Wednesday, 30 June 2010

QMI drops PCQ

Quebecor has dropped out of the Press Council of Quebec in an apparent dispute over its dealings with two of its newspapers, says the Montreal Gazette.

The Gazette says Sun Media's Journal de Montreal, currently involved in a 17-month lockout, and the Journal de Quebec, which ended a 16-month lockout/strike last year, "cited a lack of vision and a desire to limit freedom of the press on the part of the council."

A letter addressed to Guy Amyot, Secretary General of the press council, Charles Michaud of Sun Media Corporation cited their dissatisfaction with the council as the reason for their withdrawal, says the Gazette.

The Toronto Sun and other Sun Media newspapers in Ontario are members of the Ontario Press Council.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

EdSun -1

A TSF tipster says the Edmonton's Sun sports editor has jumped ship for a Calgary Herald job.

"Well, just to let you know Sports Editor Jefferson Hagen of the Edmonton Sun just quit and went to the Calgary Herald, with former Sports Editor Keith Bradford," says the tipster.

"Another one fed up and getting out. Congratulations Jefferson. Kerry Diotte is just one of many who have been through this in Edmonton. Finally someone is standing up to them."

Monday, 28 June 2010

Voice Observed

The independent Brockville Voice, launched last September, is now the Brockville Observer under The Morris Group umbrella of smaller Ontario newspapers.

A TSF reader up that way says The Morris Group purchased the Voice in April. The print-only Voice was launched last September by four former Sun Media employees.

We couldn't find websites for the Observer and The Morris Group, so it appears all of their publishing focus is on print and there is nothing wrong with that scenario.

Thanks to the TSF reader who provided the update and photo.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

EdSun fireworks

The Edmonton Sun's employee/management relations are in for a major airing in the $2.28 million lawsuit by former political writer Kerry Diotte.

Check out this detailed Calgary Herald story from yesterday that begins:

An Edmonton newspaper columnist was removed from his post covering the Alberta legislature because he wasn’t good at his job, the company that publishes the Edmonton Sun states in recently filed court documents.

And continues:

Former Edmonton Sun scribe Kerry Diotte filed a $2.28-million lawsuit against Sun Media Corporation last month, claiming he was demoted, reprimanded, humiliated, and became depressed after a disagreement with the paper’s editor over his provincial politics coverage.

Pass the popcorn, folks, this one is a watcher.

Pass the hat?

Pity management without a BlackBerry, writes a TSF reader who has been keeping up with the Tweets of David Akin, one of the new crew in Sun Media's Parliamentary bureau.

Tweets such as:
"I love my new job but just finished day three and still no BlackBerry. Go ahead CrackBerry addicts: Try going cold turkey for 3 days!"


"After 7 days w/out these tools, just got my own BBerry (Bold 9700) and MacBook Pro up&running today. Apologies if I missed yer msg"

Our TSF tipster writes:

"David Akin has been tweeting that it has been days since he was hired and Sun Media still hasn't bought him a Blackberry.

"Can you start a campaign? I don't think it's fair that he has to go without one when we reporters have been without a cell phone for the newsroom or a car to report news unless we can find a payphone and a couple quarters, and here we have poor Davey going without the tools of a manager. I think people could get behind this. Maybe put up a PayPal link?"

Or not.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

70s phones

Okay, by popular demand from our down memory lane fans, more names from a late 1970s Toronto Sun directory:

Photo Department
Wasyl Kowalishen, lab manager (deceased)

Bill Fyfe, assistant

Ed Moran, technician

Len Fortune, colour lab technician

Ottmar Bierwagen, photographer/reporter

Norm Betts, photographer

Barry Gray, photographer

Jac Holland, photographer

Mike Peake, photographer (still on the job)

Ron Pozzer, photographer

Hugh Wesley, photographer

Al Scott

WinSun hiring

The Winnipeg Sun is looking for a full-time general assignment reporter.

Check out for details.

Deadline for applying for the union position is next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Quake time

Will today's minor earthquake be tomorrow's Toronto Sun headline?

One of TorSun's classic fronts was "Quake" when the city shook back in the 1980s.

