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toronto newspapers | news aggregration

since i’ve been back in toronto, i’ve received two newspapers each day. the globe & mail which is known as a national paper (although it is based in toronto) and the toronto star which is proudly a city paper. the star has its role on the national stage as well as it is sole major liberal voice in canadian newspapers. all the other major canadian papers are part of canwest or southham.

canwest’s major contribution to canadian culture has been the rebroadcast of american hit tv shows with canadian ads. they no longer allow independent editorial in their dozens of papers. criticism of israel, implicit or explicit, is a fireable offence. the american neo-conservative propaganda that they print in the national post is a colossal failure to capture the canadian national mood and disqualifies the post for this survey.

even my recently deceased grandfather who spent his entire life in business and regularly vacationed south of the border had no use for the hate-mongering and intolerance of the national post.

globe publisher southam is a simply conservative sort of organisation, in the business of newspapers.

the toronto star is a genuinely independent corporation. its other major holding is harlequin, the extremely profitable romance publisher. the roses and kisses division contributes to the bottom line but does not mess with politics.

sadly, while i usually agree with star politics, due to their simplistic and dull writing and the ensuing verbal boredom, it is difficult to push one’s way through the paper.

in any case, i’ve had four days with two sets of toronto papers. it has been a depressing read. out of the six inch high pile of newsprint (and ads), there have been only two articles well enough written not to regret the time spent reading them.

leah mclaren’s saturday style column in the globe managed to make a rather dull tv reality show sound interesting. her paragraphs about her own and her friends’ girl talk livened the otherwise moribund topic.

My girlfriends and I have the same conversations over and over again and never get bored….Particularly with old friends, their stories come up like familiar melodies blended with new rhythms. The story of one girlfriend’s recent breakup serves as the impetus for another girlfriend to tell the story of the abortion she had when she was 20. We’ve all heard the abortion story before, but somehow we never get bored with it. Like a familiar musical passage it opens up this way and that way with each hearing. This, in a nutshell, is the nature of girl talk.

today the op-ed comment at the back of section was a surprisingly fresh riff on how cellphones have changed society.

Yes, tragedies there have been, in past cellphoneless ages, and I suppose it’s real fear that drives us to suckle so hungrily on this particular techno-teat…More than any cellphone or Internet communication device, there is something we can all turn to, as our best hope for getting through this life with a semblance of dignity and grace. It’s invisible to the outside world, marvellously protean and portable. It provides hours upon hours of silent entertainment and, so far, is free of monthly charges.

It’s called an inner life. Don’t leave home without it. I put it in the “use it or lose it” category.

And a society that loses it, en masse, is the most frightening thought of all.

in any case, two articles in four days is not good enough. long enough to understand why i have not been missing canadian media. it is so flatly written with commentary banal enough to send one back to sleep in the morning.

i’ve started to realise why i so much enjoy my aggregated newsfeeds. after a week or two of following a feed i can determine if the writer’s taste is good enough or thought rich enough for me. much better to have them read whole sites and newspapers and glean the finest articles for me. it is like so many refracted versions of yourself taking in all the (english speaking) media of the world and distilling into fifteen or twenty articles a day.

the local newspaper’s day is done. it is just too boring.

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