Friday 30 April 2010

Metro deal

SONG and Metro reached a tentative deal early this morning for 70 employees at the free Toronto daily, says SONG president Brad Honywill.

Negotiations continued past the 12:01 a.m. deadline and the tentative deal will be voted on by the editorial, sales, production and office workers Monday, he said in a press release.

That is one down, six more (Sun Media) spring contract negotiations to go for Honywill at the Sarnia Observer, Chatham News, London Free Press, Simcoe Reformer, Stratford Beacon-Herald (advertising), Brantford Expositor, Niagara Falls Review, Belleville Intelligencer and Pembroke Observer.

Donato sale June 10

With the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Sun less than two years away, we can't think of a project more worthy than a book featuring the best of cartoonist Andy Donato.

Actually, he has been an editorial cartoonist since 1968, the year the Telegram first gave him space to work his magic.

But a 40 Years of Donato and His Bird book would fit the Sun mood just fine.

Donato's catalogue of Sun editorial cartoons is well over 10,000 and you might be surprised by the number of admirers who have originals hanging on their walls.

Classic originals with Joe Clark and his mittens. Pierre Trudeau and his rose. That flag pole seen around the world. The hapless taxpayer.

Donato fans will get another opportunity to take home published originals next month during a 10-day cartoon sale at the Masterpiece Gallery, 2158 Queen Street East.

Andy says one third of the proceeds from the sale - June 10 through June 20 - will go to two charities: Sheena's Place and the St. George's Society.

Meanwhile, there hasn't been a collected works of Andy Donato book since the 1980s.

Hopefully, there will be a 40 Years of Donato book published in time for the Nov. 1, 2011 40th anniversary of the Sun.

Strobel award

Mike Strobel, always one of the Top 10 Reasons to Buy the Toronto Sun, will be collecting another award for one of his columns next month.

The Toronto EMS Media Award is for a recent column about Kevin Mills, a quadriplegic paramedic, and his beer-fetching yellow lab dog, Draco.

A Toronto Sun story says Bruce Newton, the awards committee chairman, called Strobel's Feb. 26 piece a "funny and compassionate" account of Mills' story.

The story says Mills, 29, was left a quadriplegic last year when a "freak wave threw him to the ocean floor off a Cuba beach last year."

Strobel will collect the award May 20 at Denison Armoury.

Congrats, Mike.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Cluck puns galore

The Informer blogger over at Toronto Life took count, as did thousands of Toronto Sun readers, in reading today's front page What The Cluck story by Don Peat.

The blog heading reads: Toronto Sun breaks pun density records: further evidence that the tabloid is written by our dad.

For Peat's sake, what are 10 or so puns in a tabloid story? That's chicken feed.

Don't you love it when Sun-specific blogs are created and others zero in on Sun content? We do. It means the reporters, columnists and editors are willing to crow about their tabloid roost, er, roots.

Let the broadsheets be broadsheets and stop worrying about laying an egg in their eyes.

Sun goes 3D

The Sun will publish a 3D newspaper on June 5, with readers receiving 3D glasses with their papers.

But alas, it is the London Sun across the pond that will experiment with 3D, adding a new dimension to the tabloid's Page 3 version of the SUNshine Girl, a World Cup wall chart, selected ads and other content, says Roy Greenslade, a Guardian blogger.

There is more about the 3D edition at MediaWeek.

A novel approach to print media competition.

Are Quebecor's megabucks printing facilities in Toronto and Montreal capable of producing 3D content?

Tuesday 27 April 2010

SONG appeal

Updated 28/4/10 re Metro strike deadline link
Nine Sun Media newspapers in Ontario are nearing a strike/lockout date this spring, SONG's president discloses in a letter to journalism program coordinators across Canada.

The Sun Media newspapers named by Brad Honywill are the Sarnia Observer, Chatham News, London Free Press, Simcoe Reformer, Stratford Beacon-Herald (advertising), Brantford Expositor, Niagara Falls Review, Belleville Intelligencer and Pembroke Observer.