Strange sensation sitting at the computer and feeling your chair shake.

Hinton Voice +1

The Hinton Voice in Alberta celebrates its first anniversary this Friday, an impressive milestone for one of several independent print/online Canadian weeklies launched in recent years.

The confidence of its staff is reflected in the newspaper's revamped website, with its much improved design and online advertising.

Born from the frustration of Sun Media employees, the Hinton Voice is a classic example of what can be done when the focus is on the community - something often lost on debt-ridden conglomerates fixated on their bottom lines.

So happy first Hinton Voice - and many more.

Take a bow, Robin Garreck and Sarah Burns, who launched the weekly as owners/operators after leaving Sun Media's Hinton Parklander. You do inspire.

Also going strong, the independent Fitzhugh, launched in Jasper, Alberta in 2005; Brant News in Brantford, Ontario, launched in October; the Strathmore Times in Strathmore, Alberta, launched in November.

Is the Brockville Voice, launched on Aug. 21, 2009, in Brockville, Ontario, with four former Sun Media employees aboard, still publishing? If so, an update anyone?

If we have missed any other independent weekly or daily launches, let TSF know.

Short shorts

Craig Martin, Sun Media's executive vice-president of western operations, is retiring next month, says an Edmonton Sun story. Martin, 55, with Sun Media since 1984, says he plans to take a year off and travel. He has no doubt earned it. That leaves more territory for Gordon Norrie, who becomes western VP as well as publisher of the Calgary and Edmonton Suns.

Brad Honywill has a new blog on the revamped CEP Local 87-M website, but it might not be that busy with the SONG president up to here in newspaper contract negotiations this summer. But Brad's Blog, launched earlier this month, is the right move for direct communication with current and prospective SONG members.

A TSF reader in Ottawa says the ENT pull-out section was missing from his Sunday Sun last weekend. The Ottawa Sun still has a pull-out ENT section and the Toronto Sun doesn't? What's that about? Are there pull-outs in Edmonton, Calgary or Winnipeg?

Bill Brioux, the Toronto Sun's former TV writer, procrastinated with the writing of his latest book on late night TV talk shows and it paid off handsomely. The delay allows him to include the Leno/O'Brien shakeup. Night Watch: 50 Years of Latenight Television is due in February.

The Toronto Sun should publish a checklist of benefits and drawbacks in hosting a G20 conference. Say about an inch of space devoted to benefits and substantial space to drawbacks.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Spill map

Just how big is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?

Sports for Pat

Yes, Pat Grier, TSF's 1970s down memory lane telephone directory does include the Toronto Sun sports department.

The 17 sports staffers include some heavy hitters and several legends.

In the order listed:

George Gross, editor (deceased)

Bruce O'Neill, assistant editor

Jill Lysakowski, secretary

Ken Becker, baseball reporter

Rick Fraser, reporter (deceased)

Trent Frayne, columnist (retired)

Dave Fuller, reporter (still on the job)

Pat Hickey, reporter (now at Montreal Gazette)

John Iaboni, reporter (now an independent hockey writer)

Bob Johns, reporter

Ted Reeve, columnist (deceased)

Norm da Costa, deskman

Lloyd Finley, deskman (deceased)

Bill Lankhof, deskman (still on the job)

Rolf Rimstad, deskman

Jack Saunders, deskman

Mike Simpson, deskman

Monday, 21 June 2010

TO Flashbacks

Nothing brings back memories of the Toronto Sun's glory years more than a vintage in-house phone directory.

This undated 43-name Editorial Department directory is probably from the late 1970s and only three people still have ties to 333.

