Tuesday 27 February 2007

Calgary Sun/24

This new logo on the Calgary Sun web site today raised a few eyebrows.

There's 24 Hours, rubbing shoulders and getting very chummy with Calgary Sun. If they were any closer, they would be married. But they do look engaged.

Some Toronto Sun staffers feel this is their future: Sun/24, free and feeling cheap.

When you click on 24 Hours on the Calgary Sun web site, you get the paper in pdf format.

The new Calgary 24 online edition coincided with Quebecor's launch of a 24 Hours on the streets of Calgary. CanWest's free Calgary RushHour was launched Feb. 20 and TorStar's free Calgary print edition of Metro is due Monday.

Come Monday, 1.1 million Calgarians will have free RushHour, 24 Hours and Metro commuter tabloids to read, plus the paid dailies, the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald.

(Speaking of the Calgary Sun, it recently lost Chris Nelson, Editor in Chief, who resigned in the same disgruntled manner as Jim Jennings, Editor in Chief at the Toronto Sun, who resigned in September. Jennings is now at the Globe and Mail.)

Quebecor has also launched 24 in Edmonton, but the Edmonton Sun web site does not have the Sun/24 logo. A nearby contest ad does combine the Sun and 24 logos.

While the free commuter paper war is heating up across Canada, what sets CanWest and TorStar apart from Quebecor is there are no rumours about mergers of their major dailies and free papers.

Free commuter dailies are the rage among media conglomerates, but readers beware - you do get what you don't pay for.

Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi always come to mind when thinking about the future of the Toronto Sun as we have known it for 35 years:

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

TSF authors

Numerous prolific journalists have worked the keyboards at the Toronto Sun since its launch in 1971, including former and current staffers who can now include "published author" on their resumes.

We thought it would interesting to compile a who-authored-what list since the Sun was launched on Nov. 1, 1971. Authors are listed in alphabetical order, followed by book title, date of release, publisher, number of pages, fiction (F) or non-fiction (NF)

To date, 58 authors. To add authors and titles, e-mail us

Amernic, Jerry

Victims: The Orphans of Justice, 1984, Bantam Seal, 270 pages (NF); Markham: Shaping a Destiny, 1998, Community Communications, 104 pages (NF); Canada's Technology Triangle, 1999, Community Communications, 176 pages (NF); Gift of the Bambino, 2002, Boheme Press, 219 pages, and 2004, St. Martin's Press, 218 pages (F); Duty - The Life of a Cop, co-written with Julian Fantino, 2007, Key Porter, 320 pages (NF)  

Anthony, George
Starring Brian Linehan: a Life Behind the Scenes, 2007, McClelland & Stewart,  360 pages (NF) 

Barfoot, Joan
Abra, 1978, McGraw-Hill Ryerson; Dancing in the Dark, 1982, Macmillan Canada; Duet for Three, 1985, Macmillan Canada; Family News, 1989, Macmillan Canada; Plain Jane, 1992, Macmillan Canada; Charlotte and Claudia Keeping in Touch, 1994, Key Porter Books; Some Things about Flying, 1998, Key Porter; Getting Over Edgar, 1999, Key Porter; Critical Injuries, 2002, Key Porter; Luck, 2005, Knopf Canada; Exit Lines, 2008, Knopf Canada, 336 pages. All are novels in the 300-page range. 

Base, Ron
Matinee Idol, 1985, Doubleday Canada, 310 pages (F); Foreign Object, 1986, Doubleday Canada, 298 pages (F); Splendido, 1988, Macmillan of Canada, 209 pages. (F); The Movies of the Eighties, co-author, 1990, Marquee, 280+ pages (NF); Marquee's Guide to the Movies, 1991, Marquee Publishing, Inc., 240 pages (NF); If the Other Guy Isn't Jack Nicholson, I've Got the Part: Hollywood Tales of Big Breaks, Bad Luck, and Box-Office Magic, 1994, McGraw-Hill/Contemporary, 319 pages (NF); Starring Roles, 1996, Little, Brown, 320 pages (F); Cuba: Portrait of an Island, 2005, co-author, Macmillan Publishers, Oxford, 92 pages (NF); Magic Man, 2006, Thomas Dunne Books, 320 pages (F); The Strange, 2009, West-End Books, 302 pages (F); The Sanibel Sunset Detective, 2010, West-End Books, 244 pages (F)

Blackadar, Bruce
Last Call: A Journey Into - And Out Of - Alcoholism, 1989, Prentice-Hall, 220 pages (NF)
Blatchford, Christie
Spectator Sports, 1986, Key Porter Books (NF); Close Encounters, 1988, Key Porter, 151 pages (NF); Mother and Daughter, 2006, McLelland & Stewart, 224 pages (NF); Fifteen Days, 2007, Doubleday Canada, 400 pages (NF); Helpless, 2010, Doubleday Canada, 272 pages (NF)   

Blizzard, Christina
Right Turn: How the Tories Took Ontario, 1995, Dundurn Press, 192 pages (NF); Young Royals on Tour: William & Catherine in Canada, 2011, Dundurn, 64 pages (NF) 

Bourrie, Mark
Chicago of the North, 1993, Annan and Sons (NF); Ninety Fathoms Down: Canadian Stories of the Great Lakes, 1995, Hounslow/Dundurn, 184 pages (NF); Canada’s Parliament Buildings, 1996, Hounslow/Dundurn, 120 pages (NF); By Reason of Insanity: The David Michael Krueger Story, 1997, Hounlsow/Dundurn, 280 pages (NF); Flim Flam, 1998, Hownslow/Dundurn, 160 pages (NF); Hemp Culture: A Short History of a Most Misunderstood Plant and Its Uses and Abuses, 2003, Key Porter, 160 pages (NF); True Canadian Great Lakes Stories, 2004, Prospero Books, 259 pages (NF);  Many a Midnight Ship: True Stories of Great Lakes Shipwrecks, 2006, Key Porter/University of Michigan Press, 278 pages (NF); The Fog of War, Censorship of Canada's Media in World War II, 2011, Douglas & McIntyre, 344 pages (NF) 

Brioux, Bill 
Truth and Rumors: The Reality Behind TV's Most Famous Myths, 2007, Praeger Publishers, 194 pages (NF) 

Burnside, Scott
Deadly Innocence, co-author, 1995, Warner Books, 584 pages (NF)
Cairns, Al
Deadly Innocence, co-author, 1995, Warner Books, 584 pages (NF) 

Comeau, Pauline
Elijah: An Extraordinary Ordinary Hero, 1993, Douglas & Mcintyre Ltd., 224 pages (NF); The First Canadians: A Profile of Canada’s Native People Today, 1995, James Lorimer & Co., 220 pages (NF)

Cosway, John

Lotteries: Winners, Losers and Other Stuff, 1986, co-author, Canada Wide Features, 103 pages (NF)

Creighton, Doug
Sunburned - Memoirs of a Newspaperman, 1993, Little Brown & Co., 195 pages (NF)

Crittenden, Danielle

What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman, 2000, published by Simon and Schuster, Touchstone, paperback, 208 pages (NF); Amanda Bright @ Home, 2003, published by Warner Books, hardcover (F); The President's Secret IMs, 2007, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, paperback (NF)

Currell, Harvey

Byways and Bylines, 2009, published by Strafford Publishing, 380 pages (NF); More Trips Around Ontario, 1971, published by Paperjacks, 128 pages (NF).; The Mimico Story, 1967, published by Town of Mimico and Library Board, 101 pages (can be read online) (NF); Thirty Trips Around Ontario, 1966, published by the Toronto Telegram, 118 pages (NF); Where the Alders Grow, 1956, published by the Etobicoke-Mimico Conservation Authority, 53 pages (NF) 

