05.27.2020 08:10 AM

A Star is mourned

When I was contemplating a move from Vancouver to Toronto, the Star found out via an editor I knew there. I met with some senior folks at the paper, and they offered me a business reporter job.

It was a serious offer, and I took it seriously. In the end, however, I went to work at McMillan Binch (and not Osler’s, which also made me a generous offer) in their Bay Street office.

It was the right decision at the time. The media and assorted creative industries were busily digitizing their content, back then, and entities like Napster were about to make them profoundly regret it. Giving away newspapers for free didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me either.

The ownership change at the Star is good news for a newspaper that some of us knew was days away from a total financial collapse. The Bitoves are business geniuses, and business genius was in seriously short supply in the boardroom at One Yonge for the past decade.

We live in a time of great change, obviously. The media needs to change, too, or it will die.

I am glad the Star now won’t.


  1. Douglas W says:

    Retail advertising accounts for a large part of the Star’s revenue stream, particularly on the print side.
    What kind of marketing budgets will retailers have in the next one to two years?
    Government ads (and perhaps cannabis ads) will give news entities a fighting chance to survive.
    Their outlook is grim.
    Hard to imagine Toronto remaining a four-newspaper town, much longer.
    The Globe, the Post, the Sun and the Star are all bleeding.
    One or two of them will end up going under.
    Or, there will be mergers.

  2. I’m a little further along than most: you could sell me any newspaper for $1.00 CAD and anoint me as Publisher and I still wouldn’t bite.

  3. Pedant says:

    When individuals like Heather Mallick and Shree Paradkar go from being eccentric far-left oddities to setting the tone for the entire newspaper, it’s a sign of desperation. Who do they appeal to? I mean, how many ANTIFA members does The Star believe exist in Toronto or Canada at large? And how many of those do they think purchase newspapers?

    I remember when the National Post launched in 1998. “Won’t last a year!”, the left sneered. They underestimated the ranks of conservatives in Canada then just as they they overestimated the ranks of the far-left today.

    • We underestimated how much money Conrad Black was willing to lose in order to promote his propaganda, but he succeeded in his goal of reuniting the Conservative party and allowing them to return to power.

      • Pedant says:

        Losing money in the early stages of any new venture is perfectly normal. The National Post succeeded in becoming the only paper of national scope where conservative views (the new counter-culture) are permitted. If it goes down, it’s only because the entire industry is collapsing.

        Nobody is forced to pay for Conrad Black’s media ventures against their will. How do you think your CBC would fare if it couldn’t leech off taxpayers?

    • Trrence says:

      The National Post has never made a dime of profit. Ever. It’s stated purpose was and always has been conservative propaganda. It was always propped up by revenues from the city dailies. Conservatives win federal elections by accident because they have relatively few supporters…ergo the NP has never had enough readers.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “The National Post has never made a dime of profit. Ever. It’s stated purpose was and always has been conservative propaganda. ”

        And the Red Star wasn’t 100% Liberal propaganda, right?

        • They are all propaganda sheets to some extent. What’s always most important is the hidden and not so hidden agendas: owners vs. editorial page vs. columnists, etc.

      • Pedant says:

        Oh and you read this “stated purpose” where? Or did you just make that up? And how would you know how much money the NP makes, either now or in the past? Postmedia’s annual report does not break down the numbers by individual newspaper.

        All news media are undergoing hard times. But only one such media outlet – the CBC – usurps taxpayer money to spout its propaganda.

        • Fred from BC says:

          “All news media are undergoing hard times. But only one such media outlet – the CBC – usurps taxpayer money to spout its propaganda.”

          Undeniably. That’s exactly why they need to be either defunded or remade into a non-partisan organization (if that’s even possible).

  4. Martin says:

    I have been a regular reader of all the major newspapers since 1979 when I wrote my CA exams(my daily excuse not to get to my studying). Use Pressreader now. I only continued and continue to read the Daily Star(sic) for its predictable editorial comedic value.

  5. They were one the first of the big corporate media to go to the government with their hand out, and at the same time they shut down my local paper without a comment. The paper didn’t even have time to put out a final edition. Totally sanctimonious and hypocritical. I won’t miss them.

  6. Ron Benn says:

    Is this a mid-term real estate play in disguise? Torstar occupies a big footprint in a prime location. Just keep the mortgage current, and in less than a decade …

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