Top of the list, the late, great J.D. MacFarlane, editorial director;

Linda Bone, secretary

Ed Monteith, managing editor (deceased)

Peter Brewster, assistant managing editor

Les Pyette, city editor (retired)

Jim Yates, assistant city editor (deceased)

Jean Houghton, secretary (retired)

Mark Bonokoski, reporter (still on the job)

Bob Burt, assistant city editor

John Cosway, reporter (now freelancing)

John Downing, city hall columnist (now blogging)

Gary Dunford, columnist

Linda Fox, rim

Jerry Gladman, reporter (deceased)

Margaret Haddrick, Home editor

Bill Hay, desk man (deceased)

Claire Hoy, Queen's Park columnist

Joe Hvilivitzky, court reporter

Ted Kerr, reporter

Lee Lester, reporter

Bill Lever, wire desk

Sandi Logan, reporter

Jan Lounder, reporter

Paul Mann, reporter

Cal Millar, police reporter (retired from Toronto Star)

Bob MacDonald, political reporter (deceased)

Sean McCann, court reporter (semi-retired in Alberta)

Pat McCormick, rim

Howard McGregor, rim (deceased)

Walter McKinnon, rim (deceased)

Barney McKinley, Real Estate editor (deceased)

Jane O'Hara, reporter

Cheryl O'Neill, rim

Chris Parnell, copy boy

Norah-Jean Perkin, Action Line

Debbie Read, reporter

Paul Rimstead, columnist (deceased)

Kevin Scanlon, reporter (now at Toronto Star)

John Schenk, police reporter (now at World Vision)

Jim Thomson, national editor (still on the job)

Donald Tsukada, rim

Glen Woodcock, systems coordinator (now Sun auto freelancer)

Peter Young, Queen's Park reporter

Just some of the numerous troops hired in the early years when the Toronto Sun went nowhere but up in employee numbers, readers and advertisers.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Twitter shock

What to do when you get fired out of the blue by Sun Media?

Parliamentary bureau employees axed Thursday turned to Twitter.

"The upside of being fired by Darth Vader? Watching Serbia beat Germany," Tweeted Peter Zimonjic.

"I'm now a free agent but I won't be leaving the press gallery," said Elizabeth Thompson.

Later, she wrote: "Wow! I can't believe the number of tributes from colleagues. Maybe hard work, digging and solid reporting counts for something after all."

We couldn't find any Tweets from Christina Spencer, the third casualty of Sun Media's shameful, bullying behaviour.

Quebecor's pathetic human resources track record since it bought Sunday Media in 1999 is so, so distant from the spirit of the founders of the flagship Toronto Sun.

Yes, it is PKP's football to kick around until all of the air in it is deflated, but you just don't treat people like their lives are meaningless.

The late Doug Creighton, founding publisher, would cringe at the mean-spirited management of his beloved Sun and all of its siblings.

The deterioration of Sun Media employee-management relations is enough to make empathetic vets from the glory years weep.

Is there not a Joseph Welch out there to say: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" as the U.S. Army lawyer asked the disgraced Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1954?

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ottawa bureau -3

Updated re Rue Frontenac story
Christina Spencer
, Elizabeth Thompson and Peter Zimonjic were whacked today from Sun Media's Parliament Hill bureau, TSF sources report.

As one of the sources said: "All experienced, fair and balanced print journalists."

Rue Frontenac, staffed by locked out Journal de Montreal employees, says Sun Media reps from Toronto arrived in Ottawa today to "announce the sad news to Christina Spencer, Elizabeth Thompson and Peter Zimonjic."

The online newspaper says Spencer, Thompson and Zimoniic didn't see it coming and quoted the president of the press gallery as saying they all "have a very good reputation on the Hill."

The Sun's Eye on the Hill profiles read:

Christina Spencer’s journalism experience includes stints as an international affairs writer, editorial page commentator and daily newspaper editor. She’s been with Sun Media’s National Bureau since January, 2008. She loves federal politics, hates media scrums and wonders what it would be like to cover a majority Parliament.

Elizabeth Thompson is new to Sun Media’s national office but not to Parliament Hill or to blogging. Her 23 years working for the Gazette in Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa give the Montreal native a “distinctly” different perspective on politics as well as a fondness for cafĂ© au lait, chocolatines and French wines. When she is not busy driving politicians to distraction with her questions, she drives her children around town.

Peter Zimonjic is taller than anyone in Sun Media’s national bureau and that gives him a different perspective on what goes on in Ottawa. That and his five years in London, England, working for the British press. He’s also an author. He prefers a Double Double to a latte, he rides his bike or skates to work rather than drives and he has a kicking comic book collection.