Donato, Andy
The Best of Donato: Political Cartoons, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, Toronto Sun (NF); Would You Buy a Used Country from This Man? - Trudeau’s Ten Years in Cartoons, 1979, contributing cartoonist, Coles (NF); Chins and Needles: Political Cartoons, 1986, Key Porter Books (NF); The Strife of Brian: Political Cartoons, 1987, Key Porter Books (NF); Gucci Blues: Political Cartoons, 1988, Key Porter Books (NF); The Agony and the Exit: Donato's Political Cartoons, 1988, Grosvenor House Press, 200 pages (NF); Neverending Tory, 1993, Key Porter Books (NF); The Little Book of Canadian Political Wisdom, 2004, illustrator for author Rick Broadhead, Key Porter Books, 200 pages (NF); Canadian Editorial Cartoonists, 2010, contributing cartoonist, LLC Books, 54 pages (NF)

Downing, John
Once Upon a Century: 100 Year History of The Ex, co-author, 1978, J.H. Robinson Publishing Ltd., 143 pages (NF); The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition - Its History From 1961-2007, co-author, 2007, ProVidea Inc., 111 pages (NF)

Dunford, Gary: Good Buy, Canada, 1975, co-authored with Murray Soupcoff and Rick Salutin, J. Lorimer & Company, 100 pages (NF); Never Sit Where the Cat Sat: Gags, Giggles and Gossip, 1980, Best Sellers, Inc., 180 pages (NF); There's A Leak In My Litterbox: Laughs, Gaffes and Depression Cures, 1982, Best Sellers, Inc., 158 pages (NF)

Edwards, Peter 
Waterfront Warlord: The Life and Violent Times of Hal C. Banks, 1987, Key Porter Books, 213 pages (NF); Blood Brothers, 1990, Key Porter Books, 237 pages (NF); The Big Sting, 1991, Seal Books, 194 pages (NF); Deadly Silence: Canadian Mafia Murders (with
-->Antonio Nicaso), 1993, Macmillan of Canada, 219 pages (NF); A Mother's Story: My Battle To Free My Son David (with Joyce Milgaard), 1999, Doubleday Canada, 288 pages (NF); One Dead Indian, 2003, Stoddart Publishing, 256 pages (NF); Night Justice: The True Story of the Black DonnellysThe Encyclopedia of Canadian Organized Crime: From Captain Kidd to Mom Boucher (with Michel Auger), 2004, McClelland & Stewart, 280 pages (NF); Northern Connection: Inside Canada's Deadliest Mafia Family, 2006, Optimum Publishing International, 302 pages (NF); Delusion: The True Story of Victorian Superspy Henri Le Caron, 2008, Key Porter Books, 344 pages (NF)
Elliott, Bob 
Hard Ball, 1990, Key Porter Books (NF); The Ultimate Blue Jays Trivia Book, 1993,  McClelland & Stewart (NF); The Northern Game: Baseball The Canadian Way, 2005, SportClassic Books, 212 pages (NF) 

English, Kathy 
Page 1: 50 years of Canadian Journalism, co-author with Nick Russell, 1999, Canadian Newspaper Association, 370 pages (NF).

Filey, Mike

Group; More Toronto Sketches, 1993, A Toronto Album (Glimpses of the City That Was), 1970, University of Toronto Press; Look At Us Now, 1971 Telegram/Sun; Toronto - Reflections of the Past, 1972, Nelson, Foster and Scott; Toronto - The Way We Were, 1974, Nelson, Foster and Scott; Passengers Must Not Ride On Fenders, 1974, Green Tree; Trillium and Toronto Island, 1976, Peter Martin Assoc.; Wish You Were Here, 1977, Greey de Pencier; Toronto: City Life - Old & New, 1979, Nelson, Foster and Scott; I Remember Sunnyside, 1982, Brownstone; A Toronto Almanac, 1970/83, self-published; Not A One Horse Town, 1986/1990, Firefly; Toronto Flashbacks 1 & 2, 1989, Postcards/Firefly; SkyDome, Like No Other In The World, 1989, Sun Controlled Ventures; Mount Pleasant Cemetery, 1990, Dundurn Group; Toronto Sketches, 1992, Dundurn; From Horsepower to Horse Power, 1993, Dundurn; Toronto Sketches 4, 1995, Dundurn; The TTC Story, 1996, Dundurn; Toronto Sketches 5, 1997, Dundurn; Discover and Explore Toronto's Waterfront, 1998, Dundurn; Toronto Sketches 6, 2000, Dundurn; Toronto, Then and Now, 2000, Magic Light Publishing; A Toronto Album 2, 2002, Dundurn; Toronto Sketches 7, 2003, Dundurn; Toronto Sketches 8, 2004, Dundurn; Toronto Sketches 9, 2006, Dundurn; Contributor to: The Open Gate - Toronto's Union Station, 1972, Peter Martin Assoc.; Once Upon a Century - 100 Year History of the Ex, 1978, J. H. Robinson Publishing; Toronto's 150th Birthday - The Celebration of Friends Official Commemorative Album, 1983, Controlled Media; Celebrate Our City - Toronto 150th Anniversary, 1983, McClelland & Stewart; Pantages Theatre - Rebirth of a Landmark, 1989, Key Porter; Hurricane Hazel, 1994, Dundurn. All non-fiction.

Fisher, Joe

Skin Dive, 1977, Paper Jacks, 191 pages. (F); The Case For Reincarnation (Citadel Library of the Mystic Arts), 1985, HarperCollins, 280 pages (NF); Hungry Ghosts, 1990, Doubleday, 296 pages (F); Coming Back Alive: The Case For Reincarnation, co-author, 2001, Souvenir Press, 344 pages (NF)

Fortune, Len 

From See to See: 50 Years of Photojournalism, 1999, Canadian Newspaper Association, 120 pages (NF); Design consultant for Page 1: 50 years of Canadian Journalism, by Kathy English and Nick Russell, 1999, Canadian Newspaper Association, 370 pages (NF) 

Frayne, Trent
Famous Hockey Players, 1973, Dodd Mead, 160 pages; The Mad Men of Hockey, 1975, Dodd Mead, 191 pages; Famous Tennis Players, 1977, Dodd Mead, 192 pages; Famous Women Tennis Players, 1979, Dodd Mead, 223 pages; Tales of An Athletic Supporter, 1990, Random House, 309 pages; Trent Frayne's Allstars, 1996, Doubleday Books, 288 pages; One Hundred And One Years of Hockey: Includes the 1999-2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, co-author, 2001, Dodd Mead, 304 pages; Hockey Chronicles: An Insider History of National Hockey League Teams, co-author, 2002, Key Porter, 255 pages. All non-fiction.

