Thursday 31 March 2011

Mobile J jobs

The Edmonton and Calgary Suns have posted mobile multimedia journalist Help Wanted ads.

For us oldtimers, what is a mobile multimedia journalist? Are you without a newsroom desk, working full-time from your vehicle?

The online postings read: The successful applicant should have daily newspaper experience, be well-versed in multimedia, including video, be comfortable in front of a camera and have a genuine interest in news and breaking news.

A competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package will be provided.

Application deadline is April 10.

No respect

Once upon a time, Toronto Sun photographers were key players who provided quality, innovative  photos daily for the front page to the back.

Today, no respect. 

James Wallace, editor in chief of the Toronto Sun, thanked a lot of staffers yesterday in a story about positive NADbank readership stats in its 2010 survey.

Wallace thanked sports writers, news columnists, the new crime columnist and man-about-town Strobel for "playing a huge role in giving readers a reason for picking up the paper every day."

No mention of the photo team, recognized during the glory years as a vital link to increased sales. The front pages, the SUNshine girls and boys, the innovative photo strategies.  

Perhaps, management feels creative photography is no longer needed when you have lots of crayons and can create daily pie charts and diagrams to fill space.

But give us spot news photos taken by proud, seasoned photographers any day of the week.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

No 30 for print

As advocates of print media have been saying for years, online newspapers are not on the verge of burying print.

Yes, online readership is increasing, but print dominates, 2010 NADbank survey results clearly show. In Toronto, for example, overall print readership is 70%, compared to 30% online.

Says NADbank in releasing 2010 stats today:
"Almost 8 out of 10 adults living in markets where daily newspapers are available read either a printed edition or visited a newspaper website each week. 

"Migration to newspaper websites continues, but the printed edition remains the most popular way to read a newspaper. Across all markets 73% read a printed edition of a daily newspaper each week and 71% of readers read only the printed edition.

"2010 Study readership results show that 15 million (78%) reach adults read a daily newspaper or visited a newspaper website each week up from 14.7 million in 2009. Newspapers continue to demonstrate their value to Canadians every day."

Says NADbank: Online editions are not the death knell for printed newspapers:

80% of all online readers read printed editions of newspapers;

Only 6% of newspaper readers only read online

71% of newspaper readers read only printed newspapers 

So why does Sun Media have bare bones print newsrooms and have those same newsrooms devote more time and energy to online news and video than its print editions?

It doesn't make sense to cut back on print days, print staff and print facilities when print remains the favourite source for readers across the country.

It is biting the hand that feeds Quebecor.

It is spin time

Updated 02/04/11 re London Free Press
The latest Canadian newspaper readership stats for 2010 have been released by NADbank - and the spinning begins.

Calgary Herald - Herald readership climbs to all-time high

Calgary Sun - The Sun shines brighter

Chronicle Herald (N.S.) - Study: Newspaper readership increases in N.S.

Edmonton Sun - Sun shines brightly: readership survey

Globe and Mail - Globe readership climbs, in print and online

London Free Press - We're doing just fine, check us out

Metro (Toronto) - More Toronto readers choosing Metro

National Post - National Post readership grows in key markets: NADbank

Ottawa Sun - Ottawa Sun readership growth continues

Toronto Star - Star still most widely read newspaper in Canada

Toronto Sun - You really like us! Sun readership soars

(Vancouver) Province - The Province is B.C.'s best-read paper - and growing

Vancouver Sun - Vancouver Sun sees healthy increase in readership online and in print

Winnipeg Free Press - More people reading the Free Press

Winnipeg Sun - Sun readership up significantly

Tuesday 29 March 2011

It was written 5

With March about to bite the dust, we're down to seven months before the Toronto Sun's 40th anniversary. So many stories to tell about the rising of the Sun . . .

Scott Young, the legendary Canadian sports writer and author and father of music icon Neil Young, was a drink or two away from becoming a Sun Day Oner in 1971.

As told by Ron Poulton in his 1976 Life in a Word Factory book on the tabloid's brief history, Sun co-founder Doug Creighton and Young met the day after the closure of the Tely was announced.

Poulton wrote:

Scott Young was at his country home in Omemee on September 18 when Bassett announced that the Tely would close. The news travelled fast, and Young turned up at Creighton's house the following day.