Still no word on the fate of Greg Weston in the shakeup, but so much for being loyal to Quebecor.

Stay tuned for more of the Sun's parliamentary bureau's extreme makeover.

It is getting uglier and uglier.

Fishers & Sun

A Fisher has returned to the Sun Media fold in Ottawa.

Tobias Fisher, one of five sons of the late Sun political columnist Doug Fisher, has been hired as news editor of QMI's Ottawa bureau.

A Quebecor Media press release says Fisher will "manage the operations of the national bureau and assist in preparing for the launch of the Sun TV News channel, set to launch January 1, 2011."

While his father and brother, Matthew, worked for the Sun, Tobias is new to the chain after 28 years in television news (Global, CTV and CBC).

"Tobias is among the most respected and talented journalists in Canada," Kory Teneycke, VP development for Quebecor Media, says in the press release. "He will be an invaluable addition to our Hard News team as we prepare for the launch of Sun TV News."

Meanwhile, with all of the hiring going on, is approval of the Sun News channel a foregone conclusion?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Bono's new title

The Toronto Sun's Comment masthead has been changed to add Mark Bonokoski as National Editorial Writer and remove the "interim" for James Wallace, now editor in chief.

As mentioned previously, we hope Bono doesn't get too comfortable writing editorials. Readers who need a voice in Sun columns can't afford to lose one of the tabloid's favourite story tellers.

With Mark writing editorials for the summer, Michele Mandel locked into court coverage and Mike Strobel writing lighter, sexier fare these days, columns for a cause will be in short supply.

UK Sun pays

Did you notice the fine print in the Page 3 Toronto Sun photo of a London Sun web page yesterday?

The line that reads Got a story? We pay $$$.

That message to UK readers stands out when Sun Media newspapers in Canada are forever asking readers to provide stories, photos and videos for free.

Filling print and online newspaper space with free content provided by "citizen" journalists is a new low and shouldn't be tolerated.

Yes, others are accepting external content donations, including TV and radio stations, but it doesn't make it right.

More Sun News

Early indications are the proposed Sun Television News Channel will be operating on the cheap.

During a Q&A with Stefania Moretti, QMI Agency, Kory Teneycke, vice president, development of Quebecor Media Inc. and responsible for the Ottawa bureau, was asked:

Q: And it’s going to be a 24/7 news channel?

A: I think programming would run from early in the morning until about 9 at night. And then you would see some repeating of the commentary shows at night, similar to what you see on other news channels.

Say what?

Repeats after 9 p.m.? Does that mean no coverage of breaking news throughout the night?

Sounds like Toronto Sun news deadlines.

In a nutshell, is Sun News going to be a cable "news" channel or a non-stop, talking heads gabfest?

Will Sun News have the manpower and the budget to go live after 9 p.m. to provide coverage of major breaking news?

The extra mile

If the late, great Ed Monteith or J.D. MacFarlane were authoring their daily Assessment Notice for Sun Media newspapers today, they would surely give a nod to Randy Richmond.

Randy, a London Free Press reporter, is researching a feature on the 25th anniversary of Addiction Services of Thames Valley.

Told they are getting more clients with gaming addictions, Randy went the extra mile in search of men and women fighting the addiction.

He posted an appeal to addicts via On-Line Gamers Anonymous the other day and his feature will no doubt have more depth with one-on-one interviews.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Be brief, eh?

We've said it before and we'll say it again, Quebecor press releases suck.

The biggest media story of the day was the official announcement that Quebecor Media and Sun Media are seeking approval for a national all-news cable television slot.

This is how Quebecor Media's press release begins:

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Jun 15, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) ----Pierre Karl Peladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor Inc., Quebecor Media Inc. and Sun Media Corporation, today announced that Quebecor Media, through a partnership between its two subsidiaries TVA Group and Sun Media Corporation, will be challenging the English Canadian TV news establishment by investing in a new hard news/straight talk English specialty channel called SUN TV NEWS.

Embarrassing, wordy (58), ego-driven, convoluted, amateurish, style-challenged, structurally deficient, kiss-ass - take your pick, they all fit.