Gibson, Valerie: The Older Woman's Guide to Older Men (Canadian title), Younger Men: How to Date Them, Mate Them and Marry Them (U.S. title), 1992, SPI Books, 189 pages (NF); Cougar: A Guide to Older Women Dating Younger Men, 2002, Key Porter, 168 pages (NF)

Gladman, Jerry
Muhammad Ali, Toronto Sun Publications, 64 pages (NF)

Haines, Max 
When the Toronto Sun's veteran Crime Flashback columnist Max Haines retired last year, he had 27 books to his credit. We are attempting to compile a complete list. Meanwhile, this is Mike Strobel's farewell to Max. And Max has a new book in stores and online: Spitting Champion of the World, 2007, Viking Canada, 272 pages (NF)

Holt, Simma 
Terror in the Name of God: The Story of the Sons of Freedom Doukhabors, 1964, McClelland & Stewart, 312 pages (NF); Sex and the Teen-Age Revolution, 1967, McClelland and Stewart, 163 pages (NF); The Devil's Butler, 1972, Random House, 216 pages (NF); The Other Mrs. Diefenbaker, 1982, Doubleday Canada, 378 pages (NF); Memoirs of a Loose Cannon, 2008, Seraphim Editions, 325 pages (NF)

Hornby, Lance
The Story Of Maple Leaf Gardens, 1998, Sports Publishing Inc., 150 pages (NF); Mats Sundin, 2000, co-author with Scott Morrison, Key Porter Books, 96 pages (NF); Hockey Chronicles, 2001, co-author, Checkmark Books, 255 pages (NF); Hockey Dynasties: Bluelines and Bloodlines, 2002, Key Porter Books, 256 pages (NF); Hockey's Greatest Moments, 2004, Key Porter Books, 224 pages (NF)

Iaboni, John
CFL Facts, Figures & Records, co-authored with Larry Robinson, 1985-1989, Methuen/McClelland & Stewart, various page counts (NF); The Eternal Flames - The Inspiring Story of the Stanley Cup Winning Season, co-authored with Peter Maher, 1989, McClelland & Stewart, 130 pages (NF); Football Now!, co-authored with Mike Leonetti, 2006, Firefly Books, 176 pages (NF); Maple Leafs Top 100 - Toronto's Greatest Players of All Time, by Mike Leonetti, with essays from John, 2007, Raincoast Books, 240 pages (NF); Football Now! Second Edition, co-authored with Mike Leonetti, 2009, Firefly Books, 176 pages (NF)

Kendall, David
Lazaro, aka Where The River Runs Black, 1983, McClelland & Stewart, 216 pages (F)

Lamothe, Lee 

Criminal Acts II: The Canadian True Crime Annual, 1995, Macmillan Canada, 160 pages (NF); Global Mafia - The New World Order of Organized Crime, co-author, 2000, Diane Publishing, 203 pages (NF); Bloodlines: The Rise and Fall of the Mafia's Royal Family, 2001, Harper Flamingo Canada, 352 pages (NF); Bloodlines, 2001, HarperCollins, 352 pages (NF); Last Thief, 2003, ECW Press, 208 pages (NF); Global Mafia - Chronologies and Beginnings!, 2003, G7 Books (NF); Custom Healthy Business Travel Tips, 2004, Wiley, John & Sons (NF); Angels, Mobsters and Narco-Terrorists - The Rising Menace of Global Criminal Empires, 2005, Wiley, John & Sons, 288 pages (NF); The Sixth Family: The Collapse of the New York Mafia and the Rise of Vito Rizzuto, co-author, 2006, Wiley, John & Sons, 288 pages (NF); The Finger's Twist, 2009, Turnstone Press, 256 pages (F); Free Form Jazz, 2010, Dundurn, 400 pages (F); Picasso Blues, 2011, Dundurn, 410 pages (F)

Leatherdale, Linda

Money is a Girl's Best Friend, 2002, Key Porter Books, 158 pages (NF)

Lefko, Perry
The Greatest Show On Turf, 1996, DRF Press, 184 pages (NF); Flutie, 1999, Sports Master, 244 pages (NF); Sandra Schmirler, Queen of Canadian Curling, 2000, Stoddart Publishing, 208 pages (NF); Bret "Hitman" Hart, 2000, Stoddart Publishing, 128 pages (NF); Thoroughbred Racing’s Greatest Day, 2003, Taylor Trade Publishing, 272 pages; Pinball: The Making Of Canadian Hero, 2006, John Wiley & Sons, 336 pages (NF) 

MacFarlane, Richard
The Story of J. Douglas MacFarlane, 2000, ECW Press, 365 pages (NF)

MacGregor, Howard 

Lotteries: Winners, Losers and Other Stuff, 1986, co-author, Canada Wide Features, 103 pages (NF)

Margolis, Eric
War At The Top Of The World: The Clash For Mastery Of Asia, 1999, Key Porter, 250 pages (NF); War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan and Asia, 2007, Key Porter, 320 pages (NF); American Raj: Liberation or Domination, 2008, Key Porter, 400 pages (NF)

Millar, Cal
Find My Killer, 2009, Createspace.com, 326 pages (NF); I'm Missing - Please Find Me, 2011, Createspace.com, 448 pages (NF); How a Colonel Became a Killer, 2012, co-authored with Ian Robertson, Amazon.com, 312 pages (NF); Keep Kids Safe, 2013, Amazon.com, 488 pages (NF); What is Crime Stoppers, 2014, Amazon.com, 304 pages (NF)

Morrison, Scott 
Fire On Ice: Hockey's Greatest Series, 1987, Pulse Books, 96 pages (NF); The Days Canada Stood Still: Canada vs USSR 1972, 1989, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 233 pages (NF); Toronto Blue Jays: 1992 World Series Champions, 1992, Toronto Sun Publishing (NF); Back 2 Back: Toronto Blue Jays 1993 World Champions, 1993, Toronto Sun Publishing (NF); The Official NHLPA Fantasy Hockey Guide: The Definitive Hockey Pool Reference, 1997-1998, 1997 & 1998, Triumph Books, 276 pages (NF); Wayne Gretzky: The Great Goodbye, 1999, BT Bound, 96 pages (NF); Mats Sundin: Centre of Attention, 2000, co-author, Key Porter Books, 96 pages (NF); On Course with Mike Weir: Insights and Instruction from a Left-Hander on the PGA Tour, 2001, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Trade, 179 pages (NF); By the Numbers: From 00 to 99, 2007, Key Porter Books, 288 pages (NF); Hockey Night in Canada: My Greatest Day, 2008, Key Port Books, 216 pages (NF)

Oliver, Greg 
The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians, 2003, ECW Press, 280 pages (NF); The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams, co-author, 2005, ECW Press, 300 pages (NF); The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels, co-author, 2007, ECW Press, 432 pages (NF); SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle, co-editor, 2010, ECW Press, 380 pages (NF); Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror That Destroyed a Family and Crippled a Sport, co-writer, 2007, ECW Press, 180 pages (NF) 
Olver, Robert
The Bicycle Tree, 1976, McClelland and Stewart, 237 pages (F); The Making of Champions: Life In Canada's Junior A Leagues, 1990, Viking Canada, 271 pages (NF); Catness, completed in 2014, (Bob's memoir). Details TBA. 