Honywill asks journalism program professors/instructors to urge graduating students "not to take jobs with any struck or locked out newspapers."

"Our Local - CEP Local 87-M (Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild) - has several workplaces that are nearing a strike/lockout date in late April through May, including the Metro free daily in Toronto and nine Sun Media papers

"In all cases, the union is seeking modest, but very fundamental changes, to the employers' offers," he says in the letter.

"Despite that, if we find ourselves in a strike or lockout situation, we expect the employer to try to use the labour of students or recent graduates to do our work, undermining our bargaining power and chances of success.

"While these students may find that treasured first job in these circumstances, they will be contributing to the deterioration in working conditions for their craft, and therefore their own future.

"And they will always be remembered for furthering their own careers on the backs of their fellow workers.

"So please, forward this email to your students and relevant staff, and post it at the school, requesting that your students stay neutral in any labour conflict by not taking the work of striking or locked out journalists."

Neate Sager exits

Neate Sager, a multi-talented Ottawa Sun newsman with a passion for sports, has made his exit from Sun Media.

The seven-year Sun Media staffer tells TSF: "I left on my own good terms, same as Donna Casey (a former 12-year reporter who also quit the Ottawa Sun earlier this month.)"

"I am happy to have gone out on my own good terms and can only empathize with some much more talented journalists who were not so fortunate, but are still standing."

Sager, widely known in North American sports circles for his popular non-Sun Out of Left Field blog, has moved on to Yahoo! Sports Canada, where he is the new junior hockey blogger.

The Yahoo! Sports Canada contract offer came two weeks ago after Sager worked for them during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics on a blog called Fourth-Place Medal. He says American sportswriters recommended him.

"It was the best professional experience I have ever had," Sager tells TSF. "Earlier this month, they offered me a contract as their new junior hockey blogger and I started April 15. Finished up at the Sun on April 18."

Another recent sports high for Sager was covering the 2010 Canadian university men's basketball championship.

"I was able to write and do video for the Sun, do colour commentary for five games (including the final) for Streaming Sports Network Canada and provide blog and Twitter updates for my followers."

Sager's media career began with Sun/Bowes at the Portage la Prairie Daily Graphic, where he worked from 2002 to 2004 as a sports reporter/photographer. He also worked at the Simcoe Reformer as a sports/night news editor from 2004 to 2006.

"Of course, all during this time I was doing at least one blog, first with Out of Left Field and The CIS Blog, which James Mirtle, the Globe and Mail's Toronto Maple Leafs reporter, and I launched in 2007.

"I also did a fair bit of broadcasting for Streaming Sports Network Canada."

Sager must be shouting "Yahoo" these days, now that his time is fully committed to his love of sports.

All the best, Neate.

Monday 26 April 2010

TorSun awards

It's award winning time for Toronto Sun reporters, photographers and columnists.

Rob Lamberti, Ian Robertson, Jack Boland, John Hanley and Mike Filey join Sharon Lem in the winning circle for a variety of awards to be presented in Toronto, Mississauga and Ottawa.

There is a lengthy online awards story at explaining the awards and the recipients commenting on the stories, photos and columns that led to the awards.

It is comforting to see Sun staffers continue to rake in awards despite PKP's shunning of media competitions and related expenses.

Congrats to all.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Sun too hot?

Recent SUNshine Girl video shoots are too hot for some folks in the YouTube community.

This is the message for users clicking on a link for a Toronto International Spring Motorcycle Show “Sunshinegirl Shoot”:

"This video or group may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community. To view this video or group, please verify you are 18 or older by signing in or signing up."

It is pretty tame cheesecake posing to be flagged as mature content, but the video has had more than 600 hits to date.

CEP wisdom

Sometimes, less is more, as in this succinct, four-paragraph press release:

OTTAWA, April 23 /CNW Telbec/ - In the next few weeks as banks weigh which of five bidders will become the new owners of Canada's largest newspaper chain, considerations of public trust and responsibility to communities must be on the scales, says Canada's largest media union.