You can read the remainder of the press release at, a Fox News Network site that obviously doesn't rewrite crappy press releases.

People in the communications business should know better.

Fox North comments

Updated re Star, Gazette, Post, Hollywood Reporter
Feedback varies, but Quebecor's plan to launch a national all-news TV channel has been receiving a lot of ink.

Details of "Fox News North" were announced this morning during a press conference at the Toronto Sun.

Sun Media has launched "The Sun News TV Channel" to outline its intentions and collect "pledge to view" e-mails.

Stories and columns:

Peter Worthington, co-founder of the Toronto Sun

Bill Harris, Sun TV writer

Bill Brioux, former Toronto Sun TV writer

Globe and Mail story by Susan Krashinsky

Toronto Star story by Robert Benzie

Montreal Gazette story by Jamie Sturgeon

Reuters story by David Ljunggren and Euan Rocha

Hollywood Reporter story by Etan Vlessing

CBC News

Canadian Press story on CTV

Quebecor/Sun Media press release on Marketwire

National Post story by Chris Selley

Weston to D.C.?

Is veteran Sun Media columnist Greg Weston a casualty of the Ottawa Shuffle?

Greg has a column today online, but The Hill Times says "It appears something happened" to Weston, a Sun Media political columnist for 35 years.

One source said Mr. Weston's column 'is gone,' and there were possible talks about a position in Washington, D.C., the online newspaper says.

The Hill Times also says:

"There was concern in the Parliamentary Press Gallery last week that the sudden appointment of Kory Teneycke, Mr. Harper's former communications director, to oversee journalists at the Quebecor Media Inc. Parliament Hill bureau, may have been related to controversial stories about the summit spending. Several of the most controversial reports were broken by a member of the bureau, Sun Media columnist Greg Weston."

A check by TSF revealed Greg's recent summit cost columns are archived under his name at, but there are no Weston column links on Sun Media's Eye on the Hill site.

Meanwhile, Greg is receiving shoutouts for highlighting the Conservative government's summit expenditure, now widely publicized thanks to his reporting.

Fox smox

PKP's bid to launch a national all-news TV channel in Canada will be outlined this morning during a press conference at the Toronto Sun.

How ironic. Talk about rubbing salt in a wound.

Why hold the press conference at the Toronto Sun when Ottawa will apparently be the focal point of the proposed TV network?

The Toronto Sun is where it all began on Nov. 1, 1971, with 62 former Tely employees launching a dream that quickly became a Canadian print media success story.

In the 11 short years since Quebecor purchased Sun Media, 333 King Street East has been reduced from six full floors of Sun activity to embarrassing rented quarters on the second floor.

The building Doug, Peter and Don built in 1975 has been sold; the presses and pressmen are long gone and all that remains of the glory years is in a corner of the second floor.

Survivors of the siphoning of employees and resources at 333 will no doubt be assembled to hear details of PKP's "new investment in Canadian media"

No official price tag has been attached to the billionaire's latest plaything, being described as Fox News North, but the Toronto Star mentions $100 million.

How enthused can Toronto Sun staffers be about any expenditure after being nickel and dimed and sliced and diced for more than a decade?

And being told to take one for the team during tough economic times, while PKP shops for an NHL team.

BTW: The press release asks visiting media to check in at the security desk on the ground floor and will be directed to the second floor newsroom.

Visiting media will see for themselves how the Little Paper That Grew has shrivelled.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Bono & Comment

The one constant in the Toronto Sun since the 1970s has been the writing of Mark Bonokoski, mostly in column form highlighted by a photo of a mustachioed Bono.

Well, there was that brief time in the late 1970s when the iconic moustache was shaved off, but that is another story.

Back to the words of a wordsmith extraordinaire. They have, except for a stint at the Ottawa Sun in the 1980s, been a force in the Toronto Sun for almost four decades.

Backyard perverts, child molesters, criminals on the run and other people who have raised the wrath of Mark Bonokoski have felt the jabs of his pen.

But more often than not, his award-winning columns have helped right the wrongs endured by seniors, soldiers, police officers, aboriginals, tenants, taxpayers and others in need of a listener who cares.

