Gentle takes the helm from Michael Cooke, who announced he was leaving the Star in March.
The following memo was sent to Torstar staff on June 21, 2018 from John Boynton, President and CEO, Torstar and Publisher, Toronto Star and Neil Oliver, Executive VP, Torstar and President, Daily News Brands.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Irene Gentle to the position of Editor of the Toronto Star, effective immediately.
Irene is well known and respected throughout Torstar, having worked with distinction as a senior editor at a number of Torstar publications, including the Star, The Hamilton Spectator and several Metroland publications.
She brings a wealth of understanding and experience to this key job, which involves providing overall supervision and guidance to the Star’s award-winning editorial department and overseeing the newsroom’s extensive contributions to our multi-year transformation initiative.
Irene will continue to play a lead role as part of our content strategy stream in the transformation.
Irene is well placed to carry out her new role. She has served as Managing Editor of the Star since June 8, 2016. During that time, she has directed long-term projects and daily editorial news coverage as well as overseeing the restructuring of the digital news operations and launching an internationally-recognized editorial trust initiative to address growing public concerns about media credibility.
She first joined the Toronto Star in 2011 as Business Editor and in 2012 was named Assistant Managing Editor and City Editor.
Before joining the Star, she held a series of progressive roles at The Hamilton Spectator, which she joined in 2005, serving as Assignment Editor, Business Editor, City Editor and finally as News Editor. Prior to The Spectator, Irene was Editor of the Metroland publications Flamborough Post, Flamborough Review, Niagara This Week and West of the City and Niagara Life magazines.
Irene is also a Board Member of the Atkinson Foundation and the National Newspaper Awards.
John Boynton said: “I have worked closely with Irene since I joined the company 15 months ago. She has a deep understanding and commitment to the values of the Star and to the transformation initiative now underway across our company. Also, Irene will be the first woman in the Star’s 126-year history to be named to this important position.”
Irene was only the third woman to be Managing Editor. Mary Deanne Shears was Managing Editor for seven years before leaving the Star at the end of 2004. At that time, the Managing Editor post was the most senior position in the editorial department.
Neil Oliver said: “The Star has a proud history of editorial excellence produced by some of the best journalists in North America. I am confident that not only will Irene maintain that tradition, but working with the team will take the Star to new heights.”
John Honderich, former Star Publisher and current Chair of Torstar, said that “ever since she arrived in the Star newsroom, Irene has made quality journalism and investigative features a priority. Her judgment, natural instinct for the great story and collaborative spirit have won her the tremendous respect of everyone.”
Irene says it is “no secret how deeply I believe in the Star’s journalism and its mission. Leading a newsroom as talented and committed as this one, especially at this time in our industry and as we unleash our transformation, is a great privilege and a responsibility that I take very seriously.”
“What we achieve with our groundbreaking, investigative and change-making journalism is inspiring and exciting. Frankly, it’s also humbling because the work truly matters, making an enormous difference in people’s lives. That’s an honour and responsibility we all share. The future is strong, and there’s no better team than this one to meet it,” she added.
To assist Irene and other senior Torstar editorial managers with our transition to a more digital/data/mobile world, we will also look at bringing on board transformation experts/resources who have a background in customer centric, data-driven newsrooms that support editors and journalists while driving subscriptions.
Please join us in congratulating Irene on her appointment to this key role.