"We understand that banks want their money back, but ownership of major Canadian newspapers carries with it commitments beyond the bottom line," says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President, Media, for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union.

From Vancouver to Montreal, this group of papers once had a voice which reflected the cities they served. That voice was damaged by Canwest as it cutback newsrooms. We now need ownership which will revitalize these papers.

"The bidders are not buying a screwdriver company, they are purchasing vital messengers which inform Canadians about all aspects of their lives - including the financial and investment community. Somewhere that has to be a critical part of the equation as the banks look to get repaid."

Friday 23 April 2010

OttSun -20

TSF tipsters say the Ottawa Sun was hit hard by layoffs yesterday, losing 20 employees.

"The Ottawa Sun lost 20 people, most of the production department," says one tipster.

Just how thin can the payroll list get at the Ottawa Sun, launched with great joy by Toronto Sun Publishing Corp. on Nov. 7, 1988?

If any of the Ottawa casualties want to vent, post your comments or e-mail TSF.

Niagara pub out

Niagara Falls Review publisher Dave Martineau is quitting newspapers after two decades in the biz on both sides of the border, TSF tipsters say.

Martineau is going into the service station biz, says one tipster.

The Peterborough Examiner and Lindsay Post recently lost their dual publisher, Darren Murphy, to the real estate business.

It is a sad commentary on Sun Media affairs when top execs are fleeing to non-media jobs.

Online profiles indicate Martineau will be a loss to the Review and media in general.

One profile reads: Dave has been in the newspaper business for 21 years including three years consulting across North America working at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post among many others.

His Ontario media credentials include director of advertising at the St. Catharines Standard and publisher of the Orillia Packet Times.

Our tipsters didn't say if Martineau's new line of work will keep him in the Niagara Falls area, where he has been very active in community groups, including Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, United Way, the Niagara Health System etc.

Spock & Kevin

The response to Leonard Nimoy's announced retirement from acting during a Kevin Williamson interview published the other day has been out of this world.

Dozens of news agencies, blogs and forums around the globe have been quoting Kevin's exclusive and quite a few are giving the Toronto Sun full credit for the scoop.

The buzz has been strong all week, reflecting the respect for Nimoy the actor and the man.

Live long and prosper, Spock - and Kevin.

Thursday 22 April 2010

NB Nugget -6

Six ad designers at the profitable North Bay Nugget have been pink-slipped effective May 28, with more layoffs on the horizon, says the North Bay Newspaper Guild.

The Nugget is reducing its workforce "as part of a Quebecor-Sun Media consolidation to non-union shops in eastern and southern Ontario," the union says in a lengthy press release today.

The release also says verbal notice has been given about having news pages paginated at the Sudbury Star in the very near future, with a couple more full-time senior employees soon to be terminated.

In late 2008, two full-time photographers with more than 50 years of combined experience were laid off, one news department manager position was vacated, one advertising manager position disappeared, a long-time maintenance man was given the heave-ho within a year of retirement and a long-time ad layout coordinator was severed, the union says.

”We’re not happy with the reductions, we don’t believe they make good business sense and they don’t reflect the support Nugget readers and advertisers continue to give this newspaper,” said Guild president Dave Dale.

”We hope our readers and advertisers take the time to tell our boss and his corporate bosses they expect local employment from their local newspaper,” he says.

Dale says the six jobs lost, when added to recent cuts, amount to more than 15% of the local full-time and part-time workforce.

As far as the Guild can tell, the Nugget has made sizable profits every year despite the recession and industry challenges, Dale said.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

New Peter/pub

The Peterborough Examiner and Lindsay Post have a new dual publisher and general manager.

Gordon Brewerton, publisher of Northumberland Today and in media for almost 30 years, makes the move in May, says an Examiner story.

He will be replacing Darren Murphy, who is retiring from the newspaper business.

Brewerton's media experience includes a stint as a sports reporter and graphic artist, good news for journalists who appreciate hands-on newsroom experience in a publisher.

The Examiner story says he has been group publisher with Sun Media's Northumberland Publishers group since the fall of 2008.