"I thought he might need a drink, but I should have known better," Young recalled. "We had a talk on that back porch of his. He told me then that some of them were thinking of starting their own daily. He asked me to come in, but we never really got around to talking about what I would do. I knew (George) Gross was going to be the sports editor because he had the best contacts of anyone in Canada."

Young lasted only one day as a prospective Sun employee. One of his former editors (Dick Doyle, of The Globe and Mail) had left a message at his city home that same September weekend. Young returned Doyle's call on September 20 and took Doyle's offer of a job to write a daily column.

"I pay alimony, which means I need about $10,000 a year more than most newsmen do," Young explained. "Doyle offered me enough. I didn't even discuss money with Creighton. I figured a new paper wouldn't be able to pay me what I needed. Maybe I shouldn't have assumed. Who knows? The Sun might have matched Doyle's offer. Maybe I could be in for five or six per cent of the Sun today." 

But, Poulton wrote: Young did not jump to The Globe and Mail through any fear that the Sun would fail. He always believed that the Sun would succeed.

So, apparently, did Doyle. Two weeks after the Sun began publishing, The Globe and Mail editor decided that it had become a permanent part of Toronto journalism.

(If any Toronto Sun Day Oners have favourite stories to tell during the countdown to the 40th, drop us a line. The more stories from the people who made it all possible the better.)

Monday 28 March 2011

Baltimore bulb

TSF posted a tip several months ago that the Toronto Sun boxed all of its Tely/Sun negatives and shipped them to Barrie for storage.

The Baltimore Sun has come up with a more productive use of its vast collection of negatives.

A press release says the paper has decided to digitally preserve all of its photos - roughly two million negs - and offer original prints to "consumers, collectors, photo enthusiasts and historians." 

The Baltimore Sun is using Advanced Image Archiving for its digital photo archive  About 200,000 photos have been digitally preserved and are on sale online.

Prices vary according to rarity of the print.

The press release says a Baltimore staff photo of the 1923 Yankees featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig recently fetched $4,400. 

Other popular high-ticket photo subjects include Triple Crown winners War Admiral and Secretariat, as well as Army-Navy football games and Marilyn Monroe.

"Our photo archive documents life in Maryland over the years and captures some of the most poignant moments in our history, both locally and nationally," said Tim Thomas, Baltimore Sun Media Group senior vice president of business development. "We're now making this treasure trove available to the public."

The defunct Toronto Telegram's photo archives would be a gold mine and there are Toronto Sun photos not currently available that would be in demand.

Newspaper photos are history and their hapless treatment at some newspapers is criminal.

Bravo to Bravo

If you missed Bravo's three-part Yonge Street - Toronto Rock & Roll Stories series on TV last week, you can watch it all online at

What a nostalgia trip for anyone old enough to remember the 1960s bar scene up and down Yonge Street, where you could listen to rock, country, R&B, blues and jazz greats for the price of a beer.

And the electronic Globe and Mail news sign above the Brown Derby seen during the documentary? That was one of the duties of the Globe's copy boy night crew. We would write the headlines, create the ticker tape and insert it in a news reader. 

If you screwed up, downtown Toronto was a witness.

But bravo to Bravo. Great interviews, great music, great memories.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Woodstock honours

Heather Rivers
Updated re CNW press release
The Woodstock Sentinel-Review has received a belated Ontario Newspaper Award nomination after the application was misplaced.

And the Sun Media daily has also earned a Registered Nurses Association of Ontario health-care reporting award for Heather Rivers' series titled At Death's Door.

A Sentinel-Review story says Heather's series "focused on two courageous women and their end-of-life care at an Oxford County hospice."

Heather's stories can be read herehere, here and here (photo gallery).The RNA's CNW press release is here.

The delayed ONA multimedia nomination (under 25,000) is for Elliot Ferguson's series on recovery efforts in Haiti.

Friday 25 March 2011

Barrie -Mondays

Updated re Brockville

Another Sun Media Monday edition is fading to black.

The Barrie Examiner announced Thursday its Monday edition will be axed as of April 11 because it "has become the weakest link, and is a poor representation of what we do on a daily basis."

Say what?  Anything major that happens after deadline Friday night in Barrie, which has a population of about 150,000, won't be available in print until Tuesday?

Readers are encouraged to go to the online Examiner for Barrie-area news, which reflects Sun Media's downplay of print media.

