toronto sun front page

Making fun of the Toronto Sun

The Toronto Sun sells a lot of newspapers. How do they do it? It's really no mystery. They have a great sports section, a half-naked girl inside, and a fun comics section (and occasionally some decent local news coverage, but of course). But they also strive to be controversial, sensationalist, and at times, outright silly. And it's clearly a strategy that works.*

But with on-the-cusp-of-yellow, attention-grabbing, front page antics also comes criticism in many forms. It's no wonder the paper is often the subject of ridicule - and the latest roast comes to us in the form of daily blog called Toronto Sun Cover Reviews by funny man Michael Balazo.

I caught up with Michael, who was able to shed some light on the method and the madness behind his new task: daily critiques of one of the city's most tabloid-esque newspapers.

Having read your blog, it's quite clear that you're not a fan of Toronto Sun's front page strategies. Do you see any value within the paper's pages? If so, what would that be?

I actually think that Toronto Sun covers are hysterically funny. They're like hearing an old man with Tourette's shouting from a rooftop (I'm picturing Yosemite Sam here, if Yosemite Sam had been obsessed with pedophilia and illegal immigrants, which I don't believe he was). Also, I think the Toronto Sun is a super valuable resource for ESL students; the text is big, the words aren't too crazy and the concepts are a breeze.

Which Toronto news papers/sites do you prefer over the Sun and why?

I mostly get my news from papers and websites that don't use the words PERV or SICKO in every second headline. Although Toronto Life has been using those a lot lately....

How is your effort different from your predecessors (eg. Torontosunsucks.com)?

I didn't know about torontosunsucks.com when I started my blog, but I think mine is different because I do it daily and I review the entire cover, ads and all, according to an intricate star-system of my own creation. I don't really care about layout, graphic design or earnestly engaging in public policy debates with the Sun's editorial staff (although I'd love to meet Michael Coren and see his fabled head with my own eyes). I just think that Sun covers are great launching points for my hilarious jokes.

What are your thoughts on the Sunshine Girl feature?

I am a fully heterosexual man. Obviously, I love the Sunshine Girl.

* 2009 circulation figures (PDF) reveal that the Sun's average daily print count is 143,475 papers, although a purported 1.2 million pairs of eyes read the paper daily (this statistic -- which is found on the paper's current About page -- is from way back in 2005).

Michael Balazo's readership on the other hand, is, no doubt, significantly smaller... but growing at an exponential rate.


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