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National Post nixes its weekend Toronto section

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 29, 2013

post torontoMore 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.

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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.

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Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: Chris Bateman/blogTO

Discussion

11 Comments

iSkyscraper / January 29, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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I really enjoyed the National Post when it first came out. It shook up the local landscape but good, driving all of the other papers to improve (except, perhaps, the Sun, which found itself staking out Tea Party extremist ground in order to stay to the right of the newcomer).

The Post has had its struggles since, but hey, Toronto still has four newspapers when most US cities of its size have, at best, two. Whatever keeps the Post in business can be swallowed.
theurbanplanner replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / January 29, 2013 at 02:27 pm
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It's an often ignored fact that Toronto has 4 major dailies, even more than NYC, making us very unique for a major city. It's important to have this spectrum of different views, it helps diversity and discussion, despite how many people would probably like to see the Post get crushed...
steve / January 29, 2013 at 02:31 pm
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If only the star would go the way of the dodo...
Mark / January 29, 2013 at 03:00 pm
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When Conrad Black owned the paper it had a voice and a following. Now that the Aspers own the paper it is a watered down version of its former self. Why pay for liberal-lite when you can get the real thing at the globe or star.
DIego / January 29, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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The only thing Mark got right was that Conrad once owned the paper
Gumby / January 29, 2013 at 03:48 pm
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CONRAD WILL WIN!!!!
mike replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / January 29, 2013 at 04:30 pm
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Sad to hear it, Post. And I have to agree with iSkyscraper. When the Post came online, everyone stepped up. For like two or three years. There was some fantastic stuff being put out by all three papers (Globe/Star/Post). A heady period because the Post really put their heart into it and they raised all boats in the process.

Didn't agree with their politics, at all, but even there, they gathered a great group of talent, and they made their stories interesting. So you often had to tip your hat to them for making you think. Sun Media, y'all should take notes from that era--THAT is how you win over people with views that differ from your own; ramming hysterical blathering down people's throats only serves to distance you from others.
KatieB / January 29, 2013 at 06:52 pm
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Totally agree with Mike. The Post was and is the most fun of the Toronto papers. I was rarely interested in their editorials and some of their columnists but they've always had a great mix of voices and any paper featuring Steve Murray so heavily has to be worth a read. Some people I know on the left refused to read it - they didn't understand what they were missing.
rek / January 29, 2013 at 08:26 pm
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If only they'd nix the rest of the paper.
Dan replying to a comment from theurbanplanner / January 29, 2013 at 09:41 pm
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You and iSkyscraper are both wrong. Toronto only has two daily papers, The Star and The Sun. The Post and the Globe & Mail are national newspapers. If you're counting those two, you might as well say USA Today is a New York paper.
the lemur replying to a comment from Dan / February 1, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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I was going to say something similar about USA Today.

It's not surprising, really: the Post doesn't actually like Toronto much (nor do many of the Globe's readers outside Toronto).

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