Earlier this month, the Toronto Star sent out a memo from Publisher John Cruickshank to internal staff disclosing their intention to lay off in-house union jobs. Someone who purportedly works for the Star relayed this red-inked version of that memo to the Torontoist. In it, the anonymous editor humourously reminds Cruickshank to follow the paper’s manual of style, chides him for his use of weasel words, points out the passive voice, asks him to provide sources on PR catchphrases like the “core capabilities that drive the business”, and unearth his buried lede.
It’s all very funny, but it exposes an important point. The editors claim that they are necessary because they feel it is important to live up to the standards of the Star–a paper with lots of history around strong adherence to standards–and it seems that the publisher’s writing might not live up to the same. As someone who has written for both student papers and someone else’s blog where there is no oversight, nothing helps contribute to the development of good journalism better than a good editor who can really teach them something.