Attaboy.ca

Over There (in the UK)

May 2, 2003 at 12 PM

Post Post-Whyte

Pink slips aplenty at The National Post this morning as CanWest Global has sent editor-in-chief Ken Whyte packing after five years of service to the Cut My Taxes/Appease America audience in Canada that the Post so carefully engendered. Also gone is publisher Peter Viner.

The move smells of politics, especially when you notice that David Asper, one of the CanWest family clan, has been appointed the new “chairman.” (Since when do newspapers have chairmen?) Whyte has very little do with the failure of the Post, and yet he is taking the fall; I would guess that’s because at some point he refused to compromise his journalistic integrity further by following another one of the bone-headed orders that have come from CanWest headquarters. But that’s just speculation.

The Post has never made money — and that’s why axes have fallen again — but it was a much better paper in its early youth than it is now. It seems self-evident that Whyte, who was there at the beginning, never tried to make his paper any worse, so the fact that it definitely is worse, is proof of CanWest’s ineptitude. After the departure of its first owner, the ignominious Conrad Black, CanWest’s inability to orchestrate a quick profit led to a decision to cut, cut, cut, both in quality and quantity. Without half of its original staff and many of the features which made it unique, the paper took a serious nosedive into an already shallow pool of journalism squalor. Black was no angel, but he also wasn’t ignorant about the newspaper business or journalism. Newspaper readers will put up with many things, but less content written more poorly for the same price isn’t one of them.

If there is any good news, it’s that the new editor-in-chief is Matthew Fraser, who is a journalist first, and businessman second, if not fourth, or tenth. Fraser, in fact, has no managerial experience, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. What will be interesting is to see if he can and will stand up to the bullying Aspers, who will no doubt attempt to further stifle such dangerous trends as free thought and creativity.

Of course, it may not matter. Other than the always-refreshing Paul Wells, the Post has little of relevance to add to the Canadian national consciousness anymore.

Comments

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Previously: Share Your Music Really Really Easily

Subsequently: Page Curl

May 2003
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