Monday 19 April 2010

PKP's biz profile

Get to know the boss, BusinessWeek style.

For starters, the profile says PKP, 46, is earning about $1.2 million a year.

He carries a lot of Quebecor titles, including Sun Media's chief executive office, president and director.

Wesley aces it

The credit below a Sunday Sun photo yesterday read: Hugh Wesley, The Canadian Press.

Talk about nostalgic flashbacks.

Hugh is long gone from the Toronto Sun, where he was an award-winning photographer/photo editor. The Canadian Press will soon be gone.

Quebecor has been a clearing house for talent and one of the bigger losses in the past decade was Hugh, who hasn't let his camera equipment gather dust since his departure in 2000.

That timely Shoppers Drug Mart "dum" photo in yesterday's Sun shows the eyes still have it.

Hugh is now executive director of the Comfort Life magazine for seniors.

Friday 16 April 2010


So why did Fox News credit the Toronto Sun for a QMI Agency story that originated in the Daily Star in England?

Weird news credits? You betcha.

Ma Michele

Updated re Danielle Crittenden coverage

Today's recommended read is Michele Mandel's allotted five minutes with Sarah Palin during a speaking gig in Hamilton.

Michele had us from the start:

HAMILTON — You betcha, Sarah Palin is one hot hockey mom. Not so sure I want her in charge of protecting us from the Russians, though.

Meanwhile, what is with the Sun logo behind Palin in a Globe and Mail photo yesterday? Did the Sun help sponsor her jaunt north of the border?

Is that how the Sun got an exclusive interview?

Just asking.

And Danielle Crittenden provides the answer in a positing over at the Frum Forum. She attended with her dad, Peter Worthington, and came to the same conclusion as Michele.

"It was political theater - but not political leadership."

Re Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman celebrated the second anniversary of her award-winning Coming Out Crazy blog at the Toronto Star last Friday - with a pink slip.

"Last Friday, on the second anniversary of my TO Star blog (which has won two major awards in two years), I was informed they decided to discontinue with it," the former Toronto Sun vet tells TSF.

On Wednesday, Sandy posted her final Star column, bidding readers a fond adieu and, letting no dust settle on Coming Out Crazy, she directed them to her new and independent blog of the same name.

"It was madness readying myself for this launch, whilst teaching two courses at two different campuses of Seneca College, but we did it," Sandy tells TSF. "It's up and running.

"We've been up for about 28 hours and already I've had some intriguing comments and for a new address, the traffic is good."

Years ago, Sandy might have been devastated by a pink slip, but not today.

"You know my philosophy," she told Star readers. "I'm not about to cry in my coffee over what I've lost, because I've lost nothing. I've gained. Big time. I choose to celebrate all I've learned. And move on. No hard feelings. I'm not going to dwell on the past, because I cannot change it."

Sandy told TSF she wanted former Sun colleagues to hear about her new blog.

"Would you mind alerting our gang? I like to keep my Sun connection live. After all, I spent 30 of my 61 years there. Once family, always family."

Meanwhile, she is thankful for two years with the Star blog.

"The Star gave me an extraordinary opportunity to learn a new way to communicate in the 21st century," she tells TSF. "I love the interactivity of blogging and the linking. You can learn so much and share all your knowledge with anyone who's interested in clicking on the links. I've made friends with some of the readers of Coming Out Crazy, too. Good friends.

"I'm learning so much about resiliency. It's great."

You said it, Sandy. All the best.

Thursday 15 April 2010

Re Nicholas Braid

As News Photographers Association of Canada web site visitors know, Tom Braid is a always supportive of photojournalists, novice and experienced.

The Edmonton Sun's photo editor has the support of those same photographers and many others following the Easter Sunday death of his 16-year-old disabled son, Nicholas.

David Newland's Canoe Dossier posting this week said it all about the trials of Nicholas and his family.

"The supports we have had from our family, friends, co-workers and even past co-workers during this tough time has been very helpful and made us stronger," Tom says in a posted comment.

