Suicide at The Star

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 MarshallJoe 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.”



  1. Just a note to remind you that this is an actual person with people who care about her who are, unfortunately, the only ones left to read your story.

    Think hard about how you would feel if this was your loved one or colleague. Really think. By all means, cover the news, have an opinion. It is your right. But it’s also your responsibility.

    I hope your treatment of someone who was suffering and the unnecessary way you just inflicted pain on more people who are equally suffering haunts you.

    I truly hope you never find yourself in this position. And if you do, I hope someone doesn’t stoop this low and inflict more pain for the sake of salacious copy.

    While we’re at it, your misogyny is showing. It is 2016 after all. You may want to get that checked.

    Melinda Dalton

    • Did we even read the same piece who ever you are?
      Your hectoring, media-lecture, out-of-context, suicide dissertation notwithstanding; as a long-time Frank reader (Muldoon’s Passim Circa 1990), I can assure you that Frank is, and always has been, an equal opportunity sex-offender!

    • … and your tome reads like a TorStar braünnose even by Frankian standards!

  2. Ms. Dalton, my mother committed suicide. Was it hard on her family and friends? You bet. Was I offended by this article? No.

    I too am a long time reader going back to the Muldoon days. Have I ever been offended by a Frank article? Many times. But I keep subscribing because it is often a very funny read and I delight in seeing the pretentious and corrupt exposed. Read Frank at your peril. You’re dreaming if you think the attitude will ever soften and that’s a good thing.

  3. ^ Probably one of the best music videos ever made both artistically and photographically. Written as a message of hope for teens waaaay before the days of Facecrack and Twidiocy and viral ‘It Gets Better’ and ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ mental health window-dressing.

    Ms. Dalton, like many others who increasingly only view the world from a mirror-lense, think Frank is a gratuitous rag. Reminds me of a great BBCNews piece by satirist Will Self; it ran after the Charlie Hebdo incident in Paris in 2015:

    “I’ve always believed – or at least believed I believed – in the moral purpose of satire. Indeed, I remember an essay title from school: “The aim of satire should always be the moral reform of society – discuss,” and just how eager I was to discuss it. My personal yardstick for whether or not something qualifies to be satire at all is thus an adaptation of a classic definition of what constitutes good journalism – such an enterprise, it was written, should “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. Whenever I’m presented with a cartoon, a piece of writing or a comic shtick purporting to be satiric I always interrogate it along these lines: Who does it afflict, and who does it comfort? If in either case the work is mis-targeted – so afflicting the already afflicted, or comforting those already well-upholstered – it fails the test, and will need to be re-classified, usually as merely offensive, or egregiously offensive. It can be objected that such a narrow classification of satire leaves little wiggle room for modes of discourse that, by transgressing the boundaries of what’s acceptable draw our attention to the very contingent and culturally-specific character of much of what we deem to be ethical.”


  4. Suicide IS a devastating thing. This is about the actions of the STAR and its gang’s tacky reaction to a tragic death. Apparently, some readers missed the point.

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