Rob Granatstein, the Toronto Sun‘s editorial page editor and one of its most moderate editorial voices, whose recent columns have tackled subjects like the folly of rampant privatization and the value of Toronto’s public library system in a refreshingly (for the Sun) non-shrill way, announced his departure from the paper today, after a night of unconfirmed rumours to that effect.
This is Granatstein’s statement, which he emailed to us this afternoon:
I’ve loved going to work every single day of my 17 years at the Toronto Sun. The team of reporters, editors, columnists, photographers, cartoonists, librarians and everyone else at 333 King St. E. are treasures and I’m so proud to have been able to call them colleagues and friends.
I worked hard every day to earn the respect of my colleagues, our readers and even the people who didn’t read the Sun.
I believe passionately in the work the team at The Sun does and I wish all my friends only the best.
I’m humbled by the outpouring of support I’ve received in person, by phone, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. It has overwhelmed me.
I’m looking forward to taking some time away from the greatest job I’ve ever had, then figuring out what contribution I can make to ensure this is the best city possible for my family to live in going forward.
Dave Ellis, the Sun‘s Sunday editor, also announced that he had left the paper. He made his statement yesterday, in a brief note on Facebook.
Both statements are a little—we assume deliberately—non-specific about whether Granatstein and Ellis quit or were fired. Granatstein himself, upon further questioning by email, referred us to the office of James Wallace, the Sun‘s editor in chief, who was similarly reluctant to talk specifics.
“The changes yesterday were part of a change to our management structure. I guess beyond that, it’s really not fair or appropriate to discuss the reasons that are affecting any individual journalist who worked for us,” he said. “Newspapers make management changes all the time, and that’s simply all that this was. On a personal note, I am appreciative of the professionalism and the contributions that both Rob and Dave made to the paper.”
“There’s been a lot of change at the Sun over the last 18 months,” he continued. “And we’re not alone. All the newspaper, all the media outlets are in the same boat.”
The rumour originated last night, as many stories do, in municipal-affairs pundit Jonathan Goldsbie’s Twitter feed, without attribution to a source. Other journalists began to chime in with their condolences, giving the whole thing the appearance of confirmed truth—which it wasn’t, entirely, until Granatstein sent out his email this afternoon.
Toronto Sun Family, a blog that caters to current and former Sun employees, reacted to the departures (under the assumption Granatstein was fired) in a post last night. They wondered:
Was [Granatstein] not pro-Ford enough?
Did he object to Sun Media pulling out of the Ontario Press Council, where he sat as a member?
Or it could be just another Quebecor cost-cutting pink slip, along with Dave Ellis, the former assistant city editor who fought back from a near-fatal 2007 bicycle accident to work the newsroom again.
Sun Media and parent company Quebecor have not, to this point, come forward with any explanation for the departures.
Wallace rejects the notion that Granatstein’s absence will cause the Sun to drift further to the political right.
“Anyone who’s read Rob over the years can hardly accuse him of being a bleeding-heart lefty,” he said. “The whole issue of left and right is nonsense in my opinion anyway. When media do a good job, when we’re doing our job right, we’re sticking up for the little guy, and we’re holding government accountable. And that transcends politics.”