Thursday, June 23, 2016

Hello again, and other news

Smiling dog is smiling - how can you stay mad?

March 4, 2015. That was the last time that we talked. Altogether far too much time has passed.

A blog can serve many purposes. For me, it has been a place to vent, as well as a place to share and promote my written work. The latter has suffered quite a bit in the past while; the demands of life have focused my attention elsewhere, while Facebook has sufficed as an outlet for my rants.

I have not been silent, though. In a post to follow you'll find links to as many Star articles as I'm able to provide - again, there is not a 100% correlation between what was published in print or the Star's "Star Touch" tablet app relative to online.

I also have the sad news that I will no longer be providing content for the Toronto Star, as it has decided that effective May 14, 2016, it would no longer use freelance content. This is a financial decision based on the fact that the Star's parent company, Torstar, also owns the automotive website Autoguide, which will now provide Wheels' content. Short-term, this will save them several thousand dollars per week, however I'm not certain that the possible long-term loss in ad revenue or readership will make it worthwhile. Better educated people than I apparently think it will.

This decision also affects other popular Wheels contributors, like Peter Bleakney, Jil McIntosh, Mark Richardson, Lee Bailie, and Mark Toljagic. Jil has moved on to the National Post, Mark to the Globe and Mail, and I wish them well. Good people, all.

Since May 14, the Star has continued to publish articles that they had already received from us, however once that supply is used up, that's it. Only long-time contributor Jim Kenzie, a man whose automotive review history with the Star actually pre-dates the Wheels section, has been kept on, likely as much to maintain some kind of continuity as for the quality of his content (I say that only because if content quality was that valuable to the Star, they'd have kept the others).

This parting of ways does not detract from how proud I am to have been a published journalist for the Star, and I remain grateful for the opportunity that I had in writing for it.

As soon as I manage to secure a new outlet, I'll share it here. Wish me luck!