The Examiner story clearly says it doesn't have adequate staff to provide both a competent daily newspaper and a video-ladened website.

"We are now also shooting video on a daily basis and I encourage you to visit," says David Zilstra, publisher of the Examiner. "This new attention to our website has stretched our resources and we need to make some decisions about the direction of our news operation."

The Examiner, published since 1864, also told readers:

"Unfortunately, due to rising printing and distribution expenses, starting April 14, our Thursday paper will no longer be delivered complimentary to some of our rural areas, including parts of Oro-Medonte Township and Elmvale." 

The slow death of Sun Media print newspapers in favour of online efforts by limited staff continues.

Previous Sun Media Monday print casualties include the Chatham Daily News, and the Kenora Daily Miner & News. The Portage Daily Graphic dropped its Wednesday edition. 

"As well as both the Pembroke News and Pembroke Observer (albeit over a year ago now)," says a TSF reader. 

"Brockville also publishes only five days a week," says another reader.

Have there been other Monday casualties? Let us know.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Andrea Kriluck out

Andrea Kriluck, long-time managing editor of the St. Catharines Standard, is calling it quits, TSF tipsters report.

The Sun Media daily, the largest newspaper in the Niagara Region, recently saw the exit of its city editor, Rick VanSickle.

One tipster says Kriluck has decided to retire. 

Peter W. & Liz

Add lunch with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton to Peter Worthington's long list of exclusives in his 50-plus years in newspapers. 

The year was 1964 and Burton and Taylor, a scandalous unmarried couple at the time, arrived in Toronto to hordes of media.

Peter tells the story in a Toronto Sun column, which includes a video clip of his replay of his Telegram assignment that left the competition literally on the outside looking in as he lunched with the celebrity couple.

"Exclusive" is an overused word at the Sun these days, but it fit like a glove for Peter's King Eddy scoop in January of 1964.

Liz was a magnet for men for a few generations. Gone at 79, we'll always have  National Velvet, Giant and her numerous other movies.  

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Zero photo noms

Sun Media came up empty in the 2010 News Photographers Association of Canada (NPAC) nominations announced recently, but there are several familiar ex-Sun names on the list.

Former Sun media photogs nominated include Jason Franson, Blair Gable and Darryl Dyck

NPAC says more than 1,400 images and projects from across Canada were entered in the competition. Again, we wonder how many Sun Media applications were submitted.

It is difficult to accept that none of the 2010 photos snapped by employees of Canada's largest newspaper chain is worthy of a nomination. 

Winners will be announced May 28 during NPAC's National Pictures of the Year Gala in Winnipeg.

NNA drought

Sun Media, Canada's largest newspaper chain, has barely been recognized in the 2010 National Newspaper Awards nominations announced Monday.

Same old, same old, probably due more to a lack of Sun Media/Quebecor interest and  financial support for awards applications than a lack of newsroom interest in the NNAs.

Two Sun Media exceptions for 2010 - the Belleville Intelligencer and the Sarnia Observer.

Congratulations to the Intelligencer's Luke Hendry, Brice McVicar, Jason Miller and Chris Malette, nominated in the category of local reporting for team coverage of the Russell Williams sex murder and assault spree.

Bill Glisky is one proud Intelligencer managing editor.

Tara Jeffrey
The Sarnia Observer's Tara Jeffrey is another Sun Media nominee for local reporting, getting the attention of judges with her her series of stories about mental health and a spate of teen suicides in Sarnia-Lambton last year.

"Everyone in the newsroom is very proud of Tara," says senior news editor George Mathewson.

At least three former Osprey/Sun Media employees now at other newspapers are nominated: Steve Ladurantaye, Tamsin McMahon and Jenn Pritchett

There are 72 finalists in 22 categories chosen from 1,472 entries submitted by news organizations across Canada. We have to wonder how many of the entries came from Sun Media newspapers.

Winners will be announced May 13 at the NNA banquet at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Winners receive 1,000 and a certificate of award. Runners-up receive citations of merit.

Leading the 62nd NNA finalists: Toronto Star, 16; Globe and Mail, 11; Montreal Gazette, seven; Canadian Press and La Presse, six each; National Post, the Journal in Saint John and the Winnipeg Free Press, three each; Hamilton Spectator, two.

