Sunday, 31 January 2010

Ryerson J-805 @ 30

Mark Bonokoski, a print media vet, says the Ryerson course he has taught for four years will soon be spiked.

"It is called Journalism 805," Mark writes in his Toronto Sun column.

"By the end of this semester, after full-time faculty member April Lindgren gives it the last rites, it will no longer exist."

Mark writes about the technological influences affecting print media and the downsizing of his beloved tabloid.

"The number of empty desks in the newsroom far outnumber those that are now occupied, all due to the various convergences and re-positionings that led to the layoffs and buyouts that fall into the seemingly benign category of downsizing.

"But downsizing hurts. It hurts to see someone being forced to pack up his or her desk because their 'position' is no longer deemed necessary, or because seniority falls two months shy of union security.

"It hurts even more when you know them personally, and hurts worse when you know their personal struggles as fellow human beings and not simply as payroll numbers or items on a spread sheet.

"But that’s the name of the game today."

A recommended read.

A little more optimistic is an op-ed piece by John Cruickshank, publisher of the Toronto Star.

In it, he says "it's not the end of our business. It's just the end of our business as usual."

We'd like to see some circulation figures for Toronto's four paid dailies during the first two weeks of the earthquake coverage in Haiti.

If sales were flat, then there is a need to be concerned about the future of print journalism.

But if sales spiked, it means print is not on life support and good old-fashioned, on-the-ground journalism is what readers want for their money.

We're cheering for the survival of print in some form after the Internet dust settles, preferably smaller, independent newspapers out from under the weight of conglomerate mismanagement.

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