Local Newspapers Drop Ball With Martin Streek Death Coverage

Toronto NewspaperI've been blogging here since 2002 with almost 10,000 entries under my belt. During that time, I've broken a few stories, usually local radio hirings and firings. Last night, I broke a story here that still has me dazed.

The comments in my entry about Martin Streek's death, from dozens of people who knew him and loved him, confirm what I always suspected. Martin was a genuine good guy who loved what he did and treated everyone he encountered with class, good humour and respect. So many Torontonians felt a connection with Martin, and the 148 comments (and counting) prove he struck a chord with this city in a personal way few media personalities can equal.

The mainstream media coverage of Martin Streek's death, especially from our local newspapers, was abysmal. Martin deserved so much better for what he gave this city. I'm going to address the coverage from the Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Globe & Mail.

Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun

Get used to this picture of Martin. It was his Facebook profile picture, and the same one I used last night. You'll be seeing a lot of it in this local MSM analysis.

I'm leading with the Sun's coverage because their factual errors really hit home with me. "The news broke on an Internet message board post by David Marden". When I clicked through, I did find a comment by Marsden on someone else's post, but the post was published over an hour after my entry about Streek's death. Clearly, a little Googling is too much fact checking to expect from the Sun.

The remainder of the article could have been written by anyone with a web browser.

National Post 1

Eye Weekly

There's that picture again. You have to admit, it's a great shot. I don't think Martin would mind one bit if the media failed to find another.

This first entry from the National Post really infuriates me with their ignorance. "One blogger named Marsden (luvradio) posted the following today." Are you kidding me, National Post? Calling Marsden "one blogger" is inexcusable. David Marsden was the driving force behind CFNY in the 1980s and a local radio legend. How does the Post not recognize that?

National Post 2

National Post

Again, the National Post's coverage of Martin Streek's suicide could have been thrown together by any teen with wifi. It's his final Facebook status message, a mini-bio, and that picture we all know and love.

The National Post did, however, give me credit as a source alongside the CBC, which is almost enough for me to forgive their inabilty to scratch beneath the surface. A popular local DJ who was on the air for over two decades before his inexplicable firing at the hands of Corus Entertainment kills himself at the age of 45 and we're once again fed lazy jounalism from one of our many dailies.

Toronto Star

Star

I'm most disappointed in the Toronto Star for their coverage of this tragic event. The Toronto Star is my paper, the one I read daily and the one I've been reading daily ever since I discovered Blue Jays box scores and For Better of For Worse comics in the early 80s.

The Toronto Star should be ashamed for this reprint of the Canadian Press release. Couldn't the Star find a reporter to dig around, give us some insight, try and give this appearingly senseless act some context? The Canadian Press coverage is a paint-by-numbers statement that Streek lived, worked at 102.1, was fired and died. For shame.

Globe & Mail

Globe and Mail

I saved the Globe & Mail's article for last, because it's so offensive I couldn't get past the headline. It was very late in the day when I took this screen cap, and they were still misspelling Martin's name. It reminds me of that old axiom there's no such thing as bad publicity so long as they spell your name right. Poor Martin didn't get that honour.

Toronto is a huge city with a glut of media stationed here and many, many passionate citizens who are deeply feeling this loss. The service we've received from our newspapers is truly disgusting, especially when contrasted with the coverage given to a memorial service held in Los Angeles this afternoon.

We deserve so much better.


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Comments (45 - click here to join in!)

andrew

Shocking display from all.

Probably done as was written because of committing suicide.
Write a headline & that's it with no story.

July 7, 2009 @ 8:26 PM

Tim G.

You just proved that local bloggers are more relevant than newspapers, especially for new and breaking news. Well done!

July 7, 2009 @ 8:34 PM

Danielle

You're right, we do deserve better media coverage in Toronto, however since the industry is dying I am not really sure whether or not that will actually happen.

Thank you Mike for covering this story with respect and diligence.

RIP Martin.

July 7, 2009 @ 8:42 PM

Stafford

Booner, you're so right about the misspelled headline, the rip 'n read CP copy and the complete lack of any apparent interest in getting to the heart of the matter.

But this really surprises you? I know you were a fan and not to dismiss the incredible number of 5,500 people signed up to the Facebook memorial page but only 55 bothered to sign up for the Re-Hire Martin and Barry page.

I was stunned at how many young bucks were completely torn away from their texting and Twittering to realize that Martin was let go THREE MONTHS AGO.

So Corus should pay for its sins of letting a guy go back when I was too Twittery to take notice?

And let's not forget last night's laughable bitch fest about this Tweet and that Tweet and "I'm Not The BBC" and "Don't hang this rumour on me but.....".