Singles for the Belleville Intelligencer, Brandon Sun, Calgary Herald, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Lethbridge Herald, Medicine Hat News, Moncton Times and Transcript, Nanaimo Daily News, Postmedia Network, Reuters, Sarnia Observer, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Waterloo Region Record and Windsor Star.

All previous NNA winners since 1949 can be viewed here.

Previous Toronto Sun winners: Peter Worthington, Andy Donato, George Gross, Trent Frayne, Heather Mallick, Jean Sonmor, Yardley Jones.

And photographers Fred Thornhill, Michael Peake, Dave Abel, Tim McKenna, Veronica Milne, Stan Behal, Bill Sandford, Mike Cassese, Craig Robertson, Patrick McConnell.

Most of the photo awards were from back in the day when the front page ruled and the Sun's crack team of photographers answered the call almost daily.

The last NNA win for the Toronto Sun was 2008 for photographer Dave Abel.

Monday 21 March 2011

Ex-Sunners' scoop

Two  former Ottawa Sun reporters broke the national Bruce Carson escort story.

Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson scooped their former newspaper with the posting on APTN.

Barrera was at the Sun from 2005 to 2007 and Jackson was there 2007 to 2010, says a TSF tipster.

"Ken recently made the bold decision to go out on his own as a freelancer," says the tipster.

Investigative journalism is alive and well in Ottawa.

Ron Base - poet

Ron Base, besides being a former Toronto Sun member of the Windsor Mafia, author and a globe-trotting movie executive, is a poet.

He writes:

It’s The Sanibel Sunset Detective.
Fast-paced, funny, a little reflective.
With a couple of murders and a twist, you see.
The hero of the tale is a guy named Tree.
So a reminder gentle reader, a kindly poke
Not to miss the gathering of literary folk,
Tomorrow at five at P.J. O’Brien, an Irish Pub
Where you can meet the author and eat the grub.
Just be careful where you move, and how you look
’Cause that son of a bitch may sell you a book!
That is Tuesday night, 5 to 8 p.m.

Sunday 20 March 2011

20/20 blackout

Never in our 60-plus years of television viewing have we seen the following message on the screen: "Due to a court order, this program cannot be viewed."

It was apparently a partial Canadian blackout for Friday night's 20/20, which involved the ongoing "Dexter" trial in Edmonton.(The Canoe story)

The brief message is all we saw on our Bell screen for an hour. YouTube posts indicate viewers in eastern Canada were able to watch the program, as did someone in Mississauga.

Normally, 20/20 segments are not geo-blocked online, but Canadians attempting to watch the ABC segments from Friday are geo-blocked. But you can watch the intro commercial.


'Dexter' Fans Turned Killers? 
Part 1: Why would anyone identify with the fictional killer on "Dexter?"

Craving for Murder
Part 2: Teen killer compared urge for murder to wanting a hamburger.

'What Do You Know About Snuff Films?'
Part 3: Actor describes horror film job that got way too real.

Police get involved
Part 4: Teen killer turns himself in, police move in on filmmaker suspect.

Can Movie, TV Violence Inspire Murder?
Part 5: Filmmakers, experts disagree on the impact of violent shows, films.

Buying front page

The Toronto Sun sold out its front page to Universal Pictures on Friday, but while a studio can buy the front page it can't buy the movie critic.

We don't know the going ad rate for Pages 1 and 2, but Sun critic Jim Slotek paid it no mind in giving the movie Paul a lukewarm review. 

In a nutshell, Slotek says:

"Paul is E.T. and Fanboys mixed together with a lot of pot. It has a few laughs, but I expected more from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost."

In some bean-counting circles, paying big bucks for upfront pages should mean a positive review for any product the advertiser is promoting.

Thankfully, not so at the Sun. 

We're sure Slotek and any other self-respecting movie critic would walk out the door if ordered to bow to the advertising dollar.

Speaking of front pages, in light of world events and some Ontario events, the  Sun's front page decisions in the past week have been perplexing.

Starting with the Maple Leafs sale front, followed by the faulty trash can front, the Paul promo front etc.

One thought in seeing the Star, Globe, Post and Sun front pages side-by-side in stores this past week was what are those editors at the Sun smoking?

Saturday 19 March 2011

30 - Ernie Lee

Ernie Lee, a retired London Free Press news photo vet, died Friday at 89

A London Free Press story says the award-winning photographer began his newspaper career in the post-war 40s when hired by the newspaper for $25 a week.

