSun Day Oner, including stories from his long and distinguished career in journalism.

It is time for another book or a video bio on the life and times of Peter Worthington to update his 1984 book, Looking for Trouble. Or a P.W. blog, perhaps? John Downing, also a Day Oner and former editor, is getting good mileage out of his Downing's Views blog.

Next Tuesday, Peter's thoughts will no doubt go back to Nov. 24, 1963, when Jack Ruby gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald only feet from where the Telegram reporter was standing.

Just one of the many print media experiences he has logged in his six decades as an award winning newsman.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Behal honours

What an honour it was for veteran Toronto Sun photographer Stan Behal to have a photo chosen for the book 100 Photos that Changed Canada.

It was his 1988 photograph of sprinter and soon-to-be-disgraced Ben Johnson crossing the finish line at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. It can be viewed here.

Stan, an NNA winner still on the job, showed up for the Toronto book launching this week, a copy of Mark Reid's hardcover book in hand.

After giving Stan a silent thumbs up for well deserved recognition, we began searching for the names of all the photographers who took those 100 photos that changed Canada.

We are still searching online for the complete list, so we have to agree with some critics who say for a book celebrating photos, the photographers who took them are downplayed.

TSF will post all 100 names and their print media publications and news agencies if someone can provide the complete list.

If you are going to take the time to celebrate Canadian photographs, provide a pedestal for all of the men and women behind the lenses - in the book and during pre-release publicity.

Lamothe's new book

The Winnipeg Free Press has given Lee Lamothe's latest book - The Finger's Twist - a rave review, calling the "breakout mystery novel" the best Canadian release this year.

Lamothe, a former veteran Toronto Sun cop desk staffer, has written 10 crime-themed books since 1995.

John Sullivan, a Free Press book reviewer, writes:

"Genre-busting in the extreme, The Finger's Twist is a love story, a character study, a wheel-within-wheels whodunit, a social commentary, a political treatise (though nowhere a drum-beating polemic) and a police procedural (the title refers to a signature bomb-making technique that’s key to the resolution).

"But, beyond that, it’s bang-up storytelling, a compulsive, read-it-over-dinner, take-it-to-the bathroom cure for what ails ya. No higher praise possible, except maybe this: Once finished, you may be tempted to read it again. Indulge."

Congrats, Lee.

The 256-page paperback whodunit is available at

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

333 sale changes

The sale price and identity of the new owners of the Toronto Sun building have not been released, but employees learned yesterday how "massive changes" will affect their working lives.

Rob Granatstein, editorial page editor, sent a mass e-mail to editorial employees updating last week's announcement by publisher Mike Power that 333 King Street East has been sold.

In a nutshell, the newsroom will be moved to tighter quarters on the second floor, where it will share space with executive, accounting and advertising; Red's cafeteria, named for Doug Creighton, will be closed; free parking for employees will be drastically reduced.

Rob's e-mail reads:


It’s come to my attention that many people aren’t aware of the announcement made last week by Sun Publisher Mike Power that our building has been sold.

Here’s the grossly abbreviated summary.

* The Sun has sold the building.

* The buyer’s name has not been released yet as there are still conditions attached to the sale of the deal.

* The Toronto Sun is not moving. We’ve signed a 10-year lease to stay in the building.

* There will be massive changes now that we’re becoming a tenant.

* First, all Sun operations – executive, accounting, advertising - will join us on the second floor.

* The newsroom will be moving. The exact location isn’t clear, but we expect to move to the north side of the building.

* The newsroom will be the first to move. A new digital newsroom, likely costing well into the millions of dollars, will be built for us, including new furniture. Say goodbye to the ’80s-era desk you have now.

* The physical space of the newsroom will be far smaller than the footprint we have in the building now.

* The newsroom’s move will be done by the end of March, according to the schedule we have now.

* As a tenant we won’t have the same access to parking. We will have some spots, but not all the spots.

* The cafeteria will be closed.

* The presses will be removed.

* The library is staying where it is.

* Retail shops will likely move into the main floor on King St.

* Commercial offices will move into the building, too.

* Expect the building to become a huge construction site as the new owners change 333 King from a one tenant newspaper building into a building for many other uses.

* A sale price for the building has not been released.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me, James Wallace, or ask Mike Power directly. He stated he can’t answer all the questions will (sic) the sale of the building is not yet final, but will answer what he can.


We never thought the day would come when the Toronto Sun would be a tenant at 333, downsized from six full floors to one floor, with no presses, no cafeteria and minimal parking.

Employees who lose their cherished free parking spots inside and around 333 will be looking at costly daily parking fees if they decide to continue driving to work. What is the going daily rate for downtown T.O. parking these days?

Outside meals will also add to the cost of working for the Sun.

