Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Globe and Mail: “But strong principles, they endure”

This week, the Thomson family announced that they are now hold 85 per cent of the shares in The Globe and Mail,  a result of the sale of CTV to Bell. No more Globemedia: the newspaper stands alone.

The Globe’s Saturday edition includes a compelling and entertaining editorial explaining this transaction and celebrating, deservedly, the newspaper’s new situation. We should all celebrate a nationally distributed news source that operates free of political or corporate involvement.

The editorial includes some wonderful tidbits about the late Roy Thomson, the media mogul whose family is once again solely in charge.  “The Canadian People Deserve A Free and Fearless Press!” read the ad that Mr. Thomson – then the owner of a series of dailies across Canada – took out in The Globe and Mail in 1951. You have to love this.

In fact, I love The Globe.  I’ve been a Globe reader since about 1960 (the year I learned to read). My brothers and I waged fierce battle over the sports section and the comics at the breakfast table. Gradually I learned to appreciate our morning newspaper as a source of not only news, but also opinion and entertainment.

Being published in this newspaper was one of my greatest thrills as a writer.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?  I’ve already written about my disappointment in The Globe and Mail’s 2008 change of policy concerning payment for writers of essays published on the Facts & Arguments page, “Why I can’t send my essays to The Globe and Mail and why you shouldn’t either”.

I believe that a basic principle of publishing is being abused. The title of Saturday’s editorial reads: “Editorial autonomy, financial acumen, real media values.”  How do “financial acumen” and “real media values” equal not paying writers for the privilege of using their work?  If the writing deserves to be published, the writer deserves to be paid.

I emailed John Stackhouse, Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail with my concerns, but he didn’t reply. Perhaps now, in light of these positive changes at the newspaper, and as a follow-up to the sentiments expressed (by him?) in Saturday’s editorial, it’s time for Mr. Stackhouse and the Globe powers-that-be to live up to the standards they so publicly celebrate.

“But strong principles, they endure”, Saturday’s editorial proclaims in its final sentence. 

I agree completely.  Please, writers and readers, ask The Globe and Mail  to pay its Facts & Arguments writers. Mr. Stackhouse didn’t listen to my voice, but he and the decision-makers he reports to might listen to ours.


John Stackhouse, Editor-in-Chief

Phillip Crawley, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer

The Globe and Mail

444 Front St. W., Toronto, ON Canada M5V 2S9



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