Poulton, Ron
Life In A Word Factory, 1976, Toronto Sun Publishing, 112 pages (NF)

Rimstead, Paul

Cocktails & Jockstraps, 1980, Prentice-Hall, 189 pages (NF); Rimmer, Dammit!, a collection of columns, edited by Les Pyette, 1987, Toronto Sun Publications, 241 pages (NF) 

Robertson, Ian: Prince Edward County: An Illustrated History, 2009, County Magazine Print Shop, 228 pages, co-authored with Steve Campbell, and Janet Davies (NF); How a Colonel Became a Killer, 2012, co-authored with Cal Millar, Amazon.com, 312 pages (NF); Camp Picton: Wartime to Peacetime, 2013, County Magazine Printshop, 178 pages (NF)

Robertson, Ken 
Windcharm: A Dream Delayed, 2007, Trafford Publishing, 184 pages (NF)

Sa, Rachel 

What Rachel Sa: A Field Guide for Parents, 2002, Stewart House, 175 pages (NF) 

Simmons, Steve

On Fire: The Dramatic Rise of the Calgary Flames, 1986, Polestar Press Ltd., 175 pages (NF); Lanny, 1987, co-author, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 218 pages (NF); The Lost Dream, 2011, Penguin, 260 pages (NF) 

Slinger, Joey
No Axe Too Small to Grind, 1986, McClelland & Stewart (NF); Down And Dirty Birding, 1996, Fireside, 240 pages (NF); Punch Line, 2005, Key Porter Books, 232 pages (F)

Sonmor, Jean
The Little Paper That Grew, 1993, Toronto Sun Publishing Corp., 408 pages (NF)

Strachan, Al

Go to the Net, 2006, Anchor Canada, 304 pages (NF)
Strobel, Mike
Bad Girls and Other Perils, 2010, Dundurn Press, 188 pages (NF)

Sutton Straus, Joan

Lovers and Others, 1974, Clarke Irwin & Co. Ltd., 120 pages (NF); Once More With Love, 1976, Clarke Irwin & Co. Ltd., 135 pages (NF); Clothing and Culture, 1975, McÇlelland & Stewart, 87 pages (NF); Love Lines, 1979, Toronto Sun Publishing, 143 pages (NF); All Men Are Not Alike, 1979, McLelland & Stewart, 119 pages (NF); A Legacy of Caring, 1996, the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, (foreword by Laurence Rockefeller), 297 pages (NF)

Turner, Garth 
Numerous financial aid books, including: 2020 New Rules For The New Age, 1999, Key Porter Books, 280 pages (NF); The Little Book of Financial Wisdom, 2001, Porter Books, 128 pages (NF); The Little Book of Real Estate Wisdom, 2002, Key Porter Books, 128 pages (NF); 2015 After The Boom: Revised. How to Prosper Through The Coming Retirement Crisis, 2002, Key Porter Books, 152 pages (NF); Greater Fool: The Troubled Future of Real Estate, 2008, Key Porter Books, 220 Pages (NF); After the Crash: How to Guard Your Money in These Turbulent Times, 2009, Key Porter Books, 240 pages (NF)

Vallee, Brian: Edwin Alonzo Boyd
The Story of the Notorious Boyd Gang, 1997, Doubleday (NF); Life With Billy, 1986, Seal Books, (NF); Pariah, 1991, Bantam Books, 80 pages (F); Life and Death With Billy, 1993, Seal Books (NF); The Torso Murder: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick, 2001, Key Porter (NF); The War on Women, 2007, Key Porter, 376 pages (NF)

Warmington, Joe
Vanished In The Gulf, 1995, Battle Books, 142 pages (NF)

Worthington, Peter
Looking For Trouble, 1984, Key Porter, 470 pages (NF)

Monday 26 February 2007

Ken Robertson book

Ken Robertson, a Toronto Sun Day Oner and former city editor, has a new book on the market - Windcharm: A Dream Delayed.

At 84, Ken is as busy as ever at the computer keyboard, working out of his remote Barrie-area retreat he calls Windcharm.

Ken says he elaborates on three favourite roles in his life - sailor, soldier and journalist. His fourth love is Windcharm, where he often holds court with media buddies to reminisce.

This is his profile from his new book:

"Of all the jobs Ken Robertson has had, there was only one he did not like. He kept it for as long as he could tolerate it - less than three hours. You can read about it in a chapter of the Windcharm book called Deck Memories, on which the author and his friends spend many evenings spinning tales of their adventures as soldiers, sailors, reporters, news photographers and radio personalities.

"He has been a salesman, a trucking company owner, a licensed private investigator, a charter boat owner/skipper, a marine equipment businessman, a licensed Ontario fishing guide, a reporter/photographer and city editor for large daily papers and a television station, a government communications supervisor and, best of all, he avows, a freelance writer and the builder-owner and chief cook and bottle washer of Windcharm, the place of his dreams. Mind you, all this took place over more than 80 years of great living."

Ken was among the 62 out-of-work Tely staffers who moved from the defunct Tely to the new Toronto Sun on Nov. 1, 1971. He made his exit in the summer of 1975 but kept close ties to Sun staffers over the years.

You can read more about Ken's new book at Trafford Publishing.

Sunday 25 February 2007

Pat Grier e-mail

While I applaud your efforts to highlight Sun staffers still producing, it pains me to note that there is not one single representative of the sports department mentioned.

For a department that garnered such respect across Canada, I find it odd that it would be lacking at a site such as this.

In case you need help, allow me to give them the kudos they deserve:

Sheila Chidley
Dave Fuller
Gary Loewen
Joel Colomby
Donald Duench
Jason Paul
Al Maffei
Paul Ferguson
Tim McKay
Doug Graham
Bob Elliott
Ken Fidlin
Bill Lankhof
Steve Simmons
Lance Hornby
Mike Zeisberger
Terry Koshan
Steve Buffery
Mike Ganter
Mike Rutsey
Rob Longley
Dean McNulty
Richard Mauntah
Ryan Wolstat

Sadly, it is a much shorter list than it was eight months ago.

Pat Grier
A proud former Sports Editor

Thank you for your e-mail. Our apologies to the sports department, especially to Dean McNulty, Mike Rutsey, Bob Elliott, Dave Fuller, Ken Fidlin, Joel Colomby and other sports desk vets. We will amend our previous posting.

There is an open invitation to you and all other current and former sports staffers to provide bio profiles and head shots for our "Hired In" postings. To date, we have Scott Morrison and John Iaboni in our 70s posting.

Words still count

You have to give the solid core of veteran Toronto Sun reporters and columnists credit for not taking the line of least resistance in the face of newsroom chaos.

No signs of surrender coming from Peter Worthington, Mark Bonokoski, Mike Strobel, Lorrie Goldstein, Thane Burnett, Rob Lamberti, Christina Blizzard, Michelle Mandel, Jim Slotek, Bruce Kirkland, Al Cairns, Tom Godfrey, Ian Robertson, Joe Warmington, Sam Pazzano, Sharon Lem, Zen Ruryk, Rita DeMontis, Linda Leatherdale, Liz Braun, John Coulbourn, Dean McNulty, Mike Rutsey, Bob Elliott, Dave Fuller, Ken Fidlin, Bill Lankhof, Joel Colomby et al.

They all have too much respect for their craft and for their editors, including Mike Burke-Gaffney, who was recently appointed managing editor, to throw in the towel and coast through their working hours.

While this blog has been preoccupied with talent lost and the uncertain future of the tabloid, we haven't forgotten the people who remain at the word factory and are doing what they do best. And they excel when focused on content that made the tabloid a success story.

A classic example of the Toronto Sun of old was Thane Burnett's "Mystery of Mr. Bones" story on Page 2 of Saturday's paper. One story, on one page, with more reader appeal than any of the misguided, epic "broadsheet" special reports we have witnessed in recent months.

Thane's handling of a 50-year-old murder mystery took this blogger back to the 70s and 80s, when Les Pyette's newsroom thrived on cops and robbers and Max Haines crime flashbacks. It was an era when the feisty paper was unpredictable and the talk of the town.

Those were the days.

Everything Quebecor has been doing since it bought Sun Media in 1999 has detracted from that successful tabloid formula. Layoffs, cutbacks, centralization, convergence etc., it doesn't make any sense to journalists and media watchdogs.

Dismantling the once mighty Sun and lowering its status to a free, throw away newspaper as rumoured, would be a monumental media blunder.

While waiting for the next development in this incredulous media tale, thanks again to the troupers who are not compromising their journalistic integrity in the face of adversity.