Will the added costs be a union issue when the next contract rolls around?

As a tenant, the Toronto Sun has a 10-year lease, which is mighty optimistic considering 10 years of Quebecor ownership has reduced the once thriving tabloid to a storefront operation.

Most disheartening is the sale of 333 is not out of necessity due to tough economic times. This is minimalist, cash cow greed on the backs of employees.

PKP might be a hero to shareholders, but he has never looked so small in the eyes of his employees.

Toronto Sun employees will no doubt carry on doing the best they can with what they have left because they are pros.

TTC suicide

Rob Lamberti's front page story the other day about a TTC subway driver "reliving the nightmare" of a suicide received the tabloid play it deserved.

Can't say we have ever read such a haunting story - a TTC driver replaying a traumatic suicide by subway train and the emotional aftermath for everyone involved.

The Page 3 story was in Thursday's paper and five days later the imagery of that deadly moment in time lingers. Kevin Pett, the driver, and the victim, eye-to-eye beyond the point of no return.

The victim was a school teacher in the news for two days, but details of most subway suicides are rarely published, except to explain delays in service.

Lamberti's story put readers at the controls of the subway train as it entered the High Park station and humanized Pett's nightmarish experience and the toll it has taken on him and his family.

Credit is due to Pett, his wife and the TTC for allowing the story to be told.

It is a Sun story by a Sun vet we won't soon forget.

Intell hiring

The rare hiring of reporters at Sun Media newspapers these days calls for red carpet treatment and so it is at the Belleville Intelligencer.

The paper's website has a story by Chris Malette, city editor, and a photo of the new staffer to go with it, welcoming Jason Miller, a Durham College grad formerly of the Toronto Sun and Toronto Star.

Malette says the native of Jamaica developed his skills by freelancing for Metroland papers in Oshawa, Clarington and Whitby while in college. He has also done freelance coverage for the Calgary Sun.

All the best, Jason. You are working with print newspaper vets who speak their mind and still give a damn.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sunday notes

A few Sunday Sun notes:

The Page 2 news slot in Sunday's paper was used for a Holiday Gift Grab promotion. Another indication editors at 333 have lost the news edge and the bean counters are in control.

Noticed Greg Oliver, a former Sun staffer, has a new book on the shelves. Published by ECW Press, SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle is a collection of stories from the website, including Sun stories from Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto.

The first Toronto Sun mention of Pat Surphlis since the 25-year promotions vet was turfed recently, was found Sunday in a column by Steve Simmons. He writes: Life at the Toronto Sun just isn't the same without Sheila Chidley, Pat Surphlis and Trudy Eagan, three of the great newspaper women of all time.

Kudos to columnist Mike Strobel for honouring the late George Gross by spearheading his Variety Village Christmas Fund for a second consecutive year. Mike's first effort raised more than $30,000 for the Baron's favourite cause. Sun colleagues are supportive. One newsroom staffer chipped in $1,000 won in a watermelon eating contest.

That Othello

A TSF reader recently took a jab at a newsman saying: "Ya, but he doesn't know the difference between WHO and THAT."

The offending sentence in the critic's eye: "More importantly, whatever happened to the editor that would back him or her?"

We have noticed an increase in the use of "that" over "who" in print and broadcast media, but to question "that" is to question William Shakespeare, who, for Othello's swan song, wrote:

(To speak) "Of one that loved not wisely, but too well."

That was four centuries ago.

"Who" gets our vote, but if you go with the Bard, "that" is OK too.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Anonymous 2

The TSF reader who posted the original anonymous "reporter chained to his desk" comment that has generated a lot of feedback, has more to say about Bill Glisky's POVs.

From "the reporter chained to his desk like a dog in a cage . . ."

I fail to understand how Mr. Glisky or anyone else could assume that my distaste for the direction newspapers are heading is any indication of my attitude towards how I go about working a story. That is ludicrous.

I was pretty clear to point out my qualities of being a digger, hard worker, etc are not appreciated. I was also clear to point out that it's bad out there, really bad in some cases, many probably worse than mine. But I spoke out, albeit without attaching my name, but I said it and I stick by what I said.

It's funny, we're hired to ask questions and be critical of everyone but if we do it of ourselves it's blasphemy. As in, how dare a reporter question the state of his newspaper or those running it. Come on.

Moving on.

Even though I found Mr. Glisky's reply way out of bounds and illogical in the sense it missed the point I was trying to make, I still appreciate the passion for which he appears to go about being an editor. I'd take a nasty jerk for an editor with some balls over a dead body at a desk any day. We don't have that way out here. So. Go Bill Go.

However, to attack a reporter for expressing how they feel is proving my point all the more. It's the easy way out. Forget about looking at the issues at hand, let's hammer him with a bunch of nonsense and belittle him for things we assume are correct. That's a great way to go about things and says a lot about a person's intellect.

