Newsroom romances are as old as, er, newsrooms. Hacks work long hours, share work stress, travel together, piss up together, and horizontal jogging is bound to ensue.
And nowhere more than at the Toronto Star. The nation’s largest pifflesheet may be a perennial loser at the NNAs, but in the legover competition, One Yonge always comes first.
In the eighties, Starfucker management was notorious for workplace affairs. Senior male predators (editors, shurely?!—ed.) recruited dewy-eyed interns and guided their eager beavers on how to climb a pole.
By the early 2000s the Star had half a dozen newsroom affairs–that Frank knows of–going simultaneously. Tanya Talaga and the late David Ellis, Fred Kuntz and Paula Todd, Alan Marshall, Joe Hall, another editor, with some sweet young thang, Lou Clancy, senior stickman, with everything that moved, and on and on.
Fast forward to 2016. Newsroom hanky spanky is alive and well, with a female reporter on the environment beat in flagrante with a much-married senior editor.
Alas, their affair ends badly when the journo discovers that her boyfriend has been stepping out on her and shtupping, of all people, their boss, one of the highest-ranking editors at the paper.
Overwhelmed with grief by the betrayal, she becomes increasingly depressed and last month, in despair and unable to cope with the emotional pain, she commits suicide.
Naturally, her death has caused great angst in the Star newsroom, although management tried to keep a lid on the scandal by not publishing her obituary.
That’s a departure from the Star’s treatment of Ken Adachi. The paper’s literary critic killed himself in 1989, following accusations of plagiarism. The next day, then-editor John Honderich wrote a eulogy marking the tragedy.
This time, however, friends and Star colleagues are left to parse the poor reporter’s Twitter account:
“What a shitty, shitty year already,” she wrote Feb. 6.
Her final tweet came on May 13: “‘Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe fuck yourself.’ Mark Wahlberg in The Departed. Could easily apply to others, & much more.”