Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Toronto Sun Family blog.
TSF was launched Dec. 8, 2006, as a morale booster for Toronto Sun employees, past and present, who were concerned about the flagship tabloid's future.
Chatter at a Toronto Sun reunion, attended by 150 current and former employees two weeks earlier, included major concerns about job losses.
SOS - Save Our Sun - lapel stickers were everywhere. The Toronto Sun was once named one of the Top 100 companies in Canada to work for, but Quebecor had curbed the appeal.
We tried Myspace for the blog launch but ran out of allotted photo space within a day, so we switched to blogspot and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
TSF traffic was slow in the first few weeks, but input from proud current and former employees, pre-Christmas layoffs and other news kept the ball rolling.
Unfortunately, good news has been minimal over the past four years, with Quebecor:
Slashing payroll numbers (including 600 on Black Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008);
Selling newspaper buildings, including 333;
Closing newspapers and merging others;
Eliminating Christmas bonuses, sabbaticals etc.
Dropping the Dunlop Awards;
Messing with proven content;
Turning newsrooms into sweatshops etc.
Unleashing this year's Tory Kory fiasco in Ottawa;
And the list goes on.
Four years later, as TSF counts down to the Toronto Sun's 40th anniversary next Nov. 1, the mood at Sun Media is as distant from pre-Quebecor years as can be.
What the fifth and final year of TSF blogging brings is anyone's guess. Our dream scenario is PKP unloads his newspapers in favour of someone who gives a damn about print.
With employees slashed and buildings sold, more newspaper closures could be on the horizon. As it is, PKP has too many toys in his closet to focus on newsrooms.
The billionaire's newest toy, Sun TV News channel, launches in March, no doubt putting more pressure on overworked and understaffed newsrooms across the chain.
So stay tuned, TSF readers.
Many thanks to TSF's faithful gathering of reliable tipsters who have kept TSF postings flowing in the first four years.
Most tipsters employed by Sun Media remain anonymous, fearing for their jobs. In Quebecor's world, they say putting a name to a Sun Media tip can cost you your job.
Sun vets from the glory years say the loss of freedom of speech for newspaper employees is the saddest post-Quebecor cut of all.