Saturday 16 June 2007

Kathy English debut

Kathy English made her debut as the Toronto Star's public editor today.

"The Star has long had clear policies on ethical behaviour for its journalists," Kathy writes in her first column. "It helped create the Ontario Press Council, and was among the first Canadian newspapers to appoint an ombudsman.

"According to the membership rolls of the U.S.-based Organization of News Ombudsmen, the Star is now the only Canadian newspaper to employ a full-time public editor/ombudsman, a fact that speaks volumes to this news organization's commitment to credibility in an alarming period of newspaper industry retrenchment."

Kathy was a Toronto Sun reporter long before the tabloid
named Alison Downie as its first readership editor in 2005, thanks to Jim Jennings, a highly respected editor in chief. Kathy moved on to the Star in the 1980s and taught at Ryerson for 10 years.

Alison and her post were quietly axed by Quebecor last November, two months after Jim Jennings suddenly resigned. Not a word in the Sun about her departure.

The Star's recent face lift and a new public editor in Kathy English, along with the Globe and Mail's recent revamping, leaves the Toronto Sun lagging where it once shone - as a serious contender in the GTA newspaper market.

Kathy says in her first public editor column: "It's a job that's often referred to as the loneliest job in journalism. It surely won't be an easy task, but it is increasingly essential to media organizations committed to transparency and accountability."

All the best, Kathy. The Star is a better place with you at the keyboards.

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