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National Post
NatPost Logo.svg
National Post 9-28-2007 Redesign.jpg
The front of the redesigned National Post, September 28, 2007
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner CanWest Global Communications
Editor-in-chief Doug Kelly
Founded 1998
Political alignment Conservative[1]
Language English
Headquarters 300 - 1450 Don Mills Road, Don Mills, Ontario
Circulation 203,781 Daily
217,115 Saturday[2]
ISSN 1486-8008
Official website nationalpost.com

The National Post is a Canadian English-language national newspaper based in Don Mills, Ontario, a district of Toronto. The paper is owned by CanWest Global Communications and is published every Monday through Saturday. It was founded in 1998 by media magnate Conrad Black.

Contents

History

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Origins

The January 11, 2007 front page of the Post

Black established the Post to provide a voice for Canadian conservatives and to combat what he and many Canadian conservatives considered to be a liberal bias in Canadian newspapers. Black built the new paper around the Financial Post, an established financial newspaper in Toronto which he purchased from Sun Media in 1997 (and acquire via Maclean-Hunter in 1987). Financial Post was retained as the name of the new paper's business section.

Outside Toronto, the Post was built on the editorial, distribution, and printing infrastructure of Black's national newspaper chain, formerly called Southam Newspapers, that included papers such as the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, and Vancouver Sun. The Post became Black's national flagship title, and massive amounts of start-up spending were dedicated to the product in its first few years under editor Ken Whyte.

Beyond his ideological vision, Black was attempting to compete more directly with Kenneth Thomson's media empire led by Canada's The Globe and Mail, which perceives itself as establishment newspaper.

When the Post launched, its editorial stance was conservative. It advocated a "unite-the-right" movement to create a viable alternative to the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien, and was a very large supporter of the Canadian Alliance. The Post's op-ed page has included dissenting columns by liberals such as Linda McQuaig, as well as conservatives including Mark Steyn, Diane Francis, Andrew Coyne and David Frum.

The Post's unique magazine-style graphic and layout design won numerous awards. It was a retro look — with echoes of 1930s design — jazzed up with eye-catching touches, such as oversized headlines, layering of multi-coloured type, reverse type, and bold colours. The original design of the "Post" was created by Lucie Lacava, a design consultant based in Montreal.

Sale to CanWest Global

The Post was unable to maintain momentum in the market without continuing to spend heavily and accumulate mounting financial losses. At the same time, Conrad Black was becoming preoccupied by impending troubles with his debt-heavy media empire, Hollinger International. Black finally decided to divest his Canadian media holdings, including the Post. Black sold the Post to CanWest Global Communications Corp, controlled by Israel Asper, in two stages – 50% in 2000, along with the entire Southam newspaper chain, and the remaining 50% in 2001. CanWest Global also owns the Global Television Network, and there has been heavy cross-promotion between the company's newspaper and television properties.

In September 2001 editor Ken Whyte dropped the arts and sports sections, and the 116-year old Saturday Night which had been the Post's weekend supplement. The move triggered a plunge in circulation from which the Post never fully recovered, even when the dropped sections were restored. Drastic budget cuts and staff layoffs triggered a number of staff defections as the newspaper's future seemed increasingly uncertain. Rumours about the Post's imminent closure were chronic.

In early 2003, Izzy Asper purged top management at the Post, including Whyte and deputy editor Martin Newland,while the paper continued to suffer heavy financial losses, which were estimated to have peaked at $60 million annually. Asper hired Matthew Fraser as editor-in-chief. He had been the paper's media columnist from its inception. Fraser's tenure at the helm of the Post was marked by further budget cuts, restructuring, and staff layoffs, while doubts continued about the long-term future of the money-losing paper in its commercial war with the Globe and Mail. Fraser also was forced to fire two Post writers, including columnist Elizabeth Nickson, for plagiarism. Another high-profile gossip columnist was fired for a salacious article about Canada's Governor General. Staff defections continued, notably among high-profile columnists such as Mark Steyn, who were loyal to the conservative Post under Conrad Black.