If you're going to tear into the MSM about their apparent inability to properly respect the death of a beloved local media person, take a good hard damn look at the "new media" and how awful and botched the ADHD Twitter generation managed to get the story.

And, forgive me, Michael Jackson's ghetto funeral with the gold casket and Al Sharpton may have had some play in all of this.

I'm a big fan, Mike. But you're playing into much of the crap I've read online from the Gen Y's who think they're being ripped if a proper 4,500 word obit isn't up and ready in fifteen minutes!

July 7, 2009 @ 9:25 PM

Toronto Mike

Ok Stafford, it's full disclosure time. Let's tell the people that Corus signs your pay cheque.

I'm a big fan, Mike. But I gave the papers all day before I screen capped their obits. I didn't pounce at 9am, because I didn't think that would be fair. I'm sure the in depth coverage will be online tomorrow.

And I'm not the BBC, but that doesn't mean I'm in the business of starting celeb death rumours. I stand by my record, 10000 entries and not a single premature obit!

July 7, 2009 @ 9:37 PM


Chris

When is Susan G. Cole's next appearance with oakley?

July 7, 2009 @ 10:22 PM

Gammj

A weblogger doesn't get credit for breaking a story. Boohoo. Welcome to the world of media. Keep actually breaking stories and you'll get your precious soon enough.

July 7, 2009 @ 10:43 PM

Toronto Mike

@Gammj I'm fine with not getting credit, just don't credit a different blog.

In other words, it's not something that needs to be acknowledged, but if you're going to acknowledge it, get it right.

July 7, 2009 @ 10:49 PM

Adrian

All the top entertainment writers are doing the ad-nauseum coverage of the Michael Jackson circus.

July 7, 2009 @ 10:57 PM

Irvine

EYE Weekly was pretty quick off the mark. They had this posted around 11 PM MST (1 AM yesterday).

The NOW story is unreal.

July 7, 2009 @ 10:59 PM

The_Voice

Globe has fixed the headline, and the Toronto Star posted this:
http://www.thestar.com/article/662183

July 7, 2009 @ 11:01 PM

Toronto Mike

Ben Raynor's write-up for the Star is better late than never. That beats the hell out of what I found on the Star this afternoon.

July 7, 2009 @ 11:17 PM

Celeste

It took me a good deal of searching the web this morning to find a decent story on Martin's passing. Many people wanted to know if the rumours were true and the ONLY writer who had a good piece was Toronto Mike. Buddy you deserve kudos for this...while everyone else was rehashing and repackaging MJ, you were doing a service to this city by telling Martins story. Thank You!

July 7, 2009 @ 11:34 PM

CQ

TV news wasn't much better. CTV Toronto's evening news listed it as its top website item, then... perhaps 10 minutes later gave it a quick brush off treatment.

July 7, 2009 @ 11:39 PM

maxsoldo

This one struck me deep and I too have been disappointed by the coverage. I'm hoping that the Star or Toronto Life will pick up this story and do a longer take simply because Martin Streek was and is a very important part of this city, especially for those of a certain age.

His passing is not just the passing of one man, but the passing of an era.

July 8, 2009 @ 12:50 AM

RSS

Mike,

The fact that media outlets keep using that photo over and over again is especially eerie for me...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=7661295&l=7db6424dcf&id=554210161

My girlfriend snapped it at the Phoenix almost to the day. Martin saw when I tagged him the day he decided to give the whole "Facebook thing" a try, and next thing I know it's his profile photo. A little grey at the time, but always signature Streek.

Thanks, Mike, for giving his passing the attention he deserves. We'll miss you, Marty. The city will never be the same.

July 8, 2009 @ 1:06 AM

mertz

i just finished the now article and i left her a comment. disappointed. i read the eye one and i wasn't surprised. everything he wrote i already knew...not like i'm looking for breaking news. and the one that came up on google was the national post article and it's the same thing i see everywhere on all the print websites...so i think they are all using the same source or something...which is pretty rank. you would think some of the people who write would actually live in this city and know a little bit about their fellow person. oh well. it is toronto after all. i'm not looking for anything from them anyways. alan posted a good one on the exploremusic site.

July 8, 2009 @ 8:09 AM


Toronto Mike

Alan Cross and Freddie P, two men who worked with Martin for years, did us proud.

Fred's entry is here:
http://www.canadianthinker.com/2009/07/martin_streek_-_rip.html

July 8, 2009 @ 8:46 AM

Rick

Marty, said it best... Let the stories begin."

