Friday, December 11, 2015

Toronto Star

Image from thewalrus

This newspaper goes back to 1892, when it was established first as the Evening Star, and then as the Toronto Daily Star. The paper prospered under this incarnation between 1899 and 1948, under the editorship of "Holy Joe" Atkinson, an early champion of social causes including unemployment insurance, old age pensions and health care.

The Star's opposition to Nazism made it one of the first North American papers to be banned in Germany.

Between 1910 and 1973 the Star Weekly came out as a weekend supplement. In 1971 the word "Daily" was dropped; the paper became the Toronto Star.

Claimed on its site as "Canada's largest daily," this paper has an interesting ownership history. A proponent of social justice causes and investigative journalism, editor Atkinson transferred the ownership of the paper to a charity shortly before his death.

However, after his death, his wish to protect the independence and future of his liberal paper was nearly foiled.  An Ontario law passed in 1949 made it illegal for charities to own large portions of money-making businesses. The charitable trustees then stepped in and bought the paper, and Torstar is still owned by the "five families" who are the descendants of those original trustees.

Today Torstar publishes books as well as newspapers. The original five Atkinson Principles remain on the website as the guiding values of the company.

Since 2012, the online paper, has had a paywall for anyone who reads more than a few articles per month, and the Star Touch tablet app was introduced in September of 2015. 

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