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Crusades, Convergence & Cutbacks

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A special two-part look at the Toronto Star. How it was - and how many predict it will be

When The Ryerson Review of Journalism began developing story ideas last September, we had two proposals about Torstar. Keri Schram wanted to look at The Toronto Star’s investigative crusades that, though risky and expensive, sparked debate about pressing city issues. Melissa Hank wanted to write about The Stoney Creek News, a weekly paper near her hometown of Hamilton, and how Torstar’s push toward regional convergence may force a reduction in community news. As the stories progressed, we began talking about the articles as mirror images of the same company. On one hand, Star publisher John Honderich gave editorial the scope to go after big stories. On the other, Torstar CEO Rob Prichard squeezed editorial for bigger profits. We thought presenting the stories together would be revealing and suit our mandate of looking at journalism with a critical, though balanced, eye. Then Honderich resigned, and we realized, what we had in these stories was more telling than we originally thought. As the corporate-editorial balance at the Star shifts in the coming months, one thing is certain: there will be cuts. And chances are, head office will see the expensive investigative projects as a good place to start.

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