Toronto Star: A legacy forsaken.

Friday evening dinner in my household as a child was often fish and chips, wrapped in pages of newsprint torn from the Toronto Star, to keep your dinner warm. In that sense, I grew up with the Toronto Star. I was probably still too young when conservative premier Leslie Frost blocked the terms of the will of publisher Joseph Atkinson that tried to turn the newspaper over to his charitable foundation. It ended up costing the five families involved $25.5 million to buy their own newspaper. It was the highest price ever paid at the time for a broadsheet newspaper.

I liked the new boss at the Star, Beland Honderich. He was not only a smart newspaper man but he was an astute businessman. He was very much a liberal but he was smart enough to create his own version of a Chinese wall in what he wanted for the party and what he wanted for his readers. He brought in a new era of expansion and growth in the venerable paper. It is my impression that his son John, who inherited the position in 1994, really did not understand where his father might have been heading.

While constantly buying out competition from around the province and as well as other publishing properties, there was a push into digital properties to gain more knowledge into developing better news websites. And this seems to be where the Star is still stuck today.

I have tested different ways of reading the news over breakfast and I must admit that I still prefer the foldable broadsheet. It is not that I am some sort of dinosaur that cannot make the change. I just get tired of wiping marmalade off my computer tablet.

It was also an awkward situation when I launched a lawsuit against one of the Star’s digital acquisitions to attempt to protect my right to a share of that acquisition. I thought it was rather dismissive of the Star to bankrupt their own acquisition rather than negotiate a settlement. They also lost out when lower level editors were enthusiastic about articles I offered the paper—then, there was nothing. Holding grudges is bad for business.

I am glad to see that there will be new owners. These are times for making changes.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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