How Toronto's Papers Covered The Aftermath of the Orlando Massacre
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.



How Toronto’s Papers Covered The Aftermath of the Orlando Massacre

In Front Page Challenge, Torontoist analyzes the best and worst of the city's newspapers.

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

The world is still reeling from the aftermath of this weekend’s murder spree in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in American history. It specifically targeted the LGBTQ community in Florida, and was enacted by a disturbed man who may have been inspired to commit the horrific act by ISIS, setting off new arguments in the media about weapons access and who is to blame for stoking (and manipulating) dangerous political rhetoric. How do Toronto’s daily papers struggle to tell this awful story as details become clear?

The Globe and Mail

The Globe‘s coverage of the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub murders focuses on the community response, with a photo of thousands gathered downtown observing a moment of silence at a vigil for the dozens of lives lost, while the U.S. State Department continues to look into the motives of the gunman Omar Mateen, and whether he was acting as an agent of ISIS or merely inspired by them to commit his horrific act. The Globe is the only one of Toronto’s dailies to provide front page coverage of the execution of a second Canadian held hostage by terrorists in the Philippines, as well as continuing coverage of the ongoing battle to halt the spread of the fires still burning in Fort McMurray.

National Post

The front page of this morning’s National Post is simple yet powerful; the faces of the 49 people who lost their lives in the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The Post offers several pages of coverage in the A section today, including a graphic that details how the shooting unfolded in the club, and an article about the disproportionate rates of random violence and early deaths in the North American LGBT community, despite the great strides towards equal rights in recent years. Considering the conservative media’s rush to portray this horror as an act of “Radical Islamic Terrorism” and not as a large scale homophobic hate crime, this morning’s National Post cover commendably avoids taking the bait, and instead focuses on the humanity, on their faces.

Toronto Star

The Star provides extensive coverage of the Orlando shooting this morning, the headline describing “A city cloaked in grief.” The Star provides on-the-ground reportage from Paul Wells, a column by Emma Teitel decrying the media push to downplay the homophobic aspect of this murderous rampage in favour of hysteria about ISIS, and the evolving story about Omar Mateen’s regular patronage of this gay club in the recent past. Also this morning, the tragic tale of a very ambitious young Mississauga man who at age 20 works a full-time job on top of being a full-time University student, has a large surplus of extra income as a result, and is seeking financial advice. The Star likes to offer occasional business section profiles of young go-getters such as this guy.

Metro Toronto

This morning’s Metro provides a less powerful variation of the Post‘s front page photographs of the Orlando victims, confining this graphic approach to a couple of rows of only some of their faces on the top of the cover. The main focus this morning is on the continuing coverage of Toronto’s Deadly Streets, this time comparing New York’s ambitious goal to reduce the city’s pedestrian and cyclist deaths to zero by 2024 versus Tory’s more modest promise to lower such fatalities by 20 per cent in 10 years (“These are realistic, achievable measures” says Tory, in contrast to New York’s Minority Report-esque plans). The mayor’s critics meanwhile call Tory’s proposal “ridiculous.” And Metro is happy to report one of the fugitive High Park capybaras has been safely returned to the zoo (and was lured back to society with sweet corn, something we can all relate to).

Toronto Sun

Leave it to the Sun to focus less on the victims of the Orlando massacre and more on the killer (“Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen”), with their headline “Face of Death.” A sub-head reads “LGBT Community Unites, Nation Mourns, Trump Screams.” Their coverage of the response to the murders in Toronto includes a bitter column by Sue-Ann Levy, wherein she resents the “Liberal Left” for hijacking last night’s vigil in Barbara Hall Park (of course if Premier Wynne had not attended the vigil, this morning’s Levy piece would likely be about how shameful her absence was). The Sun also finds room on the front page to pay tribute to golfer Brooke Henderson, the 18-year-old Canadian now ranked 2nd in the LPGA standings.

This week’s winner: The National Post wins this week’s challenge for their respectful, powerful presentation of the death toll of this attack, the lives lost. With this victory, the Post moves into a competitive position on our weekly rankings.

Newspaper Number of Wins
Metro 9
Toronto Star 8
Toronto Sun 8
National Post 5
Globe and Mail 3

Did you like this article? Do you love Torontoist? Support articles like this by becoming one of the first Torontoist subscribers—join Raccoon Nation now.