Saturday 24 February 2007

Bill Brioux at CP

When Bill Brioux made his exit from the Toronto Sun in January, we knew the laid off TV critic wouldn't be idle for long. Much too talented to be unemployed.

Well, he's back.

Bill Brioux bylines began popping up on Canadian Press TV features on the Internet and in newspapers across Canada earlier this month.

It is ironic, but one of his Canadian Press features was posted on Canoe.ca, Sun Media's online news service. It was posted Thursday, Feb. 22, but was gone by the time we got to it a day later. In its place, a "requested document could not be found " message.

Pulling the plug on a feature that quickly is rather odd because online Canoe features tend to linger on the Net for months, even years.

It will be interesting to see if Sun Media boycotts Bill's future CP features. After all, it was rumoured he was targeted at the Sun for his frequent jabs at CTV's Ben Mulroney, son of the former prime minister, who sits on Quebecor's board.

The Brampton-based TV writer, who wrote for Canada's TV Guide before hired by the Sun, is again being read coast to coast, including CanWest publications like the Times Colonist in Victoria, B.C.

The Sun's big loss is CP's big gain.

Working with Bill at CP is film writer Lee-Ann Goodman, another former Sun staffer.

Have to thank blogger Dennis Earl for the heads up. Dennis writes more about Bill and his popular Puck Soup short film competition entry at thelot.com

Friday 23 February 2007

New blogs to read

Now that Toronto's Other Voice been stifled by Quebecor, there is a need for others to speak on its behalf in blogs and in the print and broadcast media.

With little freedom for Toronto Sun reporters and columnists to speak to the carnage at 333 King Street East, it is gratifying to see others speaking for them.

We would like to see the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild become more vocal and more public about the ongoing travesty in the newsroom they represent.

While newspapers in North America are facing tougher times, what is happening to the once proud Toronto Sun is a lingering nightmare.

Recommended new blog postings:

Antonia Zerbisias

Fading to Black

Ad reps deux

When word leaked of a mass firing of Toronto Sun advertising representatives, the number from our first source was 16. Another source wishing to remain anonymous said later it was seven.

We said whatever the number, it did not bode well for the shrinking Toronto Sun.

Well, a third anonymous source did not have the number of non-union ad reps fired, but did say a merger of Sun and 24 Hour ad reps is "apparently" a done deal.

The latest source writes:

"Apparently 24 and Sun ad staff have been merged and staff have been told it's just a matter of time before both newsrooms are merged."

We remember when Toronto Sun management was up front about the tabloid's employee and business happenings.

But you wouldn't recognize today's Toronto Sun as the major daily newspaper that once ranked among the Top 100 Canadian companies with favourable workplace environments.

Paranoia strikes deep in the land of Quebecor. The tabloid is mired in office gossip and employees are terrified of losing their jobs. The paranoia extends to suspicions that incoming and outgoing e-mails message are being monitored.

A couple of staffers have said they did not receive e-mails sent from the Toronto Sun Family blog to their Sun e-mail addresses. Maybe we are being filtered as hazardous spam.

Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press?

The lobotomy of the Toronto Sun appears to be nearing completion, less than a decade after Quebecor purchased Sun Media.

Note: We will add the names of the ad reps fired if we receive them and we will quote any of the ad reps if they want to comment on the firings. Just e-mail us.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

16 ad reps out

The gutting of the Toronto Sun continued today with 16 advertising sales representatives being shown the front door, sources say.

One source said chopping the 16 non-union jobs at the ever shrinking Sun building at 333 King Street East is a step toward a Sun/24 Hours advertising staff merger.

Another source said "I'm hearing several different numbers at this point."

Whatever the number, it makes us wonder if the sale of 333 King Street East and a complete merger of Sun and 24 Hours staff will arrive sooner than rumoured.

The building that the feisty, successful tabloid built in 1975 is quickly becoming a morgue, void of the daily bustle that once made employees in every department proud inhabitants.

You only have to watch the live Sun TV broadcasts at 6 p.m. to witness the sparsity of reporters and editors at their desks and walking about the Sun newsroom.

Quebecor media profits are up, morale and the employee count are down. The buzz word is "convergence" and past performance be damned. Tunnel vision thrives in the corporate offices.

Tuesday 20 February 2007

Sun memorabilia

During the glory days of the Toronto Sun, almost every circulation and anniversary milestone included the production of exclusive and very collectible Sun souvenir items.

The special products were in addition to numerous items from the Sun's busy promotions department, including Sun T-shirts, jackets, caps, toques, coffee cups, coasters, SUNShine Girl calendars etc.

Most of the special event products were limited edition creations presented only to Toronto Sun employees, while the promotional items could be purchased by the public or won in contests.

Ask veteran Sun staffers and former staffers for their favourite piece of Sun memorabilia and chances are they will name one of two items.

The first: A 1986 collector plate marking the first 15 years of the Toronto Sun, featuring a painting by Andy Donato and titled The Toronto Sun - 15 Great Years. Only 900 were made and distributed to employees.

The second: A round, brass Seiko Quartz alarm clock distributed to employees in April of 1986 to celebrate a daily circulation of over 300,000. The clock is still a topic of conversation, mostly by owners asking where a replacement battery can be purchased. (Radio Shack.)

Andy Donato says veteran Sun staffer Joe Duffy posed as the Sun reader for the collector plate painting and a "great old guy" named John posed as the executive peering over Joe's shoulder.

"John was a messenger in the advertising department," says Andy. "He was a retired executive and had more great suits than the prime minister."

Joe Duffy not only got one of the 900 collector plates, Andy gave him the original painting, which now hangs on a wall at his home.

Andy says the 1986 plate was only one of several special products projects Doug Creighton requested.

"Dianne (Andy's artist wife Dianne Jackson) and I combined to do a litho of the Clivedon House in England for one of Doug's famous seminars. They were limited to 88, I believe. I also did original lithos of King Street, Eaton Centre, the Sea Ray Restaurant, the old newsy at Yonge and Adelaide - all done for different occasions."

The circular brass-plated Seiko clock was also a quality product, with a roll-down front protective cover. On the cover: "The Toronto Sun - April, 1986 - 300,056. "

Another favourite memento is a litho created for the Toronto Sun's 20th anniversary in 1991, with the names of all employees and colourful sketches of staffers in their various work environments by veteran Sun artist Pam Davies.

Meanwhile, back in the Sun's promotions department . . .

During the 1970s and 1980s newsroom reign of Les Pyette, readers winning contests were awarded Sun T-shirts in summer months and a "snappy Sun toque" during the winter.

Those were the days when readers were royalty. They were invited to Sun parties. They were encouraged to call the Sun and write letters to the editor. They were part of the Sun Family.

Collectively, the special products for employees and Sun merchandise for readers track the rise of the Little Paper That Grew. Looking at them, you can sense the positive mood of the tabloid in the 1970s and 1980s.

We had something to sing about and we did to a 1978 two-sided 45, with The Little Paper That Grew on one side and The Little Paper That Grew - Disco Version on the flip side,with music and lyrics by Griffiths-Gibsons Production.

Another novelty item from the 1980s is a coaster set, with different front pages on each of the coasters, beginning with Day 1 and the "$10M Goof" headline. Other coaster front pages reflect the growth of the Sun: May 1973 - 100,000 (daily); October 1975 - 200,000 (Sunday) on up to November 1980 - 401,206 (Sunday).

(Speaking of the first edition of the Sun from Nov. 1, 1971, it is more difficult to find than the last edition of the Toronto Telegram published two days earlier. Collectors are paying more than $30 for a rare first Sun, while the plentiful final Tely can be had for under $10.)