In our books, four of the Toronto Sun's greatest news-oriented story tellers on various playing fields have been Paul Rimstead, Jerry Gladman, Mark Bonokoski and John Downing.

Paul and Jerry left us too soon. Mark is still on the job and John is now a blogger.

Which brings us to a Page 2 story in the Sunday Sun announcing Mark is taking a "hiatus" from the news pages this summer to write national editorials in the Comment section four times a week.

First, Andy Donato cartoons on Sundays only during the winter months and now no Mark Bonokoski columns for the entire summer?

They are messing with the tabloid masters.

James Wallace, editor in chief, calls it a hiatus, which is defined as: "A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break."

We can only hope it is strictly a brief break from columns and not a sly attempt by the Fox News North recruiters to corral his talents.

We wish Mark well writing editorials during the summer months, but come September, we're sure all of his faithful column readers will want him back in the news section doing what he does best - touching readers with words from the heart.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Re Hugo Rodrigues

The Canadian Journalism Foundation handed out its awards last night in Toronto and the only Sun Media nod was a scholarship for a Woodstock Sentinel-Review reporter.

Hugo Rodrigues received one of the Canadian Journalism Fellowships for a year of post-secondary study, awarded annually by Massey College in the University of Toronto.

His is the Gordon N. Fisher fellow, named after the late Gordon N. Fisher who, along with the late St. Clair Balfour of Southam Newspapers, created these fellowships in 1962.

In the words of Joe Biden, being recognized for a journalism fellowship is a big fn deal.

Hugo's award-winning reporting for the Sentinel-Review includes education beat coverage and last year's abduction and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford.

Congrats to Hugo, the Toronto Star, Winnipeg Free Press and other winners, all listed in a CNW press release.

Bureau changes

The ever-prolific Kathleen Harris has been demoted.

She is no longer Sun Media's Parliamentary bureau chief, but "will continue to play an important role in the Sun Media national bureau."

Sun Media's outdated Eye on the Hill website says Kathleen has been trolling for stories inside the corridors of power on Parliament Hill since 2003. She loves adventure, politics, real people and election campaigns."

We doubt she loves this week's bureau shuffle, with two outsiders coming aboard to prepare for Quebecor's Fox North coverage.

But Kathleen is remembered, at the end of a lengthy press release.

The press release begins:

"Quebecor Media Inc. and Sun Media Corporation are pleased to announce the appointment of David Akin as Sun Media National Bureau Chief in Ottawa, and Brian Lilley as a Senior Correspondent."

And the press release ends:

"Quebecor Media and Sun Media Corporation would like to thank Kathleen Harris for her leadership as Bureau Chief. Ms. Harris will continue to play an important role in the Sun Media National Bureau."

So what say Greg Weston, Sun Media's senior national affairs columnist?

Have the changes shaken his romance with Sun Media?

There is Gordon Lightfoot song playing in the background as we wrap up this item.

Very timely.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

QMI's Fox North?

One thing comforting about Fox News is that is an American thing, south of the border and divorced from Canada's largely fair and balanced broadcasting style.

But the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and other media are all over the latest story out of Quebecor Media that it is applying for an all-news TV station.

Fox North? they ask.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

PKP in London

PKP was in London yesterday speaking to regional Sun Media managers, so it appears that recent call for pow wows will be a series of regional meets in the coming weeks.

The London Free Press has a video clip of PKP addressing the managers yesterday, but a narrator does most of the talking over his presentation.

What we do hear PKP say is "Only the strongest will survive."

And "even more convergence" is mentioned in the narration by Mike Knoll.

No London Free Press story about PKP's visit to Spencer Hall and only a brief video clip.

There is an editorial message there, somewhere.

Check out the faces of the dozens of assembled managers. Do you see apprehension or a sense of better days ahead?

If only we could read their minds.

We've heard it's Niagara Region for PKP tomorrow.

Right as right

Sun Media's Parliamentary Bureau has a new captain - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former director of communications.

As a Canwest News Service story notes, Kory Teneycke will effectively be "overseeing coverage of a government for which he was chief spokesman one year ago."