Under Fraser's editorship, the Post gained notoriety in Canadian media circles for its regular feature called "CBC Watch" – inspired in part by The Daily Telegraph's "Beeb Watch" in Britain – which pointed out errors of fact and supposed evidence of left-wing and anti-Israeli bias at the public broadcaster. "CBC Watch" infuriated the CBC's supporters, and critics claimed the Post was attacking the CBC to defend the commercial interests of the private television network, Global TV, owned by the Asper family. Izzy Asper had long railed against the state-owned CBC, and once declared publicly that it should be "expunged".

Izzy Asper died suddenly in October 2003, leaving his media empire in the hands of his two sons, Leonard and David Asper, the latter serving as chairman of the Post. Fraser departed in 2005 after the arrival of a new publisher, Les Pyette – the paper's seventh publisher in seven years. Pyette, a former publisher of the racy tabloid, Toronto Sun, aggressively took the Post downmarket with splashy tabloid-style tone and look. Fraser's deputy editor, Doug Kelly succeeded him as editor, though Pyette was regarded as firmly in control of the newsroom as a hands-on publisher. Pyette suddenly departed only seven months after his arrival, replaced by Gordon Fisher, a career Southam newspaperman who had briefly served as interim publisher a few years earlier.

The Post today

Since Izzy Asper's acquisition of the National Post, the paper has become a strong voice in support of the state of Israel and its government. The Post was one of the few Canadian papers to offer unreserved support to Israel during its conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon during 2006. [3]

One of its columnists referred to Hezbollah as "cockroaches." Canadian pundits argue whether the Post's support of Israel is a legacy of its late founder's political ideology or a shrewd business manoeuvre. [4]

The Post during Ken Whyte's editorship was strongly associated with the personality of proprietor Conrad Black, just as the paper during Matthew Fraser's editorship was associated with Izzy Asper. Today the Post has to some extent abandoned the neo-conservative ideology that, while often controversial, gave the Post a distinct voice and loyal readership. Many of its rival papers, meanwhile, have copied its unique design and layout features. In a national newspaper market considered too thin to sustain two products, the Post has struggled against the Globe and Mail, which has the advantages of a loyal readership and a history stretching back to the mid-19th century. The Post's entry into the Canadian newspaper market, while dazzling during its aggressively marketed start-up phase, was poorly timed because the entire newspaper sector was entering a period of structural decline, which continues today, as readers turn towards the Internet and other sources for information and distraction. The Post effectively abandoned its claim as a national newspaper in 2006 as print subscriptions were dropped in Atlantic Canada [5] and then print editions were removed from all Atlantic Canadian newsstands except in Halifax as of 2007.[6] The newspaper continued its erosion in 2008 with the announcement that weekday editions and home delivery would no longer be available in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.[7]

Politically, the Post has retained a conservative editorial stance under the Aspers' ownership, but has become markedly less strident. The Asper family has long been strong supporters of the Liberal Party, though they have always had libertarian leanings. Izzy Asper was once leader of the Liberal Party in his home province of Manitoba. The Aspers had controversially fired the publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, Russell Mills, for calling for the resignation of Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien.

However, the Post endorsed the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2004 election when Fraser was editor. The Conservatives narrowly lost that election to the Liberals. After the election, the Post surprised many of its conservative readers by shifting its support to the victorious Liberal government of prime minister Paul Martin, and was highly critical of the Conservatives and their leader, Stephen Harper. The paper switched camps again in the runup to the 2006 election (in which the Conversatives won a minority government). During the election campaign, David Asper appeared publicly several times to endorse the Conservatives.

The Post continues to lose money – financial analysts estimate annual losses at about $15 million – and rumours persist that the Aspers will close down the Post due to its lack of profitability. Others believe, however, that the Aspers will keep the newspaper going in order to have a political voice in Canada, notably on issues such as Israel. The Post today operates under the editorial direction of David Asper.

Like its competitor The Globe and Mail, the Post publishes a separate edition in Toronto, Canada's largest city and the fourth largest media centre in North America after New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The Toronto edition includes additional local content not published in the edition distributed to the rest of Canada, and is printed at the Toronto Star presses in Vaughan.

On September 27, 2007, the Post unveiled a major redesign of its appearance. Guided by Gayle Grin, the Post's managing editor of design and graphics, the redesign features a standardization in the size of typeface and the number of typefaces used, cleaner font for charts and graphs, and — perhaps the most striking portion of the redesign — the move of the nameplate banner from the top to the left side of Page 1 as well as each section's front page.

