toronto star you be the editor

Be the Editor of the Toronto Star

As we near the end of another year (and decade!), most Toronto media outlets and blogs have been having fun with best-of-the-year lists and year-in-review summaries. In similar spirit, the Toronto Star's Public Editor, Kathy English, has published a rather nifty year-end exercise - one that allows Star readers to play the hypothetical role of editor, and make difficult publishing decisions based on 12 real scenarios the Star's editorial team faced this past year.

Here's an example scenario from the survey:

Two women involved in an intimate relationship are charged with the first-degree axe murder of a man one of the women was also involved with. Would you publish numerous headlines labelling this as a "lesbian axe murder case."?

  • Yes. It's accurate and fits limited headline space.
  • No. Would you refer to a heterosexual axe murder case?

Other scenarios involve photo inclusion/choices, choice of words, and appropriateness of content.

Here on blogTO this year, we too have faced situations that have required making considered editorial decisions, and we've also taken our fair share of criticism for those decisions. It's all part of the process, and we've seen time and time again that what's revolting to some people is comic genius to others, what's unnecessary graphic detail to some, has important documentation value to others, and so on. Given our diverse cultural and ethical foundations, it's also hard, in general, to both please and avoid insulting everyone. One thing that's apparent is that readers of blogTO have never been shy when it comes to expressing their opinions on our content and our editorial decisions via our commenting feature and emails to the editors (something that we welcome and take to heart).

Kudos to Kathy English and The Toronto Star for coming up with a fun and interactive way to involve their readers. Reader responses to the Toronto Star's "You Be the Editor" survey are due January 4th, and Kathy intends will incorporate responses in her column on January 9th. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

Photo by kitsch:in:sync.


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