Our papers are run by editors who, for the very large part, have never been a reporter and would never know what it is like to work a story. Reporters aren't meant to always be at a desk or sifting though the Internet to find stories, they should be out and about digging, talking and meeting with people.

Technology has made the reporter nothing more than a gatherer, like a squirrel collecting nuts or pieces of discarded bread. That's a fact and can't be argued otherwise. If we can't agree with that, we're already dead.

It's a disease that not only hinders Sun Media but Canwest and others. So, say what you want about what I said, I wrote what I felt and I wrote it from the heart. Like, Mr. Glisky, I'll fight the bastards day in and day out.

I appreciate a good debate like anyone else and I'm glad what I wrote has sparked a lively one.

And as for you, Mr. Glisky, if I ever come to Belleville I'll look you up for a pint. I'm sure Belleville has a pub or two.

Long live the reporter.

Long live the newspaper.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Bill Glisky 2

The debate continues . . .

Bill Glisky, managing editor of the Belleville Intelligencer, responds to numerous comments from TSF readers following his response to an anonymous TSF reader's comments:

Bill, quoting from comments posted, writes:

A couple rebuttal points, just to keep the discussion going:

"I think Bill was over generalizing too."

On the contrary, I was speaking about one particular reporter and his attitude toward his work. As noted in my post, I have worked with many, many reporters who don't have this attitude (including the two I have working in my newsroom now) who "are slugging away doing the best they can with limited time and resources with little (if any) complaint." To this group I say God bless them and would that all up and coming reporters were exactly the same.

"It would be nice if reporters had time to work on stories."

Sure, and it would be nice if dollar bills flew out of my butt and the Swedish bikini team set up shop outside my office, but it's not going to happen. The issue is what are you going to do about it - whine and complain, or make the most out of what little time you have and few resources that are available to you to do something great. I was privileged enough at the ONAs last year to know eight people nominated for awards, all from small newsrooms and all who found the time and took the initiative to do more.

"There's no reward for digging, for doing the extra . . . you get the same pink slip as everyone else."

I have always felt the reward for doing this job right was twofold: serving the readers well and the satisfaction of doing the job right. For me, this job has never been about the paycheque, it's been about, as one commenter noted, "love of working at a newspaper."

"But I'd be grateful for a simple fucking (pardon the language) thank you. Not once has anyone said thanks, thanks for going out of your way to make the paper a bit better."

Same answer. Sure your editors should say thank you, but so what? Be proud of the effort you have put into doing the job right and don't worry about the pats on the back. That's not what this job should be about. It would be nice if it was, but again it's not. So what?

Very early in my career, a wise retired journalist asked me a pointed and poignant question: Is being a journalist your profession or your vocation? I answered the latter, and more than 20 years later feel the same way.

That's why I, like many, will bemoan changes being made, some due to the recession, some due to poor understanding of this business and some made out of greed that could very well make the poster who said newspapers will be dead absolutely correct.

Then I pick myself up, shake myself off and go about doing the best job I can, producing the best newspaper I can despite all the challenges involved in that. And I do so not because of a paycheque or a pat on the back. I do it because that is what I was taught a journalist does.

If that makes me a throwback to the 1960s so be it. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let anybody anywhere change that in me.

TorSun leasing

The mysterious new owners of the Toronto Sun building at 333 King Street East have agreed to a 10-year leaseback for Sun space, says a TSF tipster.

The tipster says remaining Sun staff learned yesterday they are being moved to another area on the second floor.

Previous tipsters have said 333 would become a condo, but the recession probably curbed that plan.

Others have said the building will be leased to multiple businesses, which seems more likely with the Sun's leaseback.

So the Toronto Sun becomes a tenant in the six-storey building it built in the 1970s with Doug, Peter and Don at the helm. Sad times.

Surprisingly, no TSF tipster has come up with a name for the new owners. What's the story there?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

New generation

A Belgian lad patiently waits by the roadside to salute a contingent of vets following a memorial service. Canadian soldiers on parade return the salute. It was 2007, but the intergenerational exchange of respect is timeless.

A vet tells us the "Eyes Right" command is the biggest compliment troops on parade can pay and is reserved for dignitaries at reviewing stands, so it was a classy gesture.

Vets, we salute you all.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Re Lou & reality

Bill Glisky, managing editor of Sun Media's Belleville Intelligencer, responds to TSF's Lou & reality posting:

"I tread softly because any missteps will see me working more weekends, stuck on nightshifts or doing streeters. After all, it's the only real power they have over me."

"If the writer were truly the reporter he claims to be, working weekends or nightshifts wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference - news is available at any time and any place and those of us who have actually been around for a few years know that.