Wednesday 14 April 2010

Let's play ball

Stan Behal's amazing front page photo of Alex Gonzalez feeling the brush of an inside pitch during the nail-biting Blue Jays opener is an award winner in waiting.

The Jays lost to the Chicago White Sox 8-7 in 11 Monday night, but Behal's photo, Joe Warmington's column and eight pages of coverage in the sports section Tuesday gave us a winning attitude.

Bye bye loser Leafs and Raptors, baseball is back in town.

It is early, but there is a feeling in the air this spring, something akin to 1992 and 1993 when Cito and crew took us to two consecutive World Series victories.

The Toronto Sun's love-in with the dreadful Maple Leafs might lead readers to assume hockey fronts are the tabloid's biggest sports sellers.

Well, they be wrong.

It was Blue Jays victories in 1992 and 1993 that pushed Toronto Sun paid circulation to new heights, including a 540,000-plus Sunday Sun milestone in 1992.

With the Jays coming out of the gate 5-1 before the opener, some bloggers were wondering when the Sun might get into Jays cheer gear. Now they know.

Hopefully, Tuesday's devotion to the Jays will continue.

The fan numbers are there, the Sun writers are there and with veteran lensmen like Stan Behal shooting from the sidelines, it can only be a good year for Toronto baseball fans.

Wild stats? Nyet

Minnesota hockey fans wouldn't have been wild about Sun Media's recap of NHL stats on Tuesday.

An astute sports fan and TSF reader noticed something out of whack in counting 29 teams in the two pages of stats. Not good when there are 30 teams in the NHL.

Missing were the stats for the Minnesota Wild.

It's all in the packaging and proofing, folks.

And counting.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

OttSun -1

Donna Casey, a 12-year Ottawa Sun newsroom vet, is giving up journalism for a position with public health.

Casey is known by readers for her in-depth features, plus health and education reporting.

Colleagues were told of her departure yesterday in an e-mail from Don Ermen, city editor:

"It is with mixed emotion to let you know that Donna Casey will be leaving the Sun family. Donna is going to take a position with Public Health," says Ermen.

"Donna has been with Sun for 12 years and I'll miss her her experience and news judgment which I've called on many times over the years.

"Please join me in wishing the best for Donna in her new career."

Monday 12 April 2010

SOHO Sports?

Quebecor press releases are not the easiest to comprehend at the best of times, so we're not sure how today's announced SOHO Sports VS gizmo is going to affect Sun Media sports departments.

The press release says the SaaS (Software as a Service) technical system is being adopted by QMI Agency and Quebecor Media's numerous free and paid publications across Canada.

It will "allow centralized production of all sports pages of QMI Agency while providing the necessary customization of Quebecor Media's newspapers in their local Canadian market."

What, exactly, does that mean?

We are sure all Sun Media sports staffers and readers want to know is:

Will jobs be lost?

Will it tamper with the look and packaging of Sun sports sections, considered to be among the best in Canada?

And will it help get those late-night sports scores in the papers the next morning?

Perhaps a Sun sports guy in the know can calm the fears of colleagues and readers with an anonymous TSF comment.

Globe's Sun front

Today's online Ottawa Notebook blog by the Globe and Mail's Jane Taber uses the Toronto Sun's "Two Dogs" front page in full colour.

She writes:

"1. No double standard? The mocking “dog” cover on the Toronto Sun this weekend comparing Helena Guergis to a black mutt and other coverage of the Guergis affair is stirring up controversy. Still, there is a view that Ms. Guergis was treated no differently than a man would have been treated under similar circumstances."

Hear, hear.

So who was the Sun editor who broke from the sheep - the Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary Suns all went with the same photo of Guergis, but without the dog - and caused this controversy?

Take a bow . . . wow.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Dog watch

Who let the dogs out?

Saturday's Toronto Sun front page has riled so many people you might think it was an unpredictable, feisty tabloid.

Radio chatter, blog chatter, news forum chatter, Twitter chatter, Facebook chatter, Flickr chatter.

Everybody's talkin' - just like the old days, when night editors would push the envelope Fleet Street style, get their wrists slapped by ME Ed Monteith the next day, then do it again and again.

