Friday, 8 October 2010

The 2 Robins

In a recent TSF posting, an early morning mental lapse turned outgoing Robin Anderson into the Sun's travel editor, Robin Robinson, until the error was noticed and corrected.

The following is an e-mail from Robin Robinson:

"Re your recent blog posting: It was with some consternation that I learned recently from friends and colleagues that I had been dumped from my job at the Toronto Sun. Even more distressing was learning I was a two-time cancer survivor. Neither is true. 

"Obviously your blog posting was a mistake - a mix up between myself and freelance columnist Robin Anderson, whose name is similar to my own. But it highlighted the problem with the blog specifically and what passes for online 'journalism' in general. 

"The writer of this posting obviously didn't have the facts, hadn't done even basic reporting, had not sought confirmation either by phone or e-mail, and didn't know either of the people being reported about. 

"By the next morning, someone must have pointed out the mix up in the names and the posting was changed. However, there was no indication on the blog that a mistake had ever been made. 

"I used to read the blog to catch up on former colleagues and industry news but it soon became apparent that while some of what was appearing was true, there were equal measures of unreliable and hurtful gossip. 

"The constant focus on the 'glory days' of the old Sun, when everything was perfect, became more than a little grating and when the focus of the blog turned to pointing out the deficiencies and ridiculing mistakes made by the extremely hard working and professional people who still put out this paper - no less a daily miracle than it was 30-odd years ago - I stopped reading.

"As your recent blog posting proves, EVERYONE makes mistakes. But those of us working at the newspaper still acknowledge ours in print and run corrections saying we goofed. 

"Regards, Robin Robinson - still the Travel editor and still happy to be working at the Toronto Sun."


  1. "...what passes for online 'journalism' in general."

    Nice to know the same, smug attitude that journalists have had since the web first started have never changed.

  2. Robin,

    Blogs tend to be personal projects and not journalistic efforts. This blog is no different. On the front page of the blog there is a snippet entitled About Us that tells you what this blog is about. It reads:

    "We are the soul of a newspaper. Not just any newspaper. We are the soul of the Toronto Sun from back in the day when it was the tabloid everyone in Toronto talked about. We are the people who helped make it happen. Sadly, most of us are long gone from the Sun. Many are now deceased. But when we were all a part of the Sun, as it was, it was a vibrant, kick ass paper that captured the impossible dream."

    That tells the reader of the blog what to expect - obviously some reminiscing about the good, old days. There's no claim that this blog is a journalistic effort, so your comment regarding "online journalism" is unwarranted.

  3. This is what the kids call being "OWNED"

  4. Robin's comment would be "smug" if you could rattle off a list of web-based journalistic enterprises that have sizable editorial staffs, pay their employees a professional wage, do investigative journalism and employ fact-checkers and proof readers. Boy, would her face be red then.
    Of course, the first thing they taught us in "Old School" was to never trust anybody named "Anonymous."

  5. Let's begin: Google, Yahoo!,,,, ... shall we continue? Might not trust this anonymous? Check for yourself then for a second opinion.

  6. Jim,

    Here's a link that lists some of the web-based news organizations out there:

    My comment, however, was not about online journalism as a whole. It was about this site. The site description doesn't lead me to believe it's a journalistic endeavour, more just reminiscing and talking about the biz.

  7. To Anonymous 4:13
    Yes, please continue. Four of those sites are Web arms of MSM TV outlets, using their resources (primarily paid for by non-'Net ad revenue). As for Yahoo and Google, click any of their stories and you'll invariably be linked to AP or the Hollywood Reporter or whatever. When I'm in press conferences and scrums, very occasionally I'll meet someone filing for Yahoo and they're invariably stringers.
    I will check RMP's link because I desperately want journalism to continue in a digital environment. But as was noted in another thread, the Globe has an editorial staff of more than 300. Where's that on the Web?

  8. It's funny, I can't get the image out of my head of a news report beginning with " reported today..."
    But I was wrong now that I think of it. There is a web-based news service with a newsroom, a paid staff and which breaks stories on a regular enough basis to be cited as a source by other media -
    Free Lindsay!