Paul Wells on Greenspon’s departure

Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells is a former Globe and Mail subscriber. After reading it daily for 20 years, he gave it up — and his decision had nothing to do with the Internet.

In “The old grey Globe she ain’t what she used to be” Wells wrote:

“I hate to break it to Phil Crawley, but my main problem as a reader is not that the Globe is insufficiently thrilled by the marvels of the Internet. It is that too often the paper reveals too little about the depth and richness of the stories it covers.”

The Globe publishes good journalism, to be sure, but the arts section struggles, as does the Ottawa coverage, the popular Maclean’s writer wrote. His opinion:

“This was the most surprising thing about Greenspon’s years as editor. In the 1990s he was one of the very best Ottawa reporters. He wrote seriously about how Canadians are governed and not only about who was hot or not. Every other reporter in Ottawa spent part of each week chasing his stories.

I think he was embarrassed about his own seriousness, later, when he was trying to get in good with his less politically obsessed Toronto newsroom. ‘You have to have some leavening,’ Greenspon told an interviewer in 2005. ‘You just can’t have a large percentage of your readers getting bored by endless stories about public policy.’ He wanted to ‘relate’ to readers ‘in all their guises’—as investors, employees, parents, potential patients or caregivers. It all sounded so shiny and postmodern.”