"As I was told many years ago: 'There are no small stories, there are only small reporters.'

Despite claiming to represent the best in our profession, this reporter reminds me too much of so many other young journalists I have seen over the years who want to be handed the 'big' stories or the 'big' opportunities but won't put in the work to warrant the shot and don't recognize that great reporters make their own breaks by doing the legwork and putting in the effort. They need nothing handed to them; they know how to go out and find it and when they find it, make the most of it.

"A few years ago, I had a reporter ask me why other reporters got all the big stories and she didn't. Yet when I told her - namely the other reporters were willing to dig deeper, make extra calls, drive extra distances, wait for something to develop, not walk out the door after exactly eight hours of work, and not argue with their editors about whether a story was 'worth' their time and effort - I got looked at as if I was talking a foreign language.

"Those other reporters, by the way, have all recently been to the Ontario Newspaper Awards, not for stories they were handed by editors but for work they did to take their stories above and beyond.

"That reporter, like this one I suspect, talked the talk but never walked the walk. If this correspondent was as good as he or she claims to be, he or she would not be waiting for approval, or need his editor to 'have his back.'

"He would be getting the job done on his own, overcoming obstacles and putting his work out there for the readers to judge. Instead, he would rather whine about how hard done by he is and how it's not his fault he can't be as great as he thinks he is.

"Feel his pain? Not in the least. I feel the pain of the readers of his newspaper who aren't getting full value for their money from people like this who would rather collect a pay cheque and talk about how great they are than actually put in the work to be that great."

Thank you for your comments, Bill.

One observation: Are bare bones newsrooms allowing today's reporters the freedom to be self starters, with adequate time for digging into a story?

The reporter says he/she is chained to a desk, which tells us the reporter doesn't have the freedom to leave the newsroom to develop a story.

There are drawbacks to restricting the content of a news story to library files and telephone calls.

Today's newsroom numbers give new meaning to Ron Poulton's 1970s book Life in a Word Factory.

The key word being factory.

2 Lindas re Pat

Two Lindas - Barnard and Fox - comment on the departure of their former Toronto Sun colleague, Pat Surphlis.

Linda Barnard, now at the Toronto Star:

"What a sad thing to hear that The Sun is letting Pat Surphlis get away. She is such a classy person; so clever, enthusiastic and creative.

"Pat's warmth and style made everybody who worked with her feel special, from clients and advertisers to Sun staff. I'll never forget how she made those Fitness Weekends run like clockwork.

"All the best Pat - I know there are great things ahead because any company that snaps you up will come up trumps."

Linda Fox, laid off in 2001:

"Pat was a great promoter of the Sun . . . and God knows the paper could use a promoter now more than ever before. But the Quebecor mentality is pathetic. I often wonder why the few people whose names I know, who still work there, keep hanging on.

"Pat did not deserve a trip to the loading dock after 25 years of service (hard service too . . . she was always a number one Sun cheerleader). No one who put in the countless overtime and selfless hours that she did deserves a boot in the backside.

"To some of the loyalists who are left, do you think PKP really knows your name? The address 333 King St. East isn't Cheers . . . it has long ceased to be a place where 'everybody knows your name.'

"(The Sun) was a great place; a fantastic place at times; I had magical moments travelling the world on press trips for the travel section, meeting interesting people while writing for the business section . . . but the Cinderella ball is over folks."

Thank you for your e-mails.

Lou & reality

We are highlighting this anonymous TSF comment for its eloquence. Anonymous, for obvious reasons, but refreshingly insightful commentary in this age of newsroom uncertainty.

The comment, in reply to our Lou & Robin posting, reads:

"I only met Lou (Clancy) once and it was brief. We shook hands, shared a couple words and what wasn't said was all I could hear. He didn't have to say anything. I knew what was once available was no longer.

"A feeling of lost hope came crashing upon me, but at least he didn't pretend otherwise. A look was all it took. That's my Lou story. It's simple.

"Lou had a reputation of being a great guy to work for. Sadly, many of us 'younger' reporters will never get to experience what it is like to work for a real newspaper guy.

"Sun dailies are full of what some of us call 'last men standing.' I don't want to put down a person trying to put food on the table, but when they pretend and behave as though they know news, it's sickening. It's disheartening to know they are exactly what is desired by the signature on my cheque. The decisions they make are enough to make a person cringe.

"It's one of the hardest aspects of 'corporate media' to swallow. Despite how much you want something, unless a miracle occurs you'll never know what it is like to respect your editors.

"That's the the real sad state of the newspaper industry. Papers aren't only dying, but so are reporters. They're killing us off one by one. I'm not talking about those who consider themselves 'journalists,' but those who know they are reporters.

"Not writers, but reporters. Not in it for the byline, but the story. A pub over the annual press gallery gala. The guy that can get into buildings, get names, get people to talk. These type of people are few and far between nowadays.