Among the few surviving promotional products offered to readers in the 21st century is the annual SUNShine Girl Calendar.

Perhaps a Sun crying towel would be an appropriate special product for today's staff.

Saturday 17 February 2007

Joan Sutton Straus

An e-mail from Joan Sutton Straus, former Toronto Sun Lifestyle editor and now a successful author living in New York City:

"The Sun: it took care of its employees, it never sacrificed its editorial integrity, and it made money, for its employees and its shareholders. Perhaps Quebecor could be more profitable if it learned from the paper's original philosophy.

"I am very glad to have found this page, and look forward to connecting with the many who wore plaster on their collars, froze in the draft from the hole in the wall, talked back to management, (and were heard!), and proved all the pundits to be wrong.

"Joan Sutton Straus, approaching 75, alive and well in New York, and realizing anew every day what a privilege it was to be part of the Sun's beginnings . . ."

Friday 16 February 2007

Happy 80th Peter

Happy 80th Birthday

Peter Worthington

Sincere best wishes on behalf of the thousands of former and current Toronto Sun employees who are forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked for and with you.

From the trenches of the Eclipse Building in the early 1970s, to the comfy house that a tabloid success story built at 333 King Street East, it was a North American media dream job come true.

So heartfelt birthday cheers from all of us to a co-founder of The Little Paper That Grew and its founding editor. And many more.

Take Note Quebecor

Study: News quality improves profits

Columbia, Mo., Feb. 14 (UPI) - Improving news-reporting excellence is the best way for newspapers to boost their bottom lines, a U.S. university study said Wednesday.

"Newspapers are under-spending in the newsroom and overspending in circulation and advertising," said advertising Professor Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri's journalism school.

"If you invest more in the newsroom, do you make more money? The answer is yes," she said. "If you lower the amount of money spent in the newsroom, then pretty soon the news product becomes so bad that you begin to lose money."

The university's study looked at 10 years of financial data of 900 mid size U.S. newspapers, breaking down revenues and expenditures from news, advertising and circulation departments and predicting profitability.

The study found improving news quality "improves circulation and advertising revenues, which are the bulk of a newspaper's revenues. Better news quality drives circulation, and circulation drives advertising revenues," said marketing Professor Murali Mantrala of the university's business college.

The study will be published in the April issue of The Journal of Marketing.

(The results of the study echo what veteran Sun newsmen have been saying since Quebecor began swinging machetes in the newsroom several years ago.)

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Signed Editorials

Veteran journalists and Sun readers must be wincing after Sun Media announced Tuesday it will publish only signed editorials as of today.

It is now Sun Media policy to name the writers of all "Point of View" editorials, said Paul Berton, National Comment Editor, in Tuesday's Sun Media newspapers.

Paul's comment that "writers in this space will come from across the country from various Sun Media newspapers" tells us "Toronto's Other Voice" will be weakened considerably.

Traditionally, which means for a century or two, newspaper editorials have been anonymous comment that spoke on behalf of the newspaper, not an individual. Quebec newspapers appear to be the exception in Canada, as noted on this Government of Canada web page.

Sun Media's editorial policy announcement Tuesday said, in part: "Since editorial writers are typically not required to write opinions they oppose, the editorial is often the opinion of the writer, but presented as the view of a larger group.

"Not any more.

"Readers will find a wider range of opinions from all sides of the political spectrum here.

"The intent is to invite as many different points of view as possible to the Comment pages, and encourage a debate with readers and interactive discussions through Sun Media's website, Canoe.ca."

There's that Quebecor convergence theme again . . .

But isn't a signed editorial just another opinion piece best suited for the op-ed page or in columns found throughout the newspaper?

Will Toronto Sun editorials no longer speak on behalf of the newspaper at election time, or as a united voice on major issues in the community?

Will an individual editorial writer at the pro-Conservative Toronto Sun be allowed to endorse an NDP candidate running in a provincial or federal election?

Or will individual editorial writers be restricted to comment that reflects only the opinion of the newspaper's owners? Which brings us back to editorials being a mouthpiece for the newspaper.

The daily editorial, a source of pride and a reflection of the Toronto Sun's clout in the community since the tabloid's birth in 1971, has just coughed an unsettling cough.

We're anxious to hear the reaction of founding Sun editor Peter Worthington to this new editorial page edict. Ditto for Lorrie Goldstein, Senior Associate Editor.

Personally, an anonymous Sun editorial speaking on behalf of the newspaper and supported by a classic Andy Donato editorial cartoon can never be topped.

Do the majority of Toronto Sun readers want editorials that focus on community events in Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg etc.?

If not, will the Toronto Sun publish their point of view as Letters to the Editor?

We doubt it. Dumping Alison Downie and her Readership Editor post was a clear indication the Sun is no longer open to criticism from its readers.

BTW: Did you notice there were only four letters to the editor on one page in Tuesday's Toronto Sun, compared to nine letters over two pages in Monday's paper? Readers have always had ample space to speak their mind so hopefully the "new look" doesn't include fewer letters.

This Toronto Sun Family blog will post your opinions on this or any other Sun topic. Just e-mail your comments or leave a comment on this monitored blog posting.

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Media Museum?

Our favourite media fantasy involves Ontario's print, television and radio execs agreeing to sponsor the province's first all-inclusive media museum.

Ontario now hosts a war museum, several airplane and automobile museums, police and firefighters museums, baseball and hockey museums, a shoe museum etc.

Why not create an elaborate media museum, with three separate wings for artifacts from Ontario newspapers and magazines, radio broadcasting and television broadcasting?

Ontario newspapers, first published in 1793, have been around for 214 years, radio and television for six to eight decades. What media stories there are to tell and to illustrate.

The Print Wing: Cover the walls with framed reproductions of front pages; display vintage cameras, old newspaper signs and tools of the trade, including early wooden presses, linotype machines, composing room type, print trays etc.

The Radio Wing: Exhibit equipment from eight decades of radio broadcasting, including microphones, sound effects equipment; cover the walls with photos of Ontario broadcasting legends; play recordings of vintage radio programs and major news, sports and entertainment events etc.

The Television Wing: Television sets of many shapes and sizes dating back to the 1950's; photos of television celebrities; studio cameras and props; a playback area where visitors could view clips of vintage television programs etc.

There could also be a central library, where visitors could read a selection of vintage newspapers and magazines and books written by a cross-section of Ontario authors in the media.

There are pockets of media displays in the province now, including the CBC broadcasting exhibit in Toronto; the War Museum in Ottawa hosts a collection of World War 1 and 2 newspaper clippings from the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Hamilton Spectator etc.

The Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum in Queenston, housed in the restored home of rebel publisher William Lyon Mackenzie, boasts "500 years of printing technology, amid the authentic ambiance of a period print shop."

The pride of the museum is a Louis Roy Press, the oldest printing press in Canada and "one of the few original wooden presses remaining in the world." It also has a working linotype and eight operating heritage presses.

But the media museum in our fantasy would gather a wide range of Ontario's media artifacts and memorabilia and exhibit them under one roof.

Sun Media owns the Toronto Telegram archives and the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail have access to a wide range of print memorabilia. Add contributions from other newspapers and broadcast media across the province and you are ready to open the media museum.

Newspapers, magazines, television and radio are international consumer products, which could make an Ontario media museum a major tourist attraction, if properly planned and managed.

Could 21st century media reps from across Ontario come together to pull it off?

In a word, yes.

Will they?

Well, it is a favourite fantasy.