That is, or should be, the essence of the Sun.

The dog chatter might have gone world-wide if Newseum had the front page, but it was noticeably absent.

Here are links to some of the feedback:

A MacLean's forum

Opposing Views blog

Unambiguously Ambidextrous

Toronto Sun Sucks

Toronto Sun Cover Reviews

The Blogging Tories

Plus a lot of Twitters.

BTW: Why go ballistic when a woman, for whatever reason, is called a dog, but not when a man is called a wolf, a snake, a bear, an ass?

Saturday 10 April 2010

Globe/Star link

In the competitive Toronto newspaper market, it was surprising to click on a link in an online Globe and Mail news story last night and be taken to a Toronto Star story.

The link took us from a Campbell Clark story in the Globe to a Kevin Donovan story in the Star. Journalists and their newspapers have always appreciated full recognition for published works, but online links to competitors?

It was found in this paragraph:

The latest troubles for Ms. Guergis were sparked by controversy surrounding her husband, Rahim Jaffer. The former Tory MP faces new allegations that he promised he could open doors to government funding for questionable business associates.

More of the same in a Jane Taber story in the Globe, which also has a link to the Dovovan story.

We applaud the Globe's respectful gesture. Brings to mind the friendly rivalry of Macy's and Gimbels, Simpsons and Eaton's.

Perhaps the Star/Globe competitive edge isn't as sharp now that Torstar owns 20% of CTVglobemedia, the Globe's owner.

Whatever the motivation, we doubt it will spread to other online newspapers. Generally, newspapers are reluctant to give credit where credit is due.

It is called the rewrite-and-make-it-ours-syndrome.

Friday 9 April 2010

New SM paper?

Following a decade of massive print media cutbacks, the following TSP tip sounds like a contradiction of PKP's Sun Media strategy, but here goes . . .

The TSF tipster says Quebecor is considering launching a free evening newspaper in Montreal modeled on t.o.night in Toronto, which was launched last September.

"t.o.night employees claim to have witnessed what appear to be Sun employees studying their approach in Toronto, while Metro has confirmed it is not t.o.night entering the Montreal market.

"La Presse says that a job posting has been made on a French editorial website requesting 'multiple journalists for a new Quebec paper' and this is what led to more information coming out on the story."

t.o.night is a glossy, independent effort that is distributed free weekdays in downtown Toronto between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30.

The TSF tipster says "a number of sources have confirmed to some of the free dailies in Toronto that Quebecor and its Sun Media family" are considering the Montreal launch.

As you know, 253 Sun Media employees have been locked out at the Journal de Montreal for more than a year while management publishes the daily newspaper.

How a free evening newspaper would play in the lingering labour dispute is another story.

Olson outrage 2

Peter Worthington's column about Clifford Olson's pension payments is now the subject of a national taxpayers' revolt.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says more than 17,000 people have signed its online petition to end pensions for senior jailbirds.

"These programs are intended to help seniors make ends meet, not to fill the bank accounts of incarcerated convicts," the CTF says online.

Facebook users are also responding to the revolt and a CBC News poll released today shows most Canadians agree seniors in federal prisons should not be receiving pensions.

So Olson, a lifer who murdered 11 children, is getting the attention he always craves, but telling Peter about his $1,200 a year in pension payments might cost him, and hundreds of other cons, those benefits.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Firefox Sun app

An experimental new Firefox and Explorer browser app gives users a direct Toronto Sun content search engine.

The app, introduced last week, uses the search box at the top right corner of the Firefox browser with "Sun" in red.

The authors, John Kane in Ireland, and F.P. Murphy in the U.S., have created similar apps for dozens of newspapers around the world.

You can add other newspapers to the search list., including the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, New York Times etc.

The Toronto Sun is the only Sun Media paper on the list to date.

And it's free.


Wednesday 7 April 2010

Almost CP free

The Toronto Sun was almost CP/AP free on Wednesday.

One CP sports story on Page S5 - Koe's perfect run halted - upset Sun Media's trial run this week in the countdown to a full CP/AP wire services withdrawal in three months.