"I'm under 30 but bleed ink to the point I need a transfusion. Working for the Sun and knowing the world is closing in around any escape plan is tiring, soul-crushing and becoming timeworn.

"With all the slashing, cutting and the closing of doors on opportunity/advancement, we stand to kill off the reporter. The person that was once applauded and appreciated in newsrooms is no longer. They've made way for those who will follow in line.

"Whatever ever happened to the edgy, teeth-gnashing digger refusing to take no for an answer and willing to push the limits reporter? More importantly, whatever happened to the editor that would back him or her?

"Doing it right is why I got into the business.

"The day of the newspaperman is nearly over. It is faint and desolate. I worry the wave long ago reached its break. But I stay, keep on keepin' on, waiting, looking for any opportunity. Giving in is not an option, but it grows stronger daily.

"I tread softly because any missteps will see me working more weekends, stuck on nightshifts or doing streeters. After all, it's the only real power they have over me.

"Here's to those who have been there and also to those who feel the pain of the last man standing.

"Long live the reporter.


"A reporter chained to his desk like a dog in a cage."

Thank you for your comment. We feel your pain.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Short shorts

The Telegraph in the U.K. gives the late Doug Fisher a fitting sendoff today. Fisher, former veteran Toronto Sun columnist, died Sept. 18, a day shy of his 90th birthday. He penned words for the Telegraph over the years.

John Paton
, the former Toronto Sun copy boy who could and did, is featured in a Toronto Star story today as CEO of the profitable impreMedia in New York. The company publishes Spanish-language newspapers.

Judy Creighton, 71, former London Free Press staffer and veteran Canadian Press food writer, received Cuisine Canada's Founder's Award Friday for her "lifetime of service to Canada's culinary community."

Derek Ingram, a Winnipeg Sun golf columnist, has been named new head coach of Canada's national women's amateur golf team. He replaces Dean Spriddle, who stepped down from the position recently.

Quebecor Inc.'s
third-quarter profit jumped 52% as customer growth boosted the media company's revenues. It reported net income of $69.4 million or $1.08 per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Re Ken Robertson

Update - Ken was released from hospital on Remembrance Day
Ken Robertson
is up and about and selling copies of his Windcharm: A Dream Delayed book to visitors and attentive nurses and doctors at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital.

The Toronto Sun Day Oner and former city editor says doctors credit his instinct and an early-morning 911 call for getting him to hospital in time.

Ken thanks all of his callers. When he's not on the phone, he's taking notes for his next book.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Pat Surphlis out

Pat Surphlis,a tireless promoter of the Toronto Sun for more than 25 years, was cut from the shrinking ranks at 333 on Thursday.

Pat, director of promotion and the biggest cheerleader you could find in print media circles, was affectionately labeled Promo Queen by Sun columnist Mike Strobel.

Now, she is another cutback casualty, one more name dropped from the Comment masthead. It is getting lonely at the top without a managing editor, editor-in-chief, promotion director etc.

Always appreciated by the founders of the Sun when the tabloid was reaching for the moon, Pat was one of the unsung heroes at the paper.

The effervescent staffer, with a winning smile, devoted years to promoting the Sun, mingling with sports celebrities, auto execs, delegates at media conferences etc.

Her pro-Sun zest took her wherever she could promote the paper, including the annual Toronto Sun Fitness Weekend and other reader-oriented events.

Pat was among the many women in the Sun workplace to make a difference over the years. We don't see her being idle for long with her credentials.

All the best, Promo Queen.

Comments about Pat's exit can be e-mailed to TSF.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Lou & Robin

Robin Harvey, former veteran Toronto Star staffer, has some kind words about Lou Clancy, the Toronto Sun's recently departed editor-in-chief - and a confession.

Robin, former Star reporter, ACE, slot person, copy editor, Deputy Sunday editor, writes:

"Lou was the closest thing to a mentor I ever got in this crazy business. And that is saying a lot for a guy who seemed to be conversationally challenged from a woman who never seemed to shut up.

"But there must be more than a zillion things he did over my career at The Star that directly taught and affected me - all in a quiet, understated way.

"He inspired incredible loyalty and never seemed to get caught up in political bullshit. Maybe it was because we both grew up around Pape and Danforth, but he never needed many words to communicate when I was being hysterical, paranoid - or bang on the mark with any story or call.

"On occasion, he could lose his temper, and 'Lou the bear' would growl my way. But he was quick to apologize and I can only think of three times this happened in more than 15 years working for him in some capacity or another.

"And he was always straight-up fair and honest with me.

"So I have one confession to make.

"Lou, that day the fishing club stole your big fish from your office wall and held it for ransom - the female hand holding the gun to its head in the second ransom demand photo was mine.

