National Post nixes its weekend Toronto section
More bad news for local media and Toronto's city coverage in general this morning. The National Post has decided to cease publishing its weekend Toronto section effective immediately, ending the feature's gradual decline from what was once a 40-page pullout magazine.
Post Toronto, a compact pull-out containing short local features and movie listings, appeared for the last time in October 2012. Much of its content, including Robert Cushman's theatre review and Shinan Govani's scene column, was tacked onto the back of the Weekend Post section. As of Saturday, the former Post Toronto content will be shifted elsewhere at the expense of several smaller features.
"It didn't make editorial sense to us to have Toronto coverage in the "A" section and Toronto coverage also in the back of the Weekend Post," says Ben Errett, the paper's managing features editor.
"Both of them are labelled 'Toronto,' so readers would be understandably confused as to why, when the paper is shrinking, as all papers are, [there are] two sections with the same name and marginally different content across a
three* four-section paper."
In the interest of disclosure, I should note that I contributed a weekly news digest to Post Toronto on behalf of blogTO. The future of that column, titled Neighbourhood Watch, is still undecided.
Errett declined to say whether the decision would result in any job losses, though there's evidence the editorial team will be reduced. The plan to remove the section entirely was finalized last November.
Recent, well-publicized financial troubles at Postmedia, the National Post's parent company, led the company to halt its wire services, centralize editing of smaller publications, and stop printing some local Sunday editions in a bid to save around $40 million and slash the company's operating expenses by $120 million.
"That's print media in the year 2013," laments Errett.
"There was a time in my tenure here where it was a standalone magazine, and then it obviously it became a broadsheet section, and then it became a couple of pages of a broadsheet section. So I guess it was lacking a bit of the 'oomph' compared to having a book in your hand versus finding a couple of pages tacked onto the back of another section. We thought this was a better reading experience overall."
This Saturday's edition will be in four parts: news, Financial Post, Weekend Post and Post Homes.
Note: An earlier version of this post erroneously stated Post Toronto's final edition was this weekend. The last time the Toronto section appeared as separate pull-out pages was October 2012.
*The quote from Ben Errett in paragraph four has also been altered at his request as he mistakenly said the National Post is a "three-section" paper. It contains four sections in Toronto.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Photo: Chris Bateman/blogTO