Friends say Lee, a National Newspaper Award winner, loved to chase ambulances, fire trucks and police cruisers and raised a family doing so, starting with a Speed Graphic camera.

The Salvation Army has very detailed obit online for the former Jubilee Brass band trombonist.

The Jubilee Brass tribute includes the following:

As a Christian Salvationist, Ernie found the post-war newsroom a rough-tough environment to survive in leading him to cancel his membership at the Press Club due to the language and smoking.

In a Huff

Recommended Saturday read:

The national Newspaper Guild in the U.S. has upped the ante in a strike against the Huffington Post, calling on all unpaid writers to stop contributions to the website.

The focus of the strike is now on unpaid Huffington Post bloggers. 

The story can be read here.

BTW: AOL is buying the Huffington Post, founded in 2005,  for $315 million.

The future of Sun Media ties with the Huffington Post is not clear.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Vallee & Base

Brian Vallee and Ron Base, two 1970s members of the Toronto Sun's Windsor Mafia, are working together once again as author/publisher and author more than three decades later.

In fact, Brian's new West-End Books publishing house has released Ron's two most recent novels: The Strange, published in 2009, and The Sanibel Sunset Detective, a late 2010 release.

Brian and Ron will be rubbing shoulders during The Sanibel Sunset Detective book launch next Tuesday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the P.J. O'Brien Irish Pub on Colborne St. (Behind the King Eddy).

The Windsor Mafia consisted of a lot of Windsor Star talent called up by Sun city editor Les Pyette in the 1970s, including Brian, Ron, Mark Bonokoski, Bruce Blackadar, Lloyd Kemp, Cam Norton, Greg Parent, Ben Grant etc.

Brian went on to become involved in Just Another Missing Kid, an Oscar-winning CBC documentary; several award-winning books, including his best-selling Life With Billy books; guest speaking engagements at events across Canada;  his own publishing house.

Ron's post-Sun career has included Toronto Star movie critic; Hollywood movie production and 11 novels and non-fiction books.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Shoeshine boy

Say "shoeshine boy" to anyone over 45 and the worst memories of 1977 will come to mind, especially for Toronto media reps who covered the murder of 12-year-old Emanuel Jaques.

A recent Cancrime posting by former ace Kingston Whig-Standard crime writer Rob Tripp revived memories of that summer assignment 34 years ago. 

Tripp writes about a bizarre threat by one of the killers, Saul Betesh (yes, he is still alive and still in prison 30-plus years later). You can read Tripp's scoop here.

Tripp's piece would have made an appealing Toronto Sun special had he not left on his own recently to pursue freelance projects.

Perhaps Stroble, Mandel, Haines or Bonokoski can do a Sunday Sun update on Betesh and the whole sordid affair.

Monday 14 March 2011

Kathleen Harris out

Kathleen Harris
Kathleen Harris was spared the pink slip last June when Sun Media decided to clean house at its Ottawa bureau, but the axe fell last week. 

"I am no longer with Sun Media/QMI," Harris, Sun Media's former national/parliamentary bureau chief,  has tweeted. "Please keep in touch."

She doesn't explain her departure on Twitter but a TSF tipster says she was let go.

Harris was Sun Media's parliamentary bureau chief when demoted in an op-ed purge that saw Greg WestonElizabeth Thompson, Christina Spencer, Peter Zimonjic and Eric Margolis eventually leave the building.   

Quebecor said this about Harris in demoting the Toronto born and raised reporter last June after seven years on The Hill:

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

Well, at least until last week.

All the best Kathleen.

Sunday 13 March 2011

VanSickle out

Rick VanSickle
Two TSF sources say Rick VanSickle, a veteran Sun Media staffer, is out as city editor of the St. Catharines Standard.

VanSickle, whose 30-year newspaper career includes stops at the Suns in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary, is also a widely-read wine columnist. 

One tipster says Standard newsroom staffers were told of VanSickle's exit on Thursday when called to a meeting with editor Andrea Kriluck and publisher Judy Bullis.

"No explanation, other than he was gone, was given to the staff," says the tipster. "No word on a whether a replacement will be hired."

Sun Media newspapers in the Niagara area, including the Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune, have been losing bodies steadily for a couple of years.