"luv always


Thank you for your e-mail, Robin.

Question is, when and where will Lou resurface in a newsroom?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Re J.T. Lewis

J.T. Lewis, a former award-winning Welland Tribune photographer laid off in November 2006, has responded to a previous TSF posting about a PMO photo being used in the Tribune.

He writes:

"Well, it's interesting to note that people remembered me. I did my internship at the Toronto Sun after Loyalist College.

"From being let go at the Tribune in 2006, it's been a struggle, trying to find my way. Seems that no one wants to pay for photography anymore. Hopefully, I will be making more e magazines soon. The first one,, was put online early September 2009.

"Friends of mine who still read the Tribune always remark how the photography efforts are quite lacking these days, photos badly composed and mostly out of focus, subject matter in poor taste and photos that really don't match the stories.

"Seems that quality photography isn't an issue in the small newspaper anymore. Shame, but, I really don't read the Tribune anymore as I find that the staffing issues have led to a paper that is barely capable of keeping up with the important news in the community anymore.

"I happened to see one weekend where they were asking for reader submissions for fair coverage one weekend, and others have told me that they have announced that people should send in photos when they go to local events.

"Shame, professionalism in the small media sources has totally gone out the door in Canada.

"J.T. Lewis"

Thanks for your update, J.T.

Re Ken Robertson

Ken Robertson
, a Toronto Sun Day Oner, sailor, WW2 vet, real estate salesman and author, underwent a major operation in Orillia last night.

Doctors at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital say he has some very serious obstacles to overcome this week so positive vibes from the Toronto Sun Family would be the order of the day.

The former Sun city editor, author of Windcharm: A Dream Delayed, has a couple of other books in the works and more stories to tell, so steer the course sailor.

Wherever Ken is, there is a story.

The hospital he is in will benefit from two Gordon Lightfoot charity concerts Nov. 14 and 15, including a gift of one of his signed guitars which will be auctioned on eBay.

We're sure Ken will be taking notes about his hospital stay for another chapter in his next book.

London Ex -3

One day you are writing Point of View editorials for Sun Media newspapers across the chain and the next day you are the latest pink slip casualty.

Wayne Newton, a Sun Media employee for 19 years, and two other staffers at the Centre of Excellence in London, were terminated Tuesday, says a TSF tipster.

It seems London's COE, once thought to be a refuge from the carnage in the newspaper chain, is returning to graphics production only, where it started three years ago.

There will be fewer employees and no journalists in the building. The tabloid and broadsheet page pagination work that was being handled in London is being shifted to Barrie.

So the London Centre of Excellence, which was producing tabloid and broadsheet pages, including most national lifestyles pages, Fanfare and special weekend spreads for national sports, business and national bureau pages from Ottawa. has been demoted to Graphics Centre.

We noticed Newton's POV in the Sun on Monday. The next day, the national co-ordinator, national comment copy editor and POV contributor, was gone.

A voice gone from the signed editorial side of the Comment page.

You have to wonder how Sun editorial page vets like Rob Granatstein, Lorrie Goldstein, Paul Berton, Eric Margolis and others react to losses of veteran colleagues.

Do they ever ask themselves "when will it end?"

We are dizzy from Sun Media turbulence.

Most extreme makeovers have a cohesive game plan, but we're sitting here on the sidelines wondering how all of this playing with careers and lives is going to end.

If you can paint us a picture, please do.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Star's 117th blow

Updated re Star management comments in CP story
The Toronto Star turned 117 today, but instead of cake, it announced plans to outsource 160 jobs, including 100 newsroom union editing positions, says a CNW Group press release.

All employees have been offered buyouts, says the press release.

A Canadian Press story says employees have until Nov. 30 to apply for the voluntary buyouts, with Star management making its final decision Dec. 7.

The CP story says employees learned of the company-wide buyout offer in a memo from publisher John Cruickshank.

The memo said the broad reworking of the company "will affect every job in every corner of the organization" and could include layoffs.

The Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild calls it the largest outsourcing in Canadian newspaper history.

"It's bad enough that the Star is turning its back on its own Atkinson principles to shed loyal employees," said Star union head Maureen Dawson. "Star readers will be shocked to hear that core aspects of its daily journalism, that vital role in our society, are now to be farmed out, likely to foreign interests."

The union's press release says 100 editing jobs represents about a third of the newsroom at 1 Yonge Street.

"This isn't outsourcing, this is another example of one of our big media companies abandoning good-paying Canadian jobs," said Peter Murdoch, CEP's national vice-president (media). "The national union will be supporting every effort to protect these good jobs."

Happy 117th, Toronto Star. Shades of Sun Media's Black Tuesday last December. Merry Christmas greetings from PKP, along with 600 pink slips.

