Friday, 7 January 2011

It was written 1

When Ron Poulton died at 77 in November of 1993, his literary legacy included: 

The Paper Tyrant: John Ross Robertson of the Toronto Telegram, a 227-page book published in 1971 by Clarke, Irwin and Co.;

Life In A Word Factory, a 112-page book about the rise of the Toronto Sun, published in 1976 by Toronto Sun Publishing.

Poulton worked for both newspapers. He was a columnist at the Telegram and joined the Sun in 1973 as an associate editor two years after the Tely folded.

The novelty of Life in a Word Factory is it was commissioned by Sun co-founder Doug Creighton a mere 287 days after the 62 Day Oners from the defunct Tely launched the feisty little tabloid.

A pup compared to the Globe, Star and defunct Tely, the Sun was making waves and had just moved into its brand new building at 333 King Street East when the book was published. 

Poulton captured the giddy mood of the corporate side of the tabloid and employees in all departments, who would share the good fortunes of the newspapers for years to come.

As we count down to Nov. 1, the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Sun, we'll be taking a look at Life in a Word Factory and other Sun profiles.

Poulton wrote: 

"The immediate future looked rosy to the newspapermen who committed themselves to the seemingly impossible task of originating The Toronto Sun. But it only looked that way because the immediate past had been so black.

"In a curious way - curious because only one of them was a hard-headed businessman - their hopes were buoyant. They radiated from a conviction that everything that could go wrong had already gone wrong. Nothing could get them down because they were already down. The thought made optimists of most of them.

"The only pessimists in sight were a clutch of sniffing critics who had nothing to lose. They were looking in from the outside. They were not spilling their blood and they were not committed in any way. So they laughed when he editors of the Sun sat down to play a little journalistic ragtime. The result still exists. The Sun, to the chagrin of its critics, is conceived out of orderly chaos six days a week.

"In less than four years it had its own presses, firmly bolted to the floor of its own plant, an an investment in excess of $9,000,000."

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