Will the lone CP story cost the sports guys some of those demeaning points being awarded for content production?

Meanwhile, the Daily Dish line of least resistance continued today with five-for-five WENN celeb stories.

Freep obits

The London Free Press apologized today for an off-site computer malfunction that screwed up Tuesday's obits.

"We screwed up the obituaries in Tuesday’s editions due to an off-site computer malfunction. Each was printed in a different — and mostly unreadable — font. They’re back to normal today."

Speaking of screw-ups, the colour in numerous news, sports, Daily Dish photos and ads in our Toronto Sun on Tuesday made us wonder if it was an experiment in 3D print media. Jim Slotek was writing about 3D in Showbiz, so we thought it might be 3D journalism.

It wasn't.

Quebecor keeps flogging its $200 million "state-of-the-art printing plants" in Toronto and Montreal, but the former 333 pressroom crew working with Goss presses would never have green lighted a press run with the amateurish look of Tuesday's paper.

Another bld FS

Quebecor's real estate sell-off continues, with the Goderich Signal-Star Publishing building now on the market.

Signal-Star publishes the weekly newspaper and Focus, a bi-weekly, which are now being printed in London.

A paragraph in an online story sounds familiar:

The company's publications and its mailing and distribution business continue to thrive but since the publications are no longer printed at the Goderich facility, the building exceeds the requirements of the business. The building is about 22,000 square feet including a 3,200 square-foot portion used solely to house newsprint.

The question is what happens when all of Quebecor's cash flow from the sale of buildings and presses is gone and there is nothing but the papers left to sell?

Will Sun Media newspapers, with bare bones staff working out of leased spaces, be next?

Actually, that is not a totally disagreeable scenario. Better sales than closures.

Day 2: CP free

The Toronto Sun was CP - and AP - free Tuesday.

Nothing but QMI, Toronto Sun and Reuters stories and photos throughout the 88-page paper.

A TSF tipster said the one-week preview of a CP-free Sun Media would begin Monday, but the intent might have been for editors to begin working the ban Monday for Tuesday's editions.

While Canadian Press credits were not found in Tuesday's paper, the Sun milked CP's exclusive Graham James pardon scoop with news followups and a Steve Simmons column.

The full CP/AP pullout begins in three months.

It won't be the first time Sun readers will be deprived of CP content.

Toronto Sun Publishing Corp. dropped CP in 1978 when it launched United Press Canada, a news agency for the Suns of the day in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. It was 80% owned by the Sun and 20% by United Press International.

That money-losing experiment lasted seven years. UPC was bought out by CP, its only Canadian competitor, and ceased to be on Jan. 31, 1985.

UPC staff included the cream of the Sun crop and it was a labour of love for all involved, but the plug was pulled because it was never profitable.

QMI, in its infancy, has some big shoes to fill in dropping CP and AP.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Robin's farewell

Most readers of Robin Anderson's advice column in Sun Media newspapers knew she landed the job through a national contest last year.

But casual readers who tuned into her School of Life column might not have known she was a "two-time cancer survivor."

Yesterday, all of Robin's readers learned her cancer is back and she is bowing out of the daily advice column to fight her newest battle. She will be writing a weekend column, Robin's Eye View.

Readers of newspapers across the Sun Media chain are leaving messages for Robin online wishing her the best and saying her advice column comments will be missed.

The search for a new advice columnist begins, but kudos to Robin for tackling her column and the workload it involved with gusto.

Robin, in her 30s, has shown us what Alberta spunk is all about and unlike Lou Grant, we love spunk.


Toronto Sun Daily Dish celeb stories have generally been a mix of wire and staff offerings.

In a paper last week, all celebrity items were from the Associated Press. Yesterday, it was all WENN. Five for five.

In case you missed it (we did), WENN is, a World Entertainment News Network celebrity blog. Canoe is listed as one of "WENN's Friends."

So yesterday's WENN blitz is probably the Sun's way of saying who needs AP and CP?