Saturday 12 March 2011

Suns & Japan

It isn't difficult to find the front pages of all five Sun tabloids on Newseum today - the photo and headline are identical. The number of inside pages covering the global story range from six in Winnipeg to 10 in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton.

Thursday 10 March 2011

Star's ex-Sunners

Counting the number of Toronto Star employees who were vital contributors at the Toronto Sun during the glory years leaves us with goosebumps.

It must feel like old home week with ex-Sunners Gord Stimmell, Linda Barnard, Pat Surphlis, Lynda Ruddy, Kevin Scanlon, Jane Van Der Voort, Mike Simpson, David Cooper, Mary Ormsby, John Sakamoto, Kathy English, Wanda Goodwin, Tim Fryer, Peter Edwards, Moira Welsh, Doug Smith etc. sharing space at 1 Yonge.

Pat Surphlis, shown the door in November of 2009 after 25 dedicated years in Sun promotions, is one of the more recent arrivals. She landed on her feet with an executive  job in promotions at the Star.

Lynda Schwaim (Ruddy), another key veteran Sun booster, now works in promotions at the Star part-time.

"Lynda and I will always remember the great times and great people at the Toronto Sun back in its heyday," Pat tells TSF. "But there are lots of ex-Sun types over here to keep me company. It's a big place."

All of that dedicated Sun talent lost to the competition . . .

Peter does Cancun

What's a Mexican crime wave to Peter Worthington, Korean War vet and former foreign correspondent?

Not much, says the Tely/Sun news vet in a must-read column today.

Peter, wife, daughter and granddaughter vacationed there recently without a whiff of gunfire.

Bono does YouTube

There were 32 hits as of this TSF posting. 

Let's try to get those numbers up, eh?

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Downing re sit-ins

Where have all the sit-ins gone, long time passing? 

John Downing recalls the glory days of sit-ins in his Downing's Views blog - a recommended read.

The Toronto Sun Day Oner and former editor says electronic gadgetry played a part in the demise of sit-ins.

2006 Sun losses

This year marks the fifth anniversary for a number deaths in the Toronto Sun Family, including the loss of sports legend Jim "Shaky" Hunt five years ago today.

Hunt, who was 79, died from a heart attack, leaving a legacy of 50 years in journalism, most of those years writing and talking about sports at the Toronto Star, CKEY and the Toronto Sun.

Our memories of Hunt include his broad smile and a hearty, infectious laugh that carried from the sports department to most other departments at 333.

Hunt covered the 1972 Canada-Russia hockey series and also held the enviable record of attending every Grey Cup game from 1949 to 1999.

Other 2006 Toronto Sun vet losses included Bob MacDonald on Feb. 26; Percy Rowe on March 7; Cam Norton April 14; Mike McCabe on May 30 and McKenzie Porter on Oct. 30.

40th party start?

John Iaboni's chance meeting with fellow Toronto Sun Day Oners Andy Donato and David Cooper in Florida recently has motivated him to offer his organizational skills for a 40th anniversary gathering. 

The former Sun sports writer has a proposal and is asking for feedback from current and former Toronto Sun employees. He can be reached by e-mail here.

This is what John has in mind:

"I've been thinking of organizing a small committee in which we could have an event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Sun. 
"I'm thinking of gathering at a downtown hotel for a dinner or even a luncheon. Anyone of the surviving 62 originals, their families and other Sun staffers would be the target.
"It's not a freebie, but an event where we'd sell tickets to cover the costs. I know if Doug were still around that wouldn't be a concern, but we certainly can't afford to cover it. Tickets would have to be prepaid, not available at the door. 
"Your (TSF) blog site would be vital in us reaching as many people that might be interested. I organize the Sports Media Canada Awards luncheon each year at the Royal York Hotel and perhaps I could see about arranging something there since I have a contact there with awareness of their menus. 
"The Old Mill, which was also another site that hosted Sun events way back when, might be another consideration."
John is the first TSF member to step up to the plate with a proposal as the Toronto Sun's 40th anniversary countdown continues.
A committee to get the ball rolling would be a good start.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Tough jobs, but ...

John, Andy and Dave
A Toronto Sun Day Oners reunion of sorts broke out at a recent Toronto Blues Jays spring training game in Florida.

