Change in Media landscape


Greetings from the cloudy Caribbean Sea.

Lots going on.

The CBC is apparently going to eliminate over 650 jobs over the next two years as the impact of losing any financial benefit of hockey night in Canada sets in. Safe bet that the CBC is out of the sports business.

Some minor confusion yesterday as the Toronto Star lost two, count em two, long time staffers. Both Damien Cox and Cathal Kelly have decided to move on from Rosie’s paper.

Many of you emailed or dm’d me that both are headed to the globe and mail. Well that’s partially true. Kelly is in fact going to be the main sports writer for the globe and mail as he replaces Jeff Blair a the last real national writer the paper had in the sports world.

“All the cliches are true. I’m saddened to say goodbye to a family I’ve shared for 14 years, and thrilled to join the new one.”

That was Kelly’s tweet to the world yesterday.

Cox is not jumping ship to the competition as Kelly is. Damien is becoming a full time Rogers man. While continuing to appear on PTS he will be focused on the new Sportsnet NHL package, in addition to some other things from time to time.

Cox appeared to be melancholy about leaving the toronto star when reached last night:

“I’ve been there for 29 years. It’s the only place I’ve ever known and in many ways it just breaks my heart to leave. They’ve been wonderful to me in so many ways, both professional and personal.”

The Star, like the globe is undergoing a large change in those who cover sports. Many of their prominent big writers have now moved on. Rogers meanwhile has built up an impressive roster of writers who used to cover the game on a daily basis.

If there were some imagination there they could lead the future of how we read about sports in the years to come, it can’t be a about radio and tv can it??? No, I’m not ignoring the interweb. I’m just wondering what the future looks like in the sports news consumption world. I don’t believe we’ve seen it yet.

Perhaps the sea air has gotten to my brain…..

More to come as we learn more about changes with the toronto maple leafs and Brendan Shanahan.


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April 11, 2014 9:06 am

If only the hockey deal meant Cox leaving PTS.

April 11, 2014 9:44 am

Jonah, as a reader of your blog, I’d sincerely wish and would appreciate if you took a little time to polish up your writing.

April 11, 2014 10:05 am

Cox isn’t much of a writer so it makes sense to give that up.

Lets hope the slashing and burning continues at the CBC. The less taxpayers pay to fund that waste of space, the better.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
April 11, 2014 10:16 am

Convergence isn’t necessarily a beautiful thing.

I feel that Cox, while not always popular, is a much better considered writer than he is a broadcaster. I don’t always agree with what he says, nor how he says it sometimes, but at least it gives you a different approach, or makes you think a bit.

I feel that we lost a great columnist when Brunt went to Sportsnet full time.
He seems to be lost in broadcasting black hole – pops out every now and then, but the context and the deep thoughts are gone.

Change is inevitable, but it is not always better.

mike (in boston)
April 11, 2014 11:18 am

I’m with Steve. Setting aside the merits of Cox as a writer, the larger issue is with journalists leaving large journalistically credible institutions for smaller corporate ones. The fact is that Brunt the writer is dead and gone and has been replaced by something very different. That’s very sad.

April 11, 2014 11:44 am

Cox: A terrible writer and broadcaster.

With this move, his writing will disappear from the public light just like Brunt’s has, and thankfully I don’t watch enough of Sportsnet to ever see him onscreen.

Raptors Devotee
April 11, 2014 11:51 am

Picking up on Steve and mike (in boston) it is almost like the dummying down and taking the creative flair of the writers away from their core strength in order to appeal to a wider audience.

Cox is a simplistic writer with a limited vocabulary, but one who does bring out usually a few basic truths within his articles that at least make them palatable for me. On the broadcast side of the ledger, he is completely annoying to me, and I avoid him.

For Brunt, it is just plain sad, that economic necessity has forced him to play the current role he does, which on the basis that he gets to call his own shots for the most part of what he covers probably fine for him, but for the readers where his reputation was built on from the G&M, we are left wanting.

The media landscape has changed so dramatically, and there are many more changes to come, all accelerated by Rogers and their huge NHL move, that roles will be continually evolving.

I just find that my attention span has been forever altered, mainly due to Twitter and its 140 characters, that we have all collectively been dummied down, and it is not just limited to writers.

You can’t ignore the medium and put your head in the sand either, as there are few exceptions allowed. One that comes to mind is Jack Armstrong, longtime colour commentator for Raptors broadcasts. He has been strongly encouraged to tweet, but refuses to do so, although he does put out some periodic blogs on Sportsnet. He has and always will be a gametime broadcaster, and has enough of a loyal following that he can get away with it, bit not all can.

April 11, 2014 12:06 pm

All the media going to Sportsnet is not a good thing. It’s not real, unbiased coverage once they go there.

Interestingly the knock on blogs used to be how these people don’t have insider access. But actually what’s happened is you need blogs to feel like you’re getting an unfiltered opinion.

