I'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.
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
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
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.
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
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.