What is being lost with newsroom outsourcing and job cuts is the gathering and mingling of newspaper minds. Dedicated editors noting errors and challenging content. Feedback. Personal touches and professional pride lost to uncaring bodies far, far away.

The Toronto Sun's badly botched street map assembled outside of 333 was a classic example of the fallout from detached workmanship. And that work was done in Ontario, not India.

Straight up news?

An innovation from the Netherlands. It is called the "vertical newspaper."

Thumbs up, or thumbs down?

Me thinks the video characters are exaggerating the difficulties of reading a tabloid on mass transit, but broadsheets have always been a nuisance when sharing space on trains, planes and buses.

The Toronto Sun was a hit with transit users from the start because of its size - and content.

Downing & PKP

John Downing's latest blog posting notes PKP made the Financial Post Magazine's performance list of Canadian CEOs - 110th.

Downing, a Toronto Sun Day Oner and former editor, says 110th seems "awfully high."

His Downing's Views posting, titled Stop the Lunacy of Unemployment, reads:

"There are companies making obscene profits which keep firing at the same time. Sun Media makes a lot of money even though, to judge by the empty desks at their flagship operation The Toronto Sun, it acts like it's bankrupt. Just in the morality at head office!

"In the Financial Post Magazine's latest survey of Canadian CEOs, Pierre Karl Peladeau is ranked 110th, which seems awfully high. He runs Quebecor, some would say into the ground. Quebecor, which owns Sun Media, had a profit last year of $187,300,000, while Peladeau himself was paid a basic $1.2 million before various goodies."

Meanwhile, Downing says the annual Toronto Sun Day Oners dinner this year was down to two couples, a long slide from the days when most of the Original 62 celebrated the tabloid's Nov. 1, 1971 launching. And the two couples this year picked up their own tab.

Downing tells TSF:

"Some Day Oners used to dine to celebrate the Sun's anniversary. This year we were down to two couples, and had to do it early, because (the other couple) were off on a cruise out of Istanbul.

"So Mary and I and the (other couple) went to Tommaso's Trattoria which is just over from the Sun at 400 Eastern Ave. Kind of a Sun place. Great food, unpretentious service, reasonable prices.

"We ate and yarned and lied and had warm thoughts of the old days, which often really aren't that great, but with the Sun they were.

"As you've noted, the corporate Sun ignored its own birthday. What a change.

"I remember when Doug Creighton called Trudy Eagan and Dave Garrick (SkyDome VP and Sun letter writer) into his office and said they were to throw a bash inside SkyDome (a far better name than the present self-serving one) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the rise of the Sun at the Eclipse Building.

"Creighton said, and Garrick just reminded me the other day, that money was no problem. He didn't want to know what it would cost, just do it. And so we had a marvelous party - except for the photog who stripped to his green undies on the carousel and left the Sun shortly afterwards.

"Garrick has never forgotten because it's not every day you mount a midway inside a covered stadium and then light off fireworks. It was the first time for pyrotechnics inside SkyDome, and when they are launched now, I always think of Doug's great birthday bash when rockets were the candles on the cake."

Thanks for the e-mail, John.

There was Doug's give and take corporate philosophy and then there is PKP's take, take, take mentality.

Millar & cases 2

Rob Tripp, the prolific Canadian crime blogger up Kingston way, produced some stunning figures in a recent posting - there are more than 3,400 unsolved murders on the books dating back to 1961.

Collectively, those figures are staggering when you consider how annual murder statistics in Canada barely make us wince when comparing them to the United States.

Says Tripp:

"Roughly 90 of the approximately 600 murders committed in Canada each year are not solved. While every murder leaves a life story unwritten, these 90 are wretched for the doubts and uncertainty they sow."

Tripp, a TSF reader, writes in a comment posted today:

"The idea of an unsolved-murder column is a terrific idea, in part, because there's no shortage of good material.

"I recently blogged over at about the fact that there are more than 3,400 unsolved homicides on the books in Canada from the past 50 years. At one case/column per week, it would take 65 years just to get through that inventory."

How about a decade at a time, starting with this one that is ending in a few weeks?

Monday, 2 November 2009

Odds & ends

It was comforting to see Scott Morrison's photo and byline back in the Toronto Sun on Friday, if only as an op-ed guest columnist. The former veteran Sun sports editor/hockey writer is missed. We'd link it but it is no longer online.

The Globe and Mail's Saturday edition included a story on mental health. It highlighted Sandy Naiman, a former Toronto Sun writer who is now a Toronto Star blogger. The online Globe story provided an active link to Sandy's Coming Out Crazy blog. That is class.

