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Toronto Star names new publisher and editor-in-chief

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Double J, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    The new publisher is Jagoda Pike. She's the former publisher of the Hamilton Spectator and comes from a human resources background. Is that better than coming from an advertising background?

    She immediately announced that Fred Kuntz, a former city editor at the Star, will become the new EIC on October 23. His current role is group publisher of Grand River Valley Newspapers, a Torstar subsidiary that controls the Record newspaper in Kitchener and the Guelph Mercury.

    Announced Monday evening
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Is Fred any relation to Rusty?
  3. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Not sure. How is Rusty related to Dirty?
  4. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    That must have been the development all the Star staffers were wondering about on the weekend.
  5. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    With an HR person/beancounter in charge, how long will it be before they start gutting the staff. Merry Christmas!
  6. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    Will the found-ins at One Yonge call Jagoda Pike Ms Limpet? Well-suited for the fishwrap. My name is hardly poetry but I think I'd tell people it's pronounced Pie-KAY or something like that.

    YHS, etc
  7. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    This from the updated Star story:

    Dana Robbins, editor-in-chief of the Hamilton Spectator, who spent years working closely with Pike, hailed her appointment.

    "I think the Star is in for a fabulous time," he said. "She is, arguably, and in my estimation, the most innovative and progressive leader in newspapers in Canada right now.

    "So what does that hold for the Star? A time of tremendous innovation and rethinking and excitement and enthusiasm. If you know Jagoda, you know that she's passionate about our business."

    As publisher in Hamilton, Robbins said, "she was a genuine innovator.

    "She encourages and nudges and forces and demands that people think about things in different ways. She is someone who loves the news business, who wants the business to be successful, but who cares about the journalism. During her time at the Spec, we won more journalism honours than at any time in a generation."
  8. JR

    JR Active Member

    Well, according to Margaret Wente in today's Globe & Mail, all's not well over in Torstarland:

    "The objective of a newspaper war is to beat your rival to a bloody pulp so he is no longer a competitive threat. Generally, this rival is another newspaper. But at the Toronto Star, this rival is the guy in the office down the hall.

    Don't be fooled by the blood you saw spilled on the floor this week. Ex-publisher Michael Goldbloom and ex-editor Giles Gherson are just collateral damage in the war between the big guys -- John Honderich, the bow-tied family scion, and Rob Prichard, the CEO of Torstar, the company that owns the Star. In many ways, they are alike. Both are alpha males. Both are tall, genial and well-connected super-schmoozers. But there's one big difference. Mr. Honderich is family, and Mr. Prichard is not.

    Mr. Prichard, the stupendously successful president of the University of Toronto, was brought in with the hope that he could rein in Torstar's five families, who control the voting shares and account for the company's disastrous ownership structure. Someone from academia may seem like an odd fit for a big, complex media company. But Mr. Prichard is persuasive and super-smart. If he could manage a place as dysfunctional as a university, surely he could get a grip on Torstar.

    The Toronto Star is more than a family business. Its newsroom has a powerful sense of family, too. "Half of us delivered the paper when we were kids," says one reporter. They tend to stay for life. When some newcomer can't fit in, they say, "He's not a Star man."

    Shortly after Mr. Prichard arrived, he muscled Mr. Honderich (who, as publisher, reported to him) out the door. The Star family was not amused. At a boozy farewell bash for the favourite son, people from the newsroom griped that no outsider like Mr. Prichard could ever really "get" the Star.

    For a while, Mr. Honderich obliged by keeping his distance. He took up an unpaid job as chief cheerleader for the city of Toronto. But he also kept his ties with the family. When long-time employees got married or buried, he was likely to be there. He was also a member of the board, which meant that he was Mr. Prichard's boss. The two of them had different ideas about the paper. Mr. Prichard thought that even the Star's famous commitment to "social justice," as embodied in something called the Atkinson Principles, shouldn't stand in the way of making a profit. Mr. Honderich believed profit should always come second to the paper's sacred duty to uplift the nation.

    Everyone expected great things from Mr. Prichard. But the big ideas and dazzling deals have eluded him, and his biggest deal of all -- a minority investment in the company that owns The Globe and Mail -- strikes people as simply baffling. "How humiliating that the mighty Star pins its hopes on the fortunes of a long-time rival, as though giving up on its own prospects," says a leading Bay Street analyst.

    Mr. Prichard is also stuck with a business that's in secular decline. Public interest is waning in news delivered on dead trees. And even though the population of Toronto is booming, the Star's circulation has been sagging. There's a growing sense that Mr. Prichard hasn't been protecting the franchise of thepaper.

    Publishers and editors are cannon fodder these days. Some people in the newsroom also feel that this publisher and editor were the wrong men for the job. Mr. Goldbloom is a nice guy from Montreal who was recruited by Mr. Honderich. Mr. Gherson is a nice guy who was recruited by Mr. Goldbloom from The Globe and Mail. Both are polite, non-confrontational and cerebral. But they aren't Star men.

    That was Mr. Honderich's verdict, too. So out they went. Their two replacements are long-time Star men. (One is a woman, but you get the idea.) To make sure everyone gets the point, the story announcing the appointments had the words "social justice" in large type on the turn page.

    Will Mr. Prichard be around a year from now? At a newsroom gathering the other day, he said he will be if the board agrees. But the Star's culture, into which Mr. Honderich was born, has a way of expelling foreign bodies. The Star man is not only back inside the building. He's back in charge.
  9. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    The Globe certainly has developed an interesting habit of publicly airing the problems being experienced by its competitors.

    They still won't top the hatchet job that Maclean's did earlier this year on the Globe's owners, the Thomson family.
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