Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Return of rims?

A framed photograph on the wall overlooking this blogger's desk is an early 1960s black and white view of the Globe and Mail's newsroom.

The photo snapped by Bob Chow shows a double rim, one for the editors - photo (Jim Knack), city (Bob Turnbull), news (Al Dawson), national (Joe Gelman) etc., the other for copy editors, including Martin Lynch, Barry Zwicker, Dave Spurgeon, Rod Goodman, Eric Dowd, Lex Shrag.

Nothing says functional newsroom more than that traditional rim, where editors huddled within arm's reach to put out the daily newspaper.  At the Globe, pneumatic tubes were used to dispatch edited typed stories to the composing room.

Computers have all but erased the use of rims, but a TSF tipster says PKP is hot for their return to Sun Media newsrooms.

The tipster writes: "From what I was told, newsrooms must be reconfigured into the shapes of horseshoes, with the ME sitting at the curve of the horseshoe and everyone spreading out from there. 

"They have a certain amount of time to accomplish this - like a couple of weeks - and they have to take a picture of it and send it to PKP as proof that it's been done."

If the tip is accurate, it is a good move.

Rims make sense if only to once again have editors at arm's length for the sake of clarity in newsroom management. A gathering of minds, with no need to shout to isolated editors working in cubicles.

Lack of communication in overworked newsrooms might be the source of frequent embarrassing typos, layout gaffs and other errors.

While PKP is in The Front Page mode, the return of proofreaders would also enhance the reputation of his print newspapers.


  1. Can we just call this another one of PKP's pipe dreams?

    While he's at it why not save cost on computers and let's go back to using typewriters.

  2. Another day, another wacky idea. We don't have enough people in our newsroom to create a horseshoe and we're not alone. Maybe PKP will see this when he gets the photographs. Good luck, with this one!

  3. Maybe he needs to look at some newsrooms again. While it seems like a decent idea, it won't work in a number of newsrooms I've been in. The area just won't allow for that type of set up. It would also mean reconfiguring all the computer network wiring, which won't happen with already overworked IT guys spread thin across the chain

  4. It has fuck all to do with newsroom efficiency, it's so it looks like a set when the Sun TV cameras are installed and pointing at it.

  5. Who's going to be operating the cameras? The SUN TV News hosts? Because camera staff costs, um, money.

  6. Geez a rim that actually edits copy and catches mistakes. What a concept.

    A recent headline in the Sun said that an ex OPP officer got 25 years for sexually abusing kids when he was on the job. In fact, he only got 8 years, but what the heck! No sense in being accurate, no one cares!

  7. as someone who has actually worked on a rim in several operations, I can attest to one thing — it won't work in the present penny-pinching era of PKP.
    You can look back at the old pictures and see that there weren't all that many deskers around a rim. But there's a good reason for that. Copy editors were just that — editors who handled copy and wrote headlines and cutlines and designed pages. We weren't expect to be compositors and proofreaders, just as most reporters were just that — reporters — not photographers and videographers and bloggers and window washers and whatever.
    This current idea sounds like another attempt to make the Suns look better staffed than they are, to squeeze even more work out of an already overworked corps of editors.

  8. @24 November, 2010 1:48 PM and Lew Fournier

    You are both dead on. The papers may have a direction but look at who they have running the ships and let's not forget about their captain radioing in from shore barking orders.

    Sun Media, the Toronto Sun, are what they are and that doesn't amount to much more than a sliver of what it once was but what paper has been in the last two decades.

    We are far removed from decency and we're not alone. It's just our captain is rabid, but he's crafty. He's about to become a very powerful man if this all works out.

    He has a goal and let's applaud him for that at least. He wants his empire to be a television super station. And he's got the money to do it. That's that.

    But you can't have your cake and eat it too. No longer will it be about the story, it's about how steady your camera is and is it good enough to be on the air across the country. Second best will do but we won't turn away third or four or free. Thanks.

    We, the people, are the mass producers of a being so determined not even someone as slick as Tory Kory can hold on if he goes a bit out of the lines. It won't be tolerated. Follow in line or else.

    I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds. I only hope that I can survive and still, well, see a good story told by a newspaperman. A scribe.

    Long live the reporter.

    The papers have a direction at least, eh?

  9. A TV feed to each newsroom? Yes just who else is going to lose their job to pay for that because TV equipment and staff do not come cheap.

    Better order the Centre of Excellence crews to brush up on their video editing skills.
    Fox News North will be entertaining at least. We need more Canadian comedy shows.

  10. And speaking of Canadian comedy and the rim, I highly recommend you read:

    If you don't want to read the entire series, (well worth the time), start with "Chapter 8 - The Rim Pigs" and read all the way to the end of Chapter 14.

    If you've ever toiled at a daily, you'll understand.

  11. Fixed cameras permanently mounted and transmitting a feed so reporters can do standups for Sun TV cost nothing and can be operated from the head end. You honestly think you need a human being to run them? Digivid camera + pole + masking tape on floor indicting where reporter stands = $100.08.

  12. TV feeds? Guess more work for the Bollywood folks.

  13. Has PKP visited some of these offices? Some papers barely have enough staff to put out a paper. I can't see this in every office just in the bigger markets.

  14. What's new? Newspaper barons have been demanding rim jobs from underlings for years. :P

  15. I think it's unfair to ask journalists who chose to go into the print field as opposed to broadcasting to suddenly have to do both. What's the point in having two streams for journalism if reporters are going to have to take on dual roles for no extra salary.

  16. J-schools are spitting out students who do both. So either shape up or get the boot and those students will work for pennies because they are thrilled to get a job.

    If you're protected by a union, complain to your leader.

  17. RE 29 November, 2010 12:31 AM

    Spoken like a whipped PKP fan.

  18. No, I hate the man. He has ruined the lives of many of my friends and taken their careers away all for the sake of greed. I just know how he thinks and operates and that kind of drivel is what the managing editors will spew out if anyone dares to complain.

  19. RE 1 December, 2010 1:35 AM

    That makes more sense. Apologies: I thought that WAS a management line coming from someone disguised as a disgruntled Sun Media employee. Reasons like yours are the focal point of why I want to see SUN TV News fail miserably.