Kory signed off as a CBC conservative pundit to accept the Quebecor appointment.

Mike Therien, Sun Media's national editor, loses control of the Parliamentary Bureau in the shuffle, but continues to oversee the five Sun tabloids in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, says the Canwest story by Janice Tibbetts.

No word yet about how, or if, the new appointment will affect the prolific Kathleen Harris, Sun Media's Parliamentary bureau chief.

So Harper's former communications director now oversees Sun Media's fed coverage and former Tory PM Brian Mulroney sits on the Quebecor board of directors.

And some TSF readers say the Sun is too Liberal for their tastes.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Lockout +17 months

The Journal de Montreal lockout of 250 employees is at 17 months and counting.

For bilingual TSF readers, editors of Rue Frontenac - the online lockout newspaper being packaged daily - comment on 17 months on the sidelines.

We've always felt the locked out Montreal employees and their union should have gone the route of Journal de Quebec employees during its 16-month lockout/strike and publish a print newspaper.

The Quebec lockout/strike paper MediaMatin, published five days a week with a press run of 40,000, was more in-your-face-Quebecor and more visible on the street.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Big June meet?

We have received a TSF tip like this before that fizzled, so for what it is worth:

(One tipster says June 9, another says July 9.)

"This is totally off topic, but I want to know if any other branch has been told that PKP has called a 'town hall' meeting for sales, publishers and editors.

"It's a 'must' attend event. (It's) rumoured that one employee who will be in Phoenix at the time is flying all the way back just for this meeting. Wonder what it's for?"

Stay tuned.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Trivial point

The Chris Haney tribute written by the Toronto Star's Katie Daubs mentions several newsmen who did, and didn't, buy into Trivial Pursuit as investors in the early 1980s.

Chaney, who died Monday at 59, and fellow Montreal newsman Scott Abbott, offered people they knew $1,000 shares before the board game was released. Those who did, became wealthy. Those who didn't, well, they didn't become wealthy.

Not mentioned in the Daubs story is the late Bruce Blackadar, one of the "Windsor mafia" who worked at the Toronto Sun and the Star from the 1970s until his death from brain cancer on Aug. 15, 1996, at 51.

Bruce, a highly respected reporter/writer/author, rolled the dice and invested in 1982.

Bruce was also a poker player and one night he told fellow players at the Toronto Press Club his first Trivial Pursuit cheque was in his pocket. It was for $14,000.

"The first thing I am going to buy is a pair of silk pajamas," said Bruce, a recovering alcoholic and author of Last Call, a collection of anonymous columns he had written for AA.

Knowing his background made you feel good about his financial bonanza.

Bruce didn't flaunt his new-found source of income. As a gambler, he had gambled on a couple of heavy-drinking news guys who came up with a board game and it was a winner.

The cheques kept coming until his death and that was just fine with friends and colleagues at the Sun and the Star. They knew his first love was journalism and he worked the newsrooms to the end.

As for that night at the press club poker table, Bruce walked away with winnings from the usual suspects and the $14,000 cheque in his pocket.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Jerry's ALS legacy

One of Jerry Gladman's proudest moments as a father was the day son Jesse ran alongside Muhammad Ali during a training run in Florida while writing a story about the famed boxer.

This Saturday, Jesse Gladman, now a 29-year-old elementary school teacher, will be walking for his late father during the ALS Society of Ontario's annual Walk for ALS.

Jerry, a former Toronto Star copy boy, Toronto Telegram reporter, Toronto Sun writer and Ryerson journalism teacher, died of ALS on June 21, 2004. The father of three was 61.

ALS slowly claimed Jerry's life, but not before he struggled to complete a four-part series on Living and Dying With ALS, which posthumously won him a Dunlop Award.

“With his ALS series, we were getting hundreds of e-mails for years after, thanking him for helping their families. The response was amazing and it was amazing to see how many people actually knew him from his writing,” Jesse says in a Sharon Lem Toronto Sun story.

Jesse told Sharon the ALS Society of Ontario comforted the Gladman family during his father's 14-month battle with the disease.

“During our toughest time, the ALS Society of Ontario was instrumental in helping my father remain comfortable in his last year and pass away with dignity."