Former Sun sports writer John Iaboni rubbed shoulders with vacationing Sun cartoonist Andy Donato and Toronto Star photographer David Cooper. They were all on the job when the Toronto Sun was launched on Nov. 1, 1971.

Iaboni writes about the chance reunion at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in his Sports Media Canada blog.

Sun & 30s

The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail know best when it comes to saying farewell to journalists who die.

The Toronto Sun, not so much in recent years. We don't know why. In pre-Quebecor years, there was always space for heart-felt obits and even tribute columns. 

Ken Robertson, a Day Oner and former city editor? 

Not a word.

Most recently, zero words for Robert Reguly.

Life in Sun Media's new word factory isn't what it used to be. 

But there is TSF, for now

Speaking of Ken Robertson, his daughter, Lynn, says a Celebration of Life will be held May 7 at Windcharm. E-mail her for more details and directions.

Monday 7 March 2011

It was written 4

The countdown to the Toronto Sun's 40th anniversary this Nov. 1 continues with more words from Ron Poulton's Life in a Word Factory, published in 1976:

The days and nights at the Sun were long but never dull. Ordinary citizens turned up, carrying cakes, chocolates, cases of wine, paintings, flowers and even potted palms.

Small, round school children, led by large, square teachers, trooped through the city room. 

Bill Hay recalls Day One on the desk at the Sun. Arnold Agnew, editor-in-chief of the Telegram, arrived with a case of champagne. 

"We quaffed it while getting the Day Two paper out. Maybe that's why there was a Day Two paper." 

The survival of the Sun didn't surprise its readers as much as it did most of the professional onlookers. No press analyst has yet been able to devise a complete explanation for that survival, but the answer may lie in the fact that the readers had a sense of wonder while the pros were hardened by the hazards of the news trade.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Bono's 1960s

Mark Bonokoski's Ryerson years are briefly replayed in an online edition of The Eyeopener, the Ryerson student newspaper he contributed to as editor in his youth.

Aleysha Haniff, in a  piece about school spirit, notes how active students were in the 1960s and '70s when it came to freedom of expression.

Aleysha, in a review of Ryerson's  early years, writes: 

"But then came the 1960s, and Ryerson wasn’t immune to the effects of the transformation of the outside world. Mark Bonokoski, a former Eyeopener and Ryersonian editor, graduated from Ryerson’s journalism program in 1972. He helped lead sit-ins at the president’s office and held symposiums on the English department, which he thought was a joke.

“The sit-ins at the president’s office we had maybe 50, 60 students help take it over with us. We negotiated with the president right in his office to get our demands through,” Bonokoski says. “Because it (Ryerson) was so small then, it was a more of a collective rather than just a great big huge stew,” he said.

Even then, school pride came from the fact that graduates in programs such as RTA, fashion and business administration found jobs, Bonokoski says.

TSF notes Bono left Ryerson on fire, was hired by the Windsor Star, joined the Toronto Sun in 1974 and became a columnist in 1977.

Bono made a  difference at Ryerson and has done so dramatically during his three-plus decades in journalism, but this Eyeopener piece got us wondering: When was Toronto's last decent student sit-in?

Saturday 5 March 2011

SONG response

Brad Honywill, president of CEP Local 87M, responds to the Maclean's story:

"The situation in Quebec is quite different than Ontario.

"Both Le Journal de Quebec and Le Journal de Montreal had very rich contracts that were the envy of newspaper workers across North America.

"They had a four-day, 32-hour work week, for example, and were paid overtime for vacation to recognize the extra costs that are incurred in travelling. They even got time off when going through a divorce.

"That put a big target on their backs when the newspaper industry went into decline.

"While unionized workers at Sun Media newspapers in Ontario are well-paid, they aren't out of line with what is paid at other unionized papers in their market.

"Ultimately, we see no sign that Quebecor will take a similar stand in Ontario.

"That being said, we applaud the tenacity and courage of the Journal de Montreal journalists and support staff who put everything they had into defending their contract. 

"We supported them throughout and now have a much closer connection than before the lockout."

Thank you for the update, Brad.

Friday 4 March 2011

Unions a target?

Wonder how the unions representing Sun Media employees across the chain will react to this story in Maclean's?

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Memories of Bob

Memories of Bob Reguly, the former award-winning Toronto Star and Toronto Sun investigative reporter who died last week at 80:

From Susan Kane Doyle: "Bob was a very unique character who taught me a lot. Arguing with Bob was an art form, as was just sitting and listening to him. He knew more about reporting and following a lead then anyone I have ever met.