Monday 12 February 2007

Sunday's Sun D-

The Sunday Sun devoted the front page and 11 full inside news pages to a report on the performance of elementary schools in and around the GTA.

As tabloids go, we'd have to grade that move a D-. It must have left thousands of single men and women, middle-aged empty nesters and seniors feeling cheated by the content.

It made us wonder what we were missing in not having 10 of those 11 inside pages used for local, national and international news, feature stories and photos.

The scary part of this broadsheet mentality decision - using 11 of the 60 news section pages for one topic - is it was only Part One of a four-part series.

Sunday's epic had us wondering if the Sun's new managing editor, Michael Burke-Gaffney, voluntarily surrendered 11 news pages to a special report.

Michael, a former Sunday Sun editor, was at the helm when the Sunday paper surged well beyond the 500,000 circulation milestone. We doubt his tabloid expertise doesn't include broadsheet thinking.

Layoffs, cutbacks, broadsheet thinking, alienating segments of faithful Sunday Sun readers etc. , all are lessons in how to KO the Sunday Sun.

Part Two of the four-part special in Monday's Sun: Three full news pages, plus a 16-page pullout.

Part Three
in Tuesday's Sun: Two full news pages, plus an eight-page pullout.

Part Four in Wednesday's Sun: A 12-page pullout.

The four-day total for this grand tabloid adventure - 52 full news pages.

Stop the presses. This could be a record for tabloid excess.

This posting is not meant to be critical of Kevin Connor's research and writing efforts. The decision to devote that much tabloid space to one topic is the target.

Friday 9 February 2007

Trudy Eagan e-mail

An e-mail from Trudy Eagan, former executive vice-president of Sun Media Corp. and a 28-year Sun vet.

"Reading this blog and recalling all the wonderful people/talent that have played a key role in the Sun's success over the years makes me sad and nostalgic for all the good times.

Blah Days in February were put in place because JDC thought everyone needed an extra day off during a dreary month;

"When cash incentives were initiated to help staff stop smoking;

"When Christmas Bonus days were a celebration with $$$$ handed out amidst laughter and eggnog;

"And most important of all . . . when the Toronto Sun kicked butt with some of the finest talent in town.

"Difficult times in the newspaper business these days, no question, but I remain hopeful that the tough Sun spirit will carry the day. With many wonderful memories."

Trudy Eagan

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Readers can help

From day one in '71, the Toronto Sun newsroom was void of the deadwood that was evident at the Toronto Star.

It was a tight ship,with below average turnover.

That made frequently kicking the competition's well-cushioned butt on major stories and spot news photos all the more rewarding. David and Goliath, media style.

There were troop movements from the Sun to the Star and other newspapers in the 1970's and 1980's, prompted by personality conflicts or other ambitions.

Some, including
Cal Millar, Joey Slinger and Bruce Blackadar, were sorely missed when they moved to the Star. Others, like the reporter who came back from his two-month Sun sabbatical for 10 year's service and immediately jumped ship to the Star, were not.

Sun newsroom staffers who remained loyal through the 1970's and 1980's were rewarded with paycheques equal, or almost equal, to the unionized Star and Globe and Mail, two-month sabbaticals after 10 years, profit sharing, stock offers, hefty Christmas bonuses etc.

Then came
Doug Creighton's ouster in 1992 and all things good about the Toronto Sun began to turn bad. Things got worse after Quebecor bought Sun Media in January of 1999.

The Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild says the peak staff of 200 newsroom employees has fallen to 120, with fears of more layoffs to come later this year. A tight ship with a hole in it.

As numbers go, 80 is 80. As colleagues, experience and personalities go, the names behind the numbers speak volumes for the loss of talent at the Sun.

We are attempting to compile an accurate list of every Sun newsroom staffer laid off since Doug's ouster in 1992. Until then, this would be what 80 names look like in print, including the most recent 12 layoffs and others we know of from previous layoffs.

Bill Brioux, Maryanna Lewyckyj, Brett Clarkson, Sherry Johnston, Natalie Pona, John Simpson, Laura Bobak, Tania Pereira, Mark Keast, Scott Stevenson, April Novak, Manuela Foliero, Ciaran Ganley, Wanda Goodwin, Bill Duff, John Schmied, Gord Stimmell, Bob Thompson, Jean Sonmor, Cynthia David.

Wilder Penfield III, Jerry Gladman, Michael Clement, Ken Kerr, Steve Payne, Phil Johnston, Mike Patton, Tony Poland, Jill Rigby, Joanne Richard, Pauline Mason, Warren Toda, Linda Fox, Vena Eaton, Bill Dunphy, Sylvi Capelaci, Elaine Moyle, Greig Reekie, Gert Frank, Rob Galbraith.

Dawne Blackwood, Dave Abel, Debbie Bradley, Darren Crawford, Mary Dickie, Kim Dolan, Himani Ediriweera, Rudy Fillipetto, Manuela Foliero, John Fricassi, Pat Harden, Michele Henry, Dave Hilson, Sharon Ho, Jodi Isenberg, Ryan James, Eric Johnson, Brian Linehan, Tony Maraschiello, Barb McKay.

Chick McGregor, Larry Mickolwin, Errol Nazareth, Tania Pereira, Ed Piwowarczyk, Carlo Provenzano, Sue Sgambati, Jane Stokes, Ekaterina Todorova, Mike Ulmer, Bernadette Wardman, Linda White, Serena Willoughby, John Sakamoto, Glen Woodcock, Rick Van Sickle, Paul Cantin
, Alison Downie, Matthew Fisher.

Add staffers who have retired, resigned or have taken buyouts since 1992 - Jim Jennings, Max Haines, Kathy Brooks, Christie Blatchford, Les Pyette, Peter Brewster, Hartley Steward, Gord Walsh, Fred Thornhill, Sandy Naiman, Scott Morrison etc. - and that represents a huge loss of tabloid talent.

With the renewal of their 2003 contract due this fall, the remaining SONG members in the newsroom have some tough negotiations ahead of them to avoid adding to the carnage.

While some SONG members appear reluctant to go public with the ongoing chaos in the Sun newsroom, we can't think of better ammunition than to have loyal Sun readers on their side.

When readers spoke in the 1970's and 1980's, the Sun listened to what they had to say and responded appropriately. Readers were as much a part of the Toronto Sun Family as staffers.

But today's uninformed Sun readers are being short-changed by a bare bones newsroom, which hasn't had a rewrite desk in more than a decade and proof reading appears to be by chance.

With Quebecor weeding out higher paid experienced reporters, readers are being subjected to convoluted leads (we circled a 44-word lead in a recent story) and lumpy tabloid stories. Veteran columnists and wire stories are keeping the news side afloat.

You can't blame the novices. Overworked rim editors doing the rewrites don't have time to say "hey, kid this is how your story should be written," and most of the appreciated veteran mentors,
Doug MacFarlane, Les Pyette, Ed Monteith, Bob Vezina etc. have left the building. Without mentors and rewrites, most novices are destined to flounder.

The layoffs, unguided novices, overworked editors etc. all add up to a product that is not up to par for a major Toronto daily. Readers with a daily 53-cent investment should have a say about news coverage and content.

Get the readers on your side SONG and you will be locked and loaded come contract time.

The alternative is a quiet, less effective campaign to Save Our Sun.

Update: Reader Steve L. asks if Jerry Gladman was laid off. Incredulous as it sounds, the prolific veteran Sun writer was laid off, but continued to submit freelance features, including his final award-winning series on the crippling ALS that took his life.

