How the Toronto Dailies Covered the Invictus Games Announcement
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How the Toronto Dailies Covered the Invictus Games Announcement

Oh, and the Raptors need some serious love.

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of Toronto’s major dailies.

This morning’s Front Page Challenge is that rare thing: all five of Toronto’s daily papers feature the same photo op on the cover, a historic meeting between Canadian and British royalty heralding the launch of the countdown to a major sporting event taking place in the 6ix next year. But what about the big sporting event taking place tonight: the Raptors’ first conference semifinal appearance in 15 years? Which Toronto paper best commemorates this sporty moment best? The answer…may surprise you.

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The Globe and Mail

The historic meeting of Prince Justin Trudeau of the House of Commons and Prince Harry of the House of Windsor is the main story this morning, as the countdown for the 2017 Invictus Games is launched in Toronto. The Globe describes this photo as Harry engaging in “an animated conversation” with the Canadian prime minister. The Globe also covers the bombshell story out of Quebec that Parti Québécois leader Pierre Karl Péladeau, after not even a year in office, is leaving politics to spend more time with, as they say, his family. In bad news for Nicolas Cage, a Canadian firm in BC is embarking on an experiment to harness the power of the bees to help combat a crop-killing fungus affecting the nation’s strawberry production. But we’re going to circle back to make an overall comment here about the Globe and their performance so far in the Front Page Challenge weekly rankings. They are in last place, they only put their first point on the standings board a couple of weeks ago, and yet their headline accompanying the Justin/Harry photo is “Getting Into The Competitive Spirit.” Front Page Challenge urges the Globe to heed that advice and put together a front page that can win this Tuesday competition more regularly; this is yet another sober, serious Page One while the other Toronto-based papers are racking up wins on a consistent basis with hilarious puns and strange photo collages or juxtapositions. We know the Globe can do it!

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National Post

It does happen from time to time in the newspaper game, but this morning the Post has the exact same photo on their front page as the Globe (they really do need to phone each other more often to make sure they’re not going out dressed identically). “Two Guys Talking Sports” is the jocular headline this morning, and Chris Selley’s column gives Justin a reprieve from the Post‘s daily front-page hammer blows, in the spirit of the good cause of the Invictus Games and perhaps out of respect to a member of the official Royal Family. Their coverage of the sudden resignation of Péladeau gives more of a reason than the Globe‘s circumspect attempt at a headline, citing the PQ leader’s “marriage woes.” This would have been a golden opportunity for the Post to make a “separation” joke at Péladeau’s expense, but it seems the paper is in a generous mood this morning…or are they? Matthew Fisher’s dispatch from the Philippines will not likely do wonders for the Manila Chamber of Commerce as he warns Post readers considering a holiday there to “Visit At Your Own Peril,” in the wake of last week’s execution of a Canadian citizen. And the Post‘s long-standing Anglophilia leads to their sports coverage giving more pride of place on Page One to Leicester City capturing the Premier League title than their hometown team the Raptors making the freakin’ NBA semifinals, a very, very rare occurrence!

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Toronto Star

The Star covers Prince Harry’s visit to Toronto but drops the article down below the fold. Their main story of the day offers a provocative visual graphic to accompany their latest article on their quest for police transparency, depicting a lawyer in a hat wanting the politician in the middle to confirm for the woman on the right’s question: “Which Cop Shot Me?,” a slightly glib illustration considering the severity of the inquiry. Chantal Hebert’s requiem for the end of Péladeau’s tenure laments his departure as good news for the PQ and bad news for the Liberals, who were lucky the exiting Separatist party leader placed such a low priority on Quebec sovereignty. And kudos to the Star for not only placing the Raptors on the front page but urging them to “Beat The Heat”—an obvious pun, yes, but it really should be the team’s prime directive and mantra, especially if they want to achieve their ultimate goal—getting crushed by the winningest team in the history of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors, in next month’s finals.

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Metro Toronto

Interestingly Metro uses the same photo of the Invictus event as the Star, but gives it much more prominence, and pays tribute to the work of the great director Rob Reiner with their headline “When Harry Met Justin (and John),” a bit of a stretch of a pun. The photo of the three leaders making an O face may be an allusion to some of the famous Meg Ryan diner scene from the classic rom-com, a racy decision for a family newspaper. Ironically, Rob Reiner directed another film called North, which could have been used to make a #WeTheNorth joke today, making today’s front page a double tribute to the director, but the Raptors are nowhere to be seen on Page One. The main story is on “The Art of Street Safety In Toronto,” illustrating an architecture firm’s exhibit promoting a rethink of how roads can accommodate the safety of cyclists and pedestrians as well as convey vehicular traffic. In entertainment news, Elizabeth Moss has been announced as the lead in a new TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale—it has yet to be determined who will play the President of the Republic of Gilead in the show, although if Ted Cruz’s doomed candidacy for the Republican nomination ends tonight as expected, he may become available and would be perfect casting.

Toronto Sun

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Nice try, Toronto Sun—you got the elements right this morning, in the sense that the meeting of Justin and Harry is the main image, and the momentous arrival of the Raptors in the NBA conference semis is featured up at the top of the cover, with the urgency of the moment reflected in the headline “For Raps, Now’s The Time” with mere hours to go before the tipoff of Game 1. But the Sun commits a crucial error that costs them what should have been an easy win this week, and that is the clumsy deployment of the punny headline “BROyalty.” It reads well enough on the page, but did anyone designing the front page try sounding out the phrase itself before committing to this concept? “BROIL-ty?” This pun completely falls apart when spoken out loud, and takes way too much explaining if a Sun reader is trying to make his buddy laugh by telling him about the front page headline this morning.

This week’s winner: This week, Front Page Challenge feels a little bit like Tyra Banks in that immortal America’s Next Top Model freakout. The Sun could have won this week, but they didn’t obviously take the competition seriously with their headline pun fail. We were rooting for the Sun! We were ALL rooting for you to win! How dare you? Learn something from this!

By default, we’re giving it to the Star this week for their attention-getting “Which Cop Shot Me?” front page, and for their unambiguous Raptor-boosting. This puts them in first place. It’s a hollow victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Star 8
Toronto Sun 7
Metro 7
National Post 3
Globe and Mail 1

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