Sun Media plans to eliminate AP and CP content by the summer and does it really matter where Daily Dish celebrity news originates?

Call us old fashioned, but we tend to place more faith in AP, CP, UPI, Reuters and Sun staffers than a celebrity blog. But that's just us.

The least the Sun can do is mix it up, with researched contributions from TV writer Bill Harris and the ENT/Showbiz folks.

Monday 5 April 2010

CP free? Not!

This week's Sun Media CP-free week a TSF tipster told us about last week apparently does not include the Toronto Sun.

Today's print edition was not CP free. It took a mere five pages to find a CP story and it was one of the hot news stories of the day, with considerable radio and TV play: "Parole Board pardons pedophile coach."

And talk about being petty.

The lead for the online story reads (TSF italics):

OTTAWA - Graham James, the junior coach convicted of sexually abusing his players in a case that rocked the hockey world from house leagues to the NHL, has been pardoned by the National Parole Board, The Canadian Press has learned.

Our print edition reads:

OTTAWA - Graham James, the junior coach convicted of sexually abusing his players in a case that rocked the hockey world from house leagues to the NHL, has been pardoned by the National Parole Board, io s has been learned (sic).

It appears in their haste to downplay CP in CP's exclusive story, editors dropped "The Canadian Press" from the lead and botched the replacement wording.

"The Canadian Press" is mentioned in the third paragraph and "CP" a couple of times, plus "The Canadian Press" credit at the end of the story.

Moving on, there is a Jennifer Ditchburn CP story on Steve Tilley's Page 10 WebPage: Canuck biz falls behind online.

Plus a sports CP story on Page S21: Troops toppled.

So no CP free Sun today. Perhaps the edict applies only to the non-tabloids in the chain.

BTW: All five Daily Dish items on Page 47 have "WENN" credits.

Who dat?

Dual pub out

Darren Murphy, publisher and general manager of the Peterborough Examiner and publisher of the Lindsay Post, is calling it quits.

A brief online story says Murphy is leaving at the end of April to take a non-newspaper job that will "keep him and his family in Peterborough where he was raised."

The youngest publisher ever at the Examiner - and Post - was no doubt aging prematurely with Sun Media staff cuts and conglomerate politics.

Murphy started his newspaper career in media sales at the Examiner, then owned by Osprey Media. Later, he moved to Toronto as national account manager with Canwest Media Works, returning to the Examiner in 2003 as advertising director.

In 2005,
Osprey named him publisher and general manager at the Northumberland group of newspapers. Two years later, it was back to Peterborough as a dual Examiner/Post publisher.

It seems all roads for Murphy lead back to Peterborough, but as of May 1, his presence there won't involve Sun Media.

The search is on for a new dual Peterbrough/Lindsay publisher.

Friday 2 April 2010


Today's assignment?

Count the number of tools of the trade in this vintage journalism short that are obsolete in 21st century newspaper production.

Also note the advice to young women thinking of becoming "news women."

Thursday 1 April 2010

Sharon Lem award

Sharon Lem, a veteran Toronto Sun reporter, has been recognized by the Canadian Association of University Teachers for a 2009 feature on the high cost of education.

She is the latest recipient of CAUT's Excellence in Education Journalism Award in the professional media category and we can't think of a more deserving, dedicated Sun reporter.

The heading for her Aug. 24 feature story was: "High cost of higher education: Lack of summer jobs, rise in already lofty tuition fees forcing university students to sink deeper into debt."

CAUT says submissions were judged "on the basis of relevance, originality, quality of investigation and research, potential impact on policy makers, and the fulfilment of professional standards of journalism."

Lem has been invited to Ottawa for presentation of the $1,000 award at a CAUT council meeting, followed by a dinner in the Cafe du Musee at the Museum of Civilization.

And CAUT will cover her travel and accommodation costs.

Lem is in excellent company.

The journalism award has been presented since 2002. Previous winners include reporters at the Vancouver Sun, the Globe and Mail, MacLean's, Winnipeg Free Press and Prairie Dog Magazine.

Congrats, Sharon.