Sun Media, owners of the Sun papers, is implementing a national editorial policy, which the Canadian Association of Journalists is blasting as a threat to local editorial independence.
Sound familiar? CanWest tried to pull this lame-brained stunt five years ago, which led to a very strong backlash (including Gazette writers pulling their bylines in protest). Though the policy was eventually canned, to this day there are people I talk to who think it’s still in effect. The damage is done and will take quite a while to undo.
Are we going to see the same at Sun? Though there are people at the chain who care about their papers, I’m not sure there will be enough resistance inside and outside the company to force it to reverse its position.
While I realize Sun wants to save money (like Global, CityTV, Standard Radio, Corus and others, they want to be the fast-food of journalism, repackaging cheap, generic content and producing little of real value of their own), I think in the end this is going to cost them. People don’t pick up papers to read wire stories any more. They can get that stuff for free now. Instead, they pick up papers for original coverage, original commentary, personalities and, you know, crosswords and stuff.
We’ll see if the Sun policy follows the same path as CanWest’s.