Friday, 24 September 2010

Rory no more

Updated re link to Saturday column
Joe Ruscitti, the new editor in chief at the London Free Press, explains in his blog why veteran columnist Rory Leishman and the LFP have parted company:

"As I mentioned here yesterday, the decades-long relationship between The London Free Press and columnist Rory Leishman is at an end.

"It was not planned, but ended with a dispute over one of his columns. As editor in chief - this happened two or three days into my taking the role, so you can imagine how little joy it brought - I refused to print the column without some changes. 

"Leishman refused to make changes and said he would write no longer for The Free Press were the column not to run.

"Without getting into all the details - you can read the original column and Leishman’s thoughts about the dispute on his blog – it boiled down, really, to a standoff between unfettered free speech and the standards to which I believe the community holds this newspaper.

"My first column as editor in chief appears in Saturday’s newspaper and is about the whole thing."

We await your Saturday column. Meanwhile, it is time to change the sidebar wording on the editors' blog:

"Thoughts from our editors, including Editor-in-Chief Paul Berton and Managing Editor Joe Ruscitti, on the challenges of daily journalism."


  1. Quote: "... it boiled down, really, to a standoff between unfettered free speech and the standards to which I believe the community holds this newspaper."

    Too bad the Toronto Sun doesn't have the same principles. Otherwise, the intentional hate propaganda against Margaret Atwood and George Soros would never have been published. Still waiting for heads to roll for those articles. The Sun's anonymous, bland apology was meaningless.

  2. Having read the unedited column, I wholeheartedly agree with Joe's decision. The line Joe wanted to excise amounts to a drive-by slurring of two individuals. And, no, I don't work for Sun Media and I don't know Joe. If the writer wanted to damage these two people, he needed to make a better argument. What he's done here is just guilt by tenuous association.

  3. While no fan of Rory Leishman's columns, I think the LFP should have ran the column as is.

  4. Yeah....guilt by association.

    He's a bigot. And he's using his LFP soapbox to hammer on people without any evidence.

    I told him and I'll say it again here. I would have killed the column and fired his ass on the spot for trying to push it after the fact.

    He's a small minded jerk who will get lost in the blogsphere and only later realize how good a deal he had with the LFP.......

    Now he's back to being a nobody.

    He's too chicken even to post comments about his own blog.....tells you a lot doesn't it?

    Jerks like him give decent journalists a bad name.

  5. Ian Harvey wrote: "... only later realize how good a deal he had with the LFP......."

    A good deal at the LFP?

    They pay peanuts to their freelance columnists and Rory Leishman only appeared about once every month or so. Once every three weeks maximum.

    A decade-or-so ago they paid far more per freelance opinion column and several writers appeared several times a week.

    Those days are long gone. Walking away from the deal is like getting kicked out of Hell for not shaving.

  6. Ruscitti was right. You effectively libel two men via association and don't even bother asking them why they're addressing this group.

    For all Leishman knew, they could've been appearing in front of MAC to argue against continued affiliation with the Brotherhood.

    Opinion columns still need to be responsible. He could easily make the thrust of his argument without the ad hominem attack, and, if he learned to edit for brevity, fit it into 700 words. In fact, most tab opinion writers in the chain would gladly school him on the fact that they never get that length, yet manage to get the job done.

  7. Well, I've just read his column, and his own commentary on his column, and I'd say that standing alone in the blogosphere may yet offer him a practical learning opportunity re: The workings of a proviincial civil court and the working definition of "libel".