Monday 5 February 2007

Rob Lamberti e-mail

Rob Lamberti, an award-winning veteran Toronto Sun police reporter and crime writer, laments the downturn at the tabloid he has loved for more than two decades.

As vice-chair of the Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guide unit at the Sun, he says witnessing the forced exit of numerous colleagues who have been laid off has been "heart wrenching."

Rob, in an e-mail to Toronto Sun Family, writes:

"I've been reading over columns that have been written about the Sun. Yes, the old days of what made the Sun the Sun are over. The entity no longer has a journalistic goal, but now openly embraces money as its reason for existence.

"The gap is not necessarily between the second and sixth floors of the building, but between the (Sun Media) chain and (Quebecor) head offices in Montreal. Whatever the corporate plan is, I'm not sure it will succeed.

"Along with Maryanna (we will miss her greatly), part of my duty as vice-chair of the Toronto Sun unit was to sit in on the meetings with the people who were being laid off.

"It was heart wrenching to watch the hopes and aspirations of our fellow staffers drain from their faces as they were being told they were no longer wanted. What talent and knowledge the newspaper lost in one day. What talent and knowledge the paper lost in the previous layoffs.

"It was bittersweet to see (Managing Editor) Gordon Walsh leave, but while we'll miss a great newsman, he'll be healthier for it.

"News gathering is one of those businesses where the old saying rings especially true: To make money, one has to spend money. In an era where all of the mediums are morphing, where TV uses newspaper-style reports and radio uses pictures and newspapers use TV, all on the web, the medium is not necessarily the message any longer, but the message is now the message.

"To get the message, news organizations need people, the one resource that is scarce at the Sun.



Thank you for your e-mail, Rob.

Saturday 3 February 2007

Brioux & Ben M.

Bill Brioux's frequent jabs at CTV's Ben Mulroney made the Toronto Sun TV critic a Quebecor target for the layoff list, informed sources say.

It sounds petty and thin skinned, but let's put it to the test:

Google Bill Brioux + Ben Mulroney and Bill's Sun TV columns with Ben jabs in them will appear. A jab here, a jab there, all focusing on Ben's capabilities as a CTV host.

Exhibit A: "100% BEN Mulroney Free!" That's how I'd sell Toronto1 on billboards across the city now that it is to be owned by the same folks who own this newspaper."

Exhibit B: "Anyway, it was good to see Ben Mulroney shouting in both official languages."

Now Google Quebecor World board of directors and you will find The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Chairman, Quebecor World Inc.

For the uninformed, Brian, the former Canadian prime minister, is Ben's poppa.

Would Brian use his influence at Quebecor to silence Bill's constant criticism of his son? The thought gives us goosebumps.

If it was personal, not business, Quebecor's credibility sinks even lower in the eyes of other media, who have praised Bill Brioux as a TV critic.

John Doyle, in a Jan. 4 Globe and Mail article on the decline of quality TV criticism in Canadian media, said this:

"The Toronto Sun recently laid off Bill Brioux, one this country's best, most cogent and shrewd writers about the TV racket. Like the CanWest chain of papers, the Sun chain appears to be retreating from consequential coverage of arts and entertainment."

In the same article, John also mentions another ex-Sun staffer, Lee-Anne Goodman, now with Canadian Press.

"Canadian Press, thank goodness, exists, and in TV writer Lee-Anne Goodman has a first-rate reporter and observer of Canadian TV."

The parade of talent walked out the front door at the Sun boggles the mind.

Another Party

Gord Walsh bid adieu to the Toronto Sun yesterday after 25 years at the tabloid.

The resignation of another key newsroom player called for yet another farewell party, organized by friends and colleagues and held last night.

The invite to the "newsroom icon's" five-hour farewell party read:

"After 25 years at the Toronto Sun, managing editor and all-round swell guy Gord Walsh is hanging up his pen and notepad and retiring his calculator this week. We're throwing a farewell party for Gord this Friday."

The organizers, all Sun vets: Marilyn Figueroa, Kevin Hann, Calvin Reynolds and Tim Fryer. The attendees: a lot of people who have come to consider Gord not only a colleague, but a good friend who will be missed in the newsroom.

There have been far too many farewell parties for Sun vets who have resigned or have been laid off in recent years. This one was held at the Upfront Bar and Grill on Front Street East, a block from the Sun.

The Upfront Bar and Grill was formerly a bar called Crooks, which was the Sun's favourite nightly haunt in the 1970's and 1980's after all the deadlines were met. Great conversation and the greatest wings in downtown Toronto. Those were happier Sun times.

Gord, managing editor for almost eight years, got his start on the police desk 25 years ago, moved to city desk and on up the ladder. Whether you worked with or for Gord, he was always the gentleman. He always had a calming effect in the often chaotic newsroom.

Quebecor has lost another of the dedicated vets who contributed to the success of the Sun, but Quebecor being Quebecor, it is just another name to remove from the payroll and the masthead.

Good luck in your next venture, Gord. You did Doug Creighton, Peter Worthington and Don Hunt proud.

Update: The Saturday Sun included a photo of Gord being escorted by police to the front door of the Sun in handcuffs, a fun sendoff photo reminiscent of the old days.

(The photo of Gord above is circa 1988 - before the job turned his hair white. )

Thursday 1 February 2007

Bill Brioux e-mail

Bill Brioux, the Sun's popular TV critic laid off in the latest round of cutbacks, spoke his mind at a farewell party on Jan. 25. Former and current staffers responded to his comments with a huge round of applause.

Bill repeated much of what he said at the party in an e-mail to Dennis Earl, a Hamilton blogger/writer with a keen interest in the Sun.

Dennis provided his e-mail message:

I wanted to write to thank you for all the kind words and support throughout a tough time for me personally and for many of my colleagues at the Toronto Sun.

The Sun was the rebel yell in a sea of grey, the rock and roll paper in town. It was all elbows up, take no prisoners, tell the truth journalism.

Those were the days.

The saddest part about working there the last year or so was the fear in the eyes of almost everybody in the place. It had to be heartbreaking and tragic for the few Day Oners still on the floor. These men and women built the Sun out of nothing, out of the ashes of the Tely. They were not going to be silenced by a management that was no longer interested in the newspaper business. That took real courage and guts and fire in the belly. These people had plenty of spine and tremendous conviction.

Would that same spirit were alive today. That generation that grew up with Watergate and which was going to get to the bottom of every story has been packaged out the door or simply retired or been downsized. An entire generation of real news people has been converged out of existence. The new generation seems content to become conscripted into the marketing machinery of whatever multinational has them by the throat.

This isn't the Sun I joined just seven short years ago. It was the place to be fearless. It was a place to tell it to the reader straight. I'll always be grateful that the Sun gave me a voice and let me use it. What else could any writer want?

Now editors pour over copy, deathly afraid of any words that might offend one or two people at the top. Doug Creighton must be spinning in his grave.

Have to agree with you on the utter ineffectiveness of the union's little byline yanking scheme last week. What's next - stamping your feet? Holding your breath? I'm not holding mine anymore.

Wearing buttons or T-shirts is not going to change anything at the Sun. The survivors are going to have to stand up and take their paper back. It will be tough in an atmosphere where there is zero tolerance for dissent. Still, what is there left to lose? Bloody well go down fighting. otherwise, as Edward R. Murrow invoked in his Shakespearean stare down of Joseph McCarthy, 'Cassius was right. 'The fault, Dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.'

In any event, at a time when words no longer seem to be as valued - at least in the old media - I wanted you to know that yours were greatly appreciated.


Bill Brioux (pronounced "Brio" in Ontario and "Breeeyoo" east of Kingston)."