"For many years he was a member of the Outdoor Writers of Canada, he held most positions on the board and was never afraid to call things as he saw them. I will miss his pointed questions, his laugh, and the twinkle when he was pulling your leg."

Ted Gorsline, former Sun freelancer: "Bob Reguly was stand alone at the Toronto Sun. He had no equal."
John Downing, Toronto Sun Day Oner and former editor, writes about Reguly in a new Downing's Views blog posting.

Andy Donato, Toronto Sun Day Oner: "Sorry to hear about Bob.  He was a great journalist who had a sad ending. He never should have been treated the way he was."

Memories of Bob can be emailed to TSF.

Attention QMI

The Canadian Press knows how to write a summary of  media awards nominations, as viewed online in a Winnipeg Free Press story.

Take notes, QMI. It isn't rocket science, but it does take a body to write the story with a Sun Media slant.

Not to rub it in, but the story in the Manitoba newspaper is about the 2010 Ontario Newspaper Awards nominees. It lists every individual nominated and all of the newspapers.

If Quebecor was the least bit interested in raising the morale level in its Sun Media chain, self-promotion for newsrooms being recognized for jobs well done would be a good start.

The CP story can be read here.

The OCNA noms

Updated 8/3/11
It is awards season again.

And time for a new assignment for QMI: Write a story about Sun Media nominees in the Ontario Community Newspaper Association's 2010 Better Newspaper Awards.

The awards will be handed out May 13 in Niagara Falls.

Online OCNA stories found to date:

Tuesday 1 March 2011

30 - Bob Reguly

Updated 2/3/11 re John Downing blog
Bob Reguly, whose lengthy award-winning career as an investigative reporter included a  four-year stay at the Toronto Sun, died from heart disease last week at age 80.

During his Toronto Star years, Reguly found Gerda Munsinger, in hiding in 1966 during one of Canada's most sensational government sex scandals.

Veteran journalist and author Richard Gwyn says in a Canadian Press story  Reguly's accomplishments on the Munsinger story have never been equalled.

Reguly moved to the Sun in 1977.

But the Thunder Bay native's stay later at the Toronto Sun was cut short in 1981 by the successful John Munro libel suit over a story he worked on with Don Ramsay.

The CP story reads:

Reguly and Donald Ramsay shared a byline on a Sun article that accused Indian and Northern Development Minister John Munro of benefiting financially from inside knowledge of a major government purchase.

Reguly joined the project late and admitted that he had failed to verify Ramsay's earlier work. He resigned from the Toronto Sun, later accepting a public relations post with Ontario's environment ministry.

Reguly is survived by his wife Ada, daughters Susan and Rebecca, all of Toronto, and son Eric, a Globe and Mail correspondent based in Rome.

A Globe and Mail obit today says Bob's funeral and celebration of his life will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (March 6)  at the Pine Hills Cemetery, 625 Birchmount Rd.

The Star's story is here.

Memories of Bob can be emailed to TSF.

2010 ONA noms

Updated 8/3/11 re Kingston link
Sun Media newspapers across Ontario have apparently earned 40 nominations for Ontario Newspaper Association Awards. 

But we've given up on expecting Sun Media to write a self-promoting summary of all the nominations. The chain couldn't care less about promoting the accomplishments of its newsrooms.

Axing the in-house Dunlop Awards three years ago said it all for Quebecor's lack of interest in annual awards.

But stories about the nominations are trickling in from individual newspapers online. 

Sarnia Observer

Sault Ste. Marie Star

Sudbury Star (bravo Star editors for including complete list of nominees)

Timmins Daily Press

Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Winners of the 57th ONAs will be announced April 30 at an awards dinner in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Metro vs Freep

The London Free Press and Winnipeg Sun will be facing new competition when Metro launches free papers in those Sun Media cities April 4.

The Winnipeg Sun has been kept on its toes with competition from the Winnipeg Free Press, but is the London Free Press ready for a meaty free Metro on the streets?

It can only be good news for print readers and advertisers in London.

Metro is distributed free in seven other Canadian cities: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax.

A CP story says the London and Winnipeg Metros will be joint ventures between Metro International SA of Sweden and Torstar Corp.