In 2009, the paper announced that as a temporary cost-cutting measure, it will not print a Monday edition from July to September 2009.[8] On October 29, 2009, Canwest Global announced that due to a lack of funding, The National Post might close down as of October 30, 2009, subject to moving the paper to a new holding company. [9] Late on October 29, 2009 Ontario Superior Court Justice Sarah Pepall ruled in Canwest's favour and allowed the paper to move into a holding company.[10] Investment bankers hired by CanWest received no offers when they tried to sell the National Post earlier this year. Without a buyer closing the paper was studied, but the costs were greater than gains from liquidating assets. The lawyer for CanWest, in arguing to Justice Pepall, said the National Post added value to other papers in the CanWest chain.[11]

Criticism

On May 19, 2006, the newspaper ran two pieces alleging that the Iranian parliament had passed a law requiring religious minorities to wear special identifying badges. One piece was a front page news item titled "IRAN EYES BADGES FOR JEWS" accompanied by a 1935 picture of two Jews bearing Nazi-ordered yellow badges. Later on the same day, experts began coming forward to deny the accuracy of the Post story. The story proved to be false, but not before it had been picked up by a variety of other news media and generated comment from world leaders. Comments on the story by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper caused Iran to summon Canada's ambassador to Tehran for an explanation.

On May 24, 2006, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Doug Kelly, published an apology for the story on Page 2, admitting that it was false and the National Post had not exercised enough caution or checked enough sources.[12]

Since 1998, the Canadian Islamic Congress has been actively monitoring media coverage for anti-Muslim or anti-Islam sentiment and has issued reports highlighting its findings. It has opposed the use of phrases such as "Islamic guerrillas," "Islamic insurgency" and "Muslim militants" saying that terms like "militant" or "terrorist" should be used without a religious association "since no religion teaches or endorses terrorism, militancy or extremism."[13] The Congress has singled out the National Post, saying the paper "consistently is No. 1" as an anti-Islam media outlet.[14]

Editors in chief

Current editorial positions

  • Doug Kelly, Editor-in-Chief
  • Stephen Meurice, Deputy Editor
  • Jonathan Harris, Executive Editor
  • Jonathan Kay, Managing Editor, Comment
  • Benjamin Errett, Managing Editor, Features
  • Ian Karleff, Managing Editor, Financial Post
  • Terence Corcoran, FP Editor
  • Diane Francis, FP Editor-at-large
  • Sarah Murdoch, Books and Travel Editor

Columnists

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "World Newspapers and Magazines: Canada". Worldpress.org. 2007. http://www.worldpress.org/newspapers/AMERICAS/Canada.cfm. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  
  2. ^ "2007 Canadian Circulation Data". 2008-03-12. http://www.cna-acj.ca/client/cna/ult.nsf/ccrecords?OpenView&Start=1&count=10. Retrieved 2008-03-12.  
  3. ^ The media war against Israel
  4. ^ CBC News Indepth: Israel Asper
  5. ^ National Post limits Atlantic distribution
  6. ^ National Post limits Atlantic sales to Halifax
  7. ^ http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2008/10/30/national-post.html
  8. ^ "National Post halts Monday edition during summer". newslab.ca, May 3, 2009.
  9. ^ Wojtek Dabrowski (29 October 2009). "Canwest: National Post could close after Friday". Canadian Online Explorer. http://money.canoe.ca/News/Sectors/Media/2009/10/29/11568121-reuters.html.  
  10. ^ Will judge's Canwest decision save the National Post?
  11. ^ Robertson, Grant (October 31, 2009). "No outside buyer, CanWest shuffles National Post". The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/no-outside-buyer-canwest-shuffles-national-post/article1346730/. Retrieved Oct.31, 2009.  
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Hess, Henry, "Media's portrayal of Islam criticized", Globe and Mail, September 24, 1998
  14. ^ Petricevic, Mirko, "When religion's in the news; Faith groups often voice outrage about unfair media reports, so scholars are trying to determine if the complaints are valid", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, August 25, 2007

External links


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