In Context: Toronto Star shakeup

The first two features were published Spring 2004, under an umbrella feature package entitled “Crusades, Convergence & Cutbacks.”

One story, “Big Push, Big Worry,” written by Melissa Hank, examined Torstar’s appetite for swallowing up community newspapers and whether or not the change in ownership meant better journalism for the local communities.

The other, “Big Push, Big Error,” written by Keri Schram, examined The Toronto Star‘s hallowed principle of publishing social justice stories specifically in the context of the now-infamous “White Jays” sports feature, the display copy of which seemed to imply that the Toronto Blue Jays had become a racist organization in its recruitment of ball players.

While these two stories were in production, then-Star publisher John Honderich was removed from his perch by the Torstar board. The architect of the move was its CEO, Robert Prichard, who was brought over from University of Toronto to shake up the organization. (Please see Megan Griffith-Greene’s editorial, “The Five Per Cent Delusion,” for a look at Prichard’s decade-long performance at U of T).

Honderich was replaced by his hand-picked assistant, Michael Goldbloom. Wendy Glauser’s feature, “After Honderich,” published Summer 2005, followed Goldbloom’s new editor-in- chief, Giles Gherson, in his first, tentative months leading a skeptical editorial team in the nation’s largest newsroom.

Now, apparently, what goes around does indeed sometimes come around. Honderich, reduced to playing member of the board of Torstar for the past couple of years, has come back into play significantly, at least according to media watchers like Eric Reguly at The Globe and Mail. Observers believe Goldbloom and Gherson were sacrificed in the larger battle between Honderich and Prichard, and speculate on the latter’s longevity. Margaret Wente’s column today reinforces the notion of civil war at the august liberal/Liberal organ.