July 8, 2009 @ 9:13 AM

Devon

I'm not surprised at the coverage of this city's so called 'news' papers. They are second-rate at best.

Marty...you will be missed. Since you got booted out of CFNY it has just deterioted even more. You were the last of what made the station great. RIP.

July 8, 2009 @ 9:16 AM

Trish

Is it any wonder that newspapers are scrambling for readers these days? But in their defence, I work in the media, and at this time of year there are interns on the job, while many of the editors are away at the cottage. How else can one explain Marsden being called a "blogger"?

July 8, 2009 @ 10:11 AM

Mississauga Mike

I kept quiet yesterday but actually sent your initial entry about it to a friend about 25 hours ago, who had seen it already; you're doing a great job with providing people with information on this story. I can't say I was a huge Edge listener growing up (mainly started listening in 2000) but certainly remember Martin from the Thursday 30 and the live-to-airs (while out and about on the weekend, if in the car I always have it tuned to 102.1).

Just found this quote from his Wikipedia entry:

==========
Former Edge host, George Stroumboulopoulos is quoted as saying, in February 2009, that "Martin Streek (and David Bookman) are so important to this city, what they do for music ... Streek when he’s on the radio... quality wins. They believe in music. They are the snipers waiting by the window keeping everyone on their game. Because their music knowledge is impeccable, their passion is unrivalled and they’re not afraid to tell you. They understand how important a record can be to your life."
==========

Rest in peace, Martin.

July 8, 2009 @ 10:34 AM

Toronto Mike

I was at the CASBY Awards last year and Strombo was there riffing with Streek and it was great to see and hear them together.

July 8, 2009 @ 10:38 AM

CC

His death saddens me and I wish that it wasn't overshadowed by MJ's. Martin deserves to be recognized, mourned, and then celebrated for his presence in the music industry. Thanks for the coverage you've provided.

July 8, 2009 @ 11:25 AM


CQ

Trish: (with all due respect) I have to call B.S. on "intern" excuse"! I strongly suspect that Journalism career Interns are numerously (and smugly) comprised of University educated persons as prerequiste.
That criticism isn't specific just to this one occurrence, or occupational field for that matter. I'm tired of so many people who never honestly give a personal damn about whatever it is that they do. It showed yesterday.

July 8, 2009 @ 12:11 PM

Dizzy

I'm not surprized by the lackadaisical efforts from the Globe and Fail and The National Post. The music and humour from the Edge is beyond their corporate comprehension. But the Toronto Star's article surprizes me.

July 8, 2009 @ 12:36 PM

Andrea

CTV's staff actually did some research for their online article: http://bit.ly/2OJle

The best tribute I've read so far is on the Q107 website, Jeff Woods' blog: http://bit.ly/4D2XK

July 8, 2009 @ 12:54 PM

Liz

You're a class act, Mike.

Job well done - again. You've distinguished yourself.

As someone who is in the communications business, I truly fear for the future. The quality of the written word has diminished greatly over the past two decades. I won't hold my breath waiting for the trend to reverse.

July 8, 2009 @ 1:04 PM

Brian S.

Stafford, are you really attempting to hold conversations in the online space to the same standards as the press? Do you honestly think that's fair? People look to news organizations as a trusted source for accurate news and information. Anyone looking to a personal Blog for the same level of accuracy and responsibility needs his head checked.

You bring up the apparent apathy to a "rehire Marty" facebook group as if it invalidates the outpouring of sympathy in the other group. I'm sorry I don't follow. I haven't joined either group, but Marty's death is far more serious than a dismissal from any job. Certainly you must be able to understand the difference in the two situations.

I think Mike is bang on in his assessment of the coverage.

July 8, 2009 @ 2:30 PM

Trish

CQ - Yes, interns from journalism school should know the drill. But it's the editor's job to send it back for re-write or fact-checking. So where were they at the Star, Globe, Sun, etc.? You're right, no one gave a damn.

July 8, 2009 @ 2:42 PM

April

The news of his death sucks, and the news regarding his death sucks more.

However I did find this.

http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_35811.aspx

It credits you as the first to post the news. Though I'm not sure if it came before or after this entry.

When I woke up yesterday morning, your blog, and City News had the only information I could find.

July 8, 2009 @ 4:27 PM

Toronto Mike

@April

I saw that. Very decent of City TV to link here.

This entry was looking at the newspapers, only.

July 8, 2009 @ 4:47 PM

Jeff

No offense to anyone posting here but as a journalist myself, I know how sensitive an issue like suicide can be. You're looking for in-depth coverage on this, what if he had tossed himself off a building? Or even thrown himself in front of the subway? How in-depth would you have liked to go then?

