Sunday, 14 August 2011

Déjà vu

  I was reading the Sunday Edition of the Toronto Star newspaper today and had a strong sense of déjà vu which I realized came from seeing the articles on the Internet previously. Never mind that the Sunday edition had a whole section of selected articles from the New York Times including the book review portion, the front section had articles from the Washington Post, New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. They showed the usual discourse boundaries and consensus positions of American mainstream papers which would never be duplicated by a true Canadian reporter. Glowing portraits of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry that would embarrass the most conservative writer in this country and yet printed in a paper which prides itself as the voice of the liberal constituency of Canada,  get top of the fold exposure. What gives?
  In November of 2009, the Toronto Star offered voluntary severance packages to its staff which 166 took. From an article at the time:
We have also advised the CEP that we are seriously considering contracting out segments of work associated with the production of our print product. This work is currently performed within the Star’s Pre Publishing and Editorial Divisions. Within Pre Publishing, we are exploring the contracting out of ad building and the scope of this effort may expand to include some or all of the remaining work in the Division.
"Within Editorial, we are exploring the contracting out of some or all copy editing and pagination work, and the scope again may expand to include other editorial production and related activities. The scope of these and related outsourcing initiatives may well extend to work groups in other divisions of the Star.
  In November of 2009, Torstar – the parent company of the Toronto Star – purchased the Canadian Press and outsourced editing to the enterprise after Sun news and another media company left CP to start their own news sourcing. Since then the newspaper moved from a broadsheet format to a smaller tabloid size, had larger font and included more pictures which reduced the amount of copy. Now it seems to acquire copy by replicating low cost American output. If the US copy was better, I wouldn’t object so much but as I pointed out in my “Deconstruction of a NYT article” post the content leaves much to be desired and in a piece which purports to use a Canadian example and mangles it, I find it offensive to read about it in a Canadian paper without any editorial redaction by CP. Profit is fine but when corporations don’t live up to their mandate of providing accurate information, then I get incensed.

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