ALS Walks are held annually across Canada. The Toronto walk at Wilket Creek Park in the Don Mills and Eglinton area starts at 9 a.m. Last year, the Toronto walk raised more than $113,000. The target this year is $125,000.

Friends, former colleagues and longtime readers will no doubt be walking - and pledging - in memory of Jerry.

Colleagues still on the job - Peter Worthington, Mark Bonokoski and Jim Slotek - recall working with Jerry over the years in another Sharon Lem story.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

CP extension?

A TSF tipster says confirm or deny: Quebecor has decided to hang on to the Canadian Press for at least six more weeks because QMI Agency is not ready to drop them.

CP and Associated Press were scheduled to be axed by Sun Media at the end of this month, saving the company several million.

In March of 2009, an internal PKP memo obtained by the Globe and mailed said Quebecor would be able to create its own network "far superior to what the other groups have, because it will be driven by our own employees."

How is that working out for understaffed, overworked Sun Media newsrooms, PKP?

Weak filler news stories and photos in the Toronto Sun, channeled from other Sun Media jurisdictions, isn't what we would call "far superior" content.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Niagara action

Call it the Niagara Region Shuffle.

TSF tipsters from down that way say some bodies are on the move this week involving Sun Media's Niagara Falls Review, Welland Tribune, St. Catharines Standard and Northumberland Today - mostly at Metroland's expense.

One tipster says brothers Mike and Mark Cressman, Mike's wife, Leanne, and John Tobon are leaving Metroland's bi-weekly Niagara This Week to join Sun Media.

OK, from one tipster we have Mike Cressman as the new ad director of the Tribune, replacing Daria Zmiyiwsky.

Zmiyiwsky is on her way to the Review as ad director (manager), replacing Mark Holmes.

Holmes is off to Northumberland Today (Cobourg, Port Hope, Colborne) to become publisher.

Meanwhile, Mark Cressman is the new publisher at the Review, taking over for Dave Martineau who left recently.

"Rumour has it more changes are coming to Niagara as well, but no one knows if it means more layoffs or the forming of one paper - which has been long rumoured," says the tipster.

"The announcement of the new ad director (manager) in Welland took a few people by surprise. Long time ad vets in Welland were not even considered for the job at either Welland or Niagara Falls."

Another tipster says Mike's wife Leanne will be doing real estate at the Standard and Tobon is expected to become a regional advertising director for Niagara Falls, Welland and St. Catharines.

WTF re Olson

Question of the day is why are Kathleen Harris stories out of Ottawa not giving Peter Worthington full credit for breaking the Clifford Olson pension story?

Today's Editorial got it right with kudos for Peter, but not the news stories.

Peter, a veteran newsman and co-founder of the Toronto Sun, broke the Olson pension story in a column in March.

Take a bow, Peter. You got the job done - from column to Parliament - in less than three months.

Globe overhaul

A couple of TSF tipsters say the Globe and Mail is putting its wallet into print, with a $2 billion investment in printing presses and a print edition overhaul this fall.

That doesn't sound like print media has had its day.

One tipster writes:

"The Globe and Mail is putting its wallet into print. Over the past three weeks, the Globe's publisher and editor-in-chief have been talking about the Globe's future plans and the upcoming redesign.

"The long range plans include a $2-billion investment in printing presses. The short range plans include the new Globe to be debuted this fall: magazine-like with glossier colour and better paper stock; a print publication aimed at modern, digital-savvy readers; and no layoffs.

"The new Globe will not be a 'delivery system for news' but rather a delivery system for insights. The Globe is betting that readers will pay for high quality content published in a high quality format."

The tipster, in response to a TSF comment posted, says:

"Quote: '. . . as long as Sun Media is offering print don't shortchange print customers.'

"Exactly. About 94% of Sun Media profit comes from print."

Personally, we hope the Globe makeover does not mean the end of its Report on Business, its superior obits page, quality sports coverage, the Friday movie/TV section and other features.

The award-winning Globe, as it is, is the most reliable daily print choice these days, so we are a little concerned about the comment that it will not be a "delivery system for news."

Stay tuned.