Also, in a story about a potential suicide, does it really matter who was the first to post about Streek's death and is this really a story to be seeking that kind of recognition? My thought on this one is that basic obit coverage on his death gets the job done (there's no need to pry too deep into the details about this) and journalistic efforts should be focused on recognizing the contributions that Martin Streek had on Toronto's music scene, the impact he had on his listeners and the achievements that he had in his life. Sources like Strombo and Alan Cross should have been seeked out to include what they had to say about such a recognized figure in Toronto's radio industry.

Mind you, I am not excusing the entries made by the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star. Misspelling his name is a huge disservice and relying on the Canadian Press for your own city is just stupidity. Regardless of how big Toronto is, someone in that office could have thrown together a localized angle on this story.

Also, I realize how important Martin Streek is to everyone here and I'm not dismissing that, but to compare his death, which was considered a potential suicide at the time of publication, to the memorial of Michael Jackson is simply ludicrous. Yes, attention can be made for Streek, but if you expect less coverage on Michael Jackson, a man who many believe revolutionized the entire music industry, has sold more albums then ANY other artist in history and carries more records then you eat meals in a day, that's asking a little much, whether you're a Jackson fan or not. My radio station carried bare bone minimal coverage on Michael Jackson's memorial, but that's still more coverage then we gave to Streek, given our location in British Columbia.

And yes, just to stress, I am not a Michael Jackson fan, nor do I work for Corus.

July 8, 2009 @ 6:09 PM


Winning Streek

...but if you expect less coverage on Michael Jackson, a man who many believe *was a criminal multiple child molester has had more destructive plastic surgery than ANY other artist in history, and carries more scandals then you eat meals in a day, that's asking a reasonable sensitivity to a controversial death*, whether you're a Jackson fan or not.

Fixed That For You...

July 9, 2009 @ 5:25 AM

CC

Nice fix, Winning Streek.

I did not expect less coverage on MJ. I expected more coverage on MS.

July 9, 2009 @ 9:15 AM

John Granich

Jeff, yes suicide is a sensitive issue but no one said the Toronto papers have to write an article with a suicide angle to it.

If the papers really wanted to(obviously they didn't want to)they could've written just as much about Martin Streek as they have about Michael Jackson.

I'm not here to argue but I am sick and tired of all these excuses from many print-media people.
Or weren't these "journalists" taught in school there's more than one angle to a story?

The bottom line is, it's lazy journalism and the Toronto papers don't give a damn. If they gave a damn they would've done a much better job writing more in-depth articles about Martin Streek.

The newspaper coverage proves that Toronto's print-media cares more about a Hollywood celebrity than they do about what's going on in their own backyard. What a shame!

July 9, 2009 @ 9:47 AM

mertz

i'll say what i said before, because i haven't checked out the 640, or jeff's write up or the city tv thing (saw the ctv one and it was decent)but what i said before was that it was like THEY DIDN'T LIVE IN THIS CITY...or listen to the radio, go to clubs, go to some of the events/same concerts that martin was at or involved in, or know about their fellow torontonian. toronto is a big city yeah, but here's the real thing that bugs me, it's like the curtesy is not returned to us people. i've lived in this city since i was 6, i've always listened to the edge, and on top of that probably ever toronto radio station that is available on my old '88 radio, i read a lot of news print or magazine articles from the so called toronto media or the media based here, and i watch a lot of tv provided by the so called toronto media...and the thing i've noticed over the years is that sometimes it's like these reporters in the media from news to entertainment to sports, etc...they don't live in this city or they are not connected to this city. infact i follow those in the toronto media a lot because i want to know where and from whom i'm getting my information from, but they can't return that simple curtesy to the rest of us residents. this is why i like blogs from torontonians better because then i can get actual information on the city i live in even if it is from a perspective i don't agree with or a person i don't agree with and then people can chime in with their opinions and suggestions. that's what makes this city work. it's nice to know that there are people who care about their fellow torontonians here...and i can't believe i read some not so well written/sourced pieces about martin streek.

July 10, 2009 @ 2:01 AM

TCN

Globe feature, July 11, by Bill Reynolds:
http://bit.ly/4ssUXr

July 12, 2009 @ 5:00 PM

Sweet Angel

When is the funeral and where?

July 13, 2009 @ 10:23 AM

Toronto Mike

I understand it was a private funeral and it's already happened.

July 13, 2009 @ 11:16 AM

Hmmm

How did he die? Sad but I never actually heard. He seems like he wanted it pretty public with the way he went out. We all have to go sometime. RIP

August 2, 2013 @ 8:05 PM

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