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Toronto Star names its first female editor-in-chief

The Toronto Star went with an inside candidate for editor-in-chief, selecting 48-year-old Irene Gentle, making her the first female editorial boss of the paper in its 126-year history.

From the Toronto Star (“Irene Gentle named Editor of the Toronto Star“):

“I started in communities,” (Gentle) said. “When you’re in communities you do a lot of everything. It didn’t take very long before I was writing a column. I was writing editorials. I was covering city hall.

“I’ve been city editor at two different papers; news editor, business editor at two different papers; assignment editor, which I think is an incredible grounding if you want to really dig into the guts of journalism and newsrooms and people.” …

Gentle, 48, was born in New York state and raised in Brampton, Ont. She joined the Star as business editor in 2011 and was appointed managing editor in 2016.

During that time, she has seen the newsroom traumatized by the loss to suicide of a colleague.

“It was the most painful point” of her career, she said. “I don’t think you ever get over those things.”

She has watched the Star go all-in on a tablet app that was an artistic and journalistic success but a commercial disappointment.

Sandro Contenta, a veteran Star foreign correspondent, said, “Irene has earned respect by showing real leadership when the newsroom was experiencing some very tough times.”

As managing editor, Gentle directed long-term projects and daily news coverage as well as overseeing the restructuring of the digital news operations and launching an editorial trust initiative to address growing public concerns about media credibility. …

John Boynton, publisher of the Star, and president and CEO of Torstar, said Gentle “has a deep understanding and commitment to the values of the Star and to the transformation initiative now underway across our company” as it transitions to a more digital/data/mobile world.

In her new post, Gentle succeeds Michael Cooke, who announced in March he would be retiring in June.

To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that Gentle has taken on, read this Walrus story, Saving the Toronto Star. It does a good job of summarizing the forces that have the paper marching towards a financial cliff.

Thu, June 21 2018 » Main Page, Media