Awards may not be PKP's thing, but Sun Media staffers wanting to go it on their own can apply for the new Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award. Applications can be made online. Deadline is Jan. 4. A CNW press release says it is open to "any Canadian photojournalist who has been in the business less than five years - from students to freelancers to photographers working at regional publications."

Not a word in the Toronto Sun on Sunday to mark the tabloid's 38th birthday. Perhaps the little lady on King Street East has gone feminine and isn't mentioning her age these days. The big 4-oh in 2011 is the one we want to see, but there are some doubters out there.

And then there were four. The Toronto Sun's list of editorial execs in the Comment masthead is down to four. No editor-in-chief, no managing editor. But a lot of decisions they were called on to make have been channeled to other buildings.

Joe Warmington's exclusive on a plan to rejuvenate Maple Leaf Gardens no doubt prompted cheers from readers who grew up counting on the landmark building for sports and entertainment. New York City saved Radio City Music Hall. Toronto can save Maple Leaf Gardens.

Op-ed Sun Media columnist Eric Margolis penned a fitting In Memoriam tribute for his late father in today's Toronto Sun. Henry Melville Margolis died on his 80th birthday on Nov. 1, 1989, and, as Eric notes, what a life his New York City-born dad lived.

In 1963, this blogger, while working for a Thomson newspaper, was asked to mail a parcel to head office. Addressed it to Thompson Newspapers. The city editor caught the error. On Sunday, we said Jim Thompson was one of the four remaining Toronto Sun Day Oners. TSF readers quickly pointed out it is Jim Thomson. Mental lapses. Some things never change.

Cal Millar's cases

Cal Millar, a former Toronto Sun cop desk master who moved to the Star and is now retired, has a new book about old cases that never got solved.

It is something more former police desk vets should do for The Forgotten, as the new American television series calls them.

The Sun caught up to Millar for a story in today's paper.

Ian Robertson's story says the book is called Find My Killer, published in September and already getting results.

Millar's book includes profiles of 38 Canadian homicides among the 264 unsolved North American cases.

The Sun story doesn't say if one of Millar's Canadian profiles is for the 1975 abduction of four-year-old Cameron March.

The unsolved vanishing in Burlington in the summer of 1975 was the front page story for the first Sun edition printed on the new presses at 333 and it still haunts this former colleague of Millar's today.

Cameron's parents welcomed this reporter into their home, provided the most recent studio photo of their curly-haired son for publication and they posed for a photo on the back steps of their rural home.

If Millar, who now lives in Burlington, didn't research Cameron's unsolved abduction for this book, hopefully he will find time to do it for the sequel he is planning to write.

This blogger suggested the case to John Walsh of America's Most Wanted years ago, but it didn't make the program. It has been 34 years, but some cases are never too old to solve.

A lot has changed since 1975, in police labs and on the Internet.

It is just so wrong that someone out there knows what happened to Cameron and isn't talking.

How do you live with that knowledge?

In a perfect world, there would be no cold cases.

Kudos to Millar, who retired from the Star in 2004, for not forgetting. We are looking forward to reading Find My Killer.

As we've said, a weekly cold case column in the Sun would have been a popular read. Maybe Millar can be talked into a column with excerpts from his book.

Robertson's story says the 326-page print-to-order book, published by, is available through for $21.95 U.S.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Clancy retires

The Toronto Sun says goodbye to Lou Clancy in today's Sunday Sun, two years after he returned to the tabloid as editor-in-chief.

The official goodbye - Clancy stepped down as of Friday - comes on the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Toronto Sun and two weeks after TSF reported his pending retirement.

You don't lose newspaper people of Clancy's calibre if you are looking to the future of the tabloid, but that doesn't appear to be a priority for Sun Media these days.

Pros like Clancy, in the news biz for 45 years, Mike Burke-Gaffney etc., are too competent and highly paid for today's morphing Sun.

The cream of the tabloid crop has been siphoned from the newsroom at 333 since Quebecor bought Sun Media 10 years ago.

Each departing body moves the Toronto Sun that we knew and loved for most of its 38 years to the abyss.

Only four of the Sun's original 62 former Telegram employees who launched the tabloid on Nov. 1, 1971, remain - Peter Worthington, Andy Donato, Christina Blizzard and Jim Thomson.

That Day One must seem like another lifetime for the foursome and all of the other Day Oners.

Chances are there will be no Day Oners to celebrate the Sun's 40th in 2011. Just a feeling we have as we say goodbye to Clancy.

Mike Strobel also says his farewell to Clancy in today's Sun.

We agree with Strobel. Clancy has more years to contribute to print media.

At least this pro didn't quietly leave the building without a word of thanks in the paper.

No word on a new editor-in-chief for 333. Might not be if the trend continues. The tabloid dropped the managing editor's position when Burke-Gaffney called it quits last spring.

Your Lou Clancy farewell comments can be e-mailed to TSF.