How Toronto's Papers Covered The First Day of School
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How Toronto’s Papers Covered The First Day of School

Which publication earns today's A+?

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

With last night’s wrap-up of the CNE and this Thursday’s opening of TIFF, it looks like summer in Toronto is over, and starting today kids of all ages are going back to school. On this momentous day, which of Toronto’s daily papers will be named head of the class in this week’s Front Page Challenge and which will be forced to write “I will do better next week” one hundred times on the blackboard?

globe sept 6
The Globe and Mail

Canada’s National Newspaper™ has only one school-related story on its front page this morning; below the fold, an article about a dispute between Muslim families and elementary schools over mandatory music classes; one parent believes their family’s faith is being violated by the children being forced to be in the same room where musical instruments are being played, and has arranged for the children to be sent home for the hour as the school cannot accommodate them in any other way. The Globe‘s main focus on page one this morning is the launch of the paper’s new podcast Colour Code, which explores the issue of race relations in Canada; the family featured on the front page will be the subject of an upcoming episode on mixed-raced families. Elsewhere in the news this morning, a federal judge is in hot water over a series of insensitive comments issued from the bench, including asking a rape victim why she didn’t keep her knees closed against her attacker during a sexual assault trial, news about a Canadian firm selling armoured vehicles to Sudan (a nation under an export ban), and Cathal Kelly writing that the Toronto Blue Jays front office they owe it to their loyal fans to stop using the highly-competitive American League East division as their excuse for mediocrity and “step up to the plate” (which is slightly strange advice as they currently sit atop the division standings with less than a month left in the season).

post sept 6
National Post

The World’s Best-Designed Newspaper™ restricts any school news to the left sidebar of page one today, with stories on a study tracing a decline in Ontario math test scores to the introduction of new curriculum, and an arts piece recommending seven books to high schoolers. The Post‘s main story covers the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, where Obama and Putin have so far failed to negotiate a plan on stemming the tide of violence in Syria, with Obama citing “gaps of trust” with Russia, which is great news for presidential nominee Donald Trump, who can benefit from America’s stalemate on progress with Russia despite having absolutely no ties whatsoever to the Putin regime. The Post also covers the continuing schism in Canada’s Conservative Party, with leadership candidates still pushing for social issues like banning abortion, ending gay marriage and screening immigrants for “anti-Canadian values” while others in the party know these positions rendered the party radioactive in the last federal election. But it’s not all bad news today: Andrew Coyne insists you will not lose your job to a robot.

star sept 6
Toronto Star

The Star has plenty of education stories on page one today, including their main feature Rap To School, profiling a young Aboriginal boy who recently won a Science Genius competition for expressing the science curriculum with hip-hop beats and rhymes, including this madd flow: “Global warming got them animals deranged / it’s time to put a stop to all this climate change!”. There’s also a story about a York Region elementary school principal under investigation after posting Islamophobic comments on her Facebook page. The Star’s pun of the day is “Say Nah To The Bra“, covering the recent identified trend of women going braless (some for fashion, some for feminism, some for comfort). And the Star is the only one of today’s Toronto papers with front page news of last night’s announcement that Peter Mansbridge will be stepping down as the anchor of CBC’s flagship news program The National next July, after 28 years behind the desk. Mansbridge is perhaps best known for being one of the first news anchors to cover the fledging computer network called “Internet“.

metro sept 6
Metro Toronto

Continuing with the Star‘s theme of hip hop and education, Metro pays tribute to the first day of school as well as Puff Daddy’s former protege Ma$e with their headline “Welcome Back“, covering the return of over 200,000 students to Toronto’s universities, including “the grieving parents they left.” Metro is the Toronto paper most likely to put a cuddly animal on the front page and today is no exception with the news that the Giant Panda has been taken off the endangered species list, though experts warn that with climate change threatening the supply of their bamboo habitat, this may only be a temporary reprieve for the species. But strangely Metro features the same photo, in the same front page placement, of the “braless brigade” as does the Star.

Toronto Sun

sun sept 6
The Sun has a particularly wordy front page this morning, and commemorates the first day of school with the alarmist article “Board Rules“, concerning “a fun night out” for some York Region teachers who posed for photos after partying at one of the GTA’s popular Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL) locations; a photo of the teachers posing at the target range included some middle-finger posing hijinks, which of course was posted on Facebook and discovered and disseminated by students, which predictably led to some parents and the School Board flipping out. An accompanying editorial by flamboyantly-moustachioed Sun veteran Mark Bonokoski is unafraid to use the O-word to describe the school’s handling of the affair: “Their board has been kidnapped by Orwell. It was dragged, almost literally, deep into the pages of Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, to join Winston Smith in the Ministry of Truth to help rewrite and distort history into the board’s current vision.” Also on the front page today, who else but PM Selfie himself, having just wrapped up representing Canada at the G20 summit in China. The Sun‘s headline insists he’s “big with media, not so much with world leaders”, although it is hard to imagine what the Sun would consider to be a successful performance by Justin Trudeau at an international summit…

This week’s winner: For conveying the true excitement of the first day of school, as well as providing good news about Giant Pandas and seemingly scooping the Star‘s braless brigade coverage on the same front page, this week’s winner is Metro, a victory that inches them closer to the top of this column’s weekly leaderboard. Class dismissed!

Newspaper Number of Wins
Toronto Sun 12
Metro 11
Toronto Star 9
Globe and Mail 7
National Post 6

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