April 11, 2014 2:40 pm


Relatively speaking, Canada doesn’t spend much on their public broadcaster:

I think there’s value in having a strong public broadcaster, particularly when you’re neighbours to a behemoth to the south. (Having said that, while I think CBC Radio 1 is great… but the programming decisions made on the TV side are generally terrible. Bland TV.)

April 11, 2014 3:35 pm

Well said, Daniel. I couldn’t have put it better. Whatever happens to the CBC, I hope that Radio 1 remains as strong and relevant as it is now (and commercial free).

And I agree with the others regarding the disappointing conglomeration of former journalists under the Rogers’ umbrella (I know Kelly is property of Bell now). Someone should hold a wake for the late Stephen Brunt. I’m afraid that the only outlets for truly independent sports journalism are now blogs. Grantland is a good one, but if there are any good Canadian-based ones, please let me know!

Steverino F
Steverino F
April 11, 2014 4:48 pm

Columnists need to write regularly. Whatever Brunt is being paid at Rogers is too much as he’s become a complete non-factor. Aside from irrelevant appearances on radio, he’s nowhere to be found. Cox will be allowed to do the same.

April 11, 2014 10:28 pm

Sportsnet does under-utliize Brunt it seems. Even if he was the everyday PTS cohost, that would have partly made up for the loss of his writing in the Globe.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
April 12, 2014 3:40 am

Woke up from a nap Friday afternoon in a warm 7-UP sweat.
Realizing I just had a horrible Daymere !!
Robbers announcing that Cox is the new PERMANENT co-host of PTS and the Friday roundtable will be expanded to three days a week with permanent guests cox,shannon and kirke.
Luckily there were no sharp objects or poison within arms length.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
April 12, 2014 8:45 pm

Jason DeVos is excellent on soccer panels and as a writer on, but he’s pretty lousy as a colour commentator for Toronto FC games. Maybe he’ll achieve some chemistry with Luke Wileman as the season progresses.

On the ESPN website they already have been writing articles and have a lot of other information on the Brazil World Cup. Nothing comparable on Sportsnet. While I’m not convinced of Brunt’s worth on a daily show on an all sports station, with his literary intelligence and sympathy for different cultures he should produce some good work on the World Cup. I don’t mean on a breakdown of the actual games, but on everything surrounding them in the host cities.

Ami Angelwings
April 13, 2014 4:04 am

It’s interesting how Cox turned down the TSN radio job when it was offered to him (they hired Bruce Arthur instead soon after) because they wanted him to work full time for TSN and didn’t want him to continue working for The Star, and now he’s going to work full time for Sportsnet and leave The Star. Did he change his mind, does he prefer Sportsnet to TSN, or would he prefer to stay but The Star couldn’t afford to keep him?

I was hoping he’d go to TSN when I first heard they wanted him, because it meant I would never hear him on PTS again, and I was hoping Bruce Arthur would take his spot, so I was disappointed when he turned them down and they snapped up Arthur.

April 13, 2014 9:52 am

Sad to see another long-time print journalist essentially abandoning his print career to become a broadcaster. I know folks here weren’t huge fans of Cox, but at least he had an opinion in print. Wtih him and Kelly gone, the Star’s sports coverage will be reduced to regurgitated Canadian Press filings and the godawful Rosie Dimanno. Might as well turn out the lights and lock the doors.
I know this is all part of adapting to the changing landscape, but we’re losing something here. As others have pointed out, since his departure from the Globe, Brunt has become a ghostly presence, with occasional appearances on PTS and articles in the Sportsnet mag that no one reads. An unfortunate turn of events for a guy who was one of the top sports writers in this country. Seems like Cox will go the same route. Seems to me that the more guys Rogers adds, the less impactful they become. You can see it on their trade deadline show: a studio filled with talking heads, shouting over each other, with none of them having any real impact.

As for CBC, the demise of HNIC hs obviously had a huge impact on their budget. But CBC were the architects of their own troubles. HNIC has been a tired anachronism for years, too much of the Maclean/Cherry sideshow, and way too many second-rate talents like PJ Stock. The head honchos at CBC can point the fingers at the Harper gov’t all they want, but HNIC was in desparate need of a reboot ten years ago. Instead, they kept relying on an 80 year old bigot and his long-winded sidekick. Enough already.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
April 13, 2014 10:03 am

@ Ron Very,very well said.

April 15, 2014 9:29 am

Eventually one of the print to tv writers is likely to get fired because it’s easier to measure ratings in TV than print. You can go along being a mediocre writer forever without that newspaper having any way (that I know of) to quantify readership versus TV where it’s very easy to that. When that happens, there is unlikely to be a print job to go back to. Outside of Brunt, I don’t think any of the writers would be in high(any?) demand as authors/columnists.

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