Torstar Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback
Torstar Corporation is a Canadian media conglomerate. The company is primarily a publisher of daily and community newspapers, including its flagship and namesake, the Toronto Star. On May 26, 2020, Torstar announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by NordStar Capital LP, a private investment firm consisting of Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett, for 63 cents per share. The agreement was pending shareholder approval, with a shareholder vote scheduled for July 21, 2020. On July 9, the Globe and Mail reported news of a competing bid being established by Canadian Modern Media Holdings Inc., a group led by technology entrepreneurs Matthew Proud and Tyler Proud, as well as investment banker Neil Selfe, for 72 cents per share. The NordStar bid was subsequently increased to 74 cents, with major shareholder Fairfax Financial and the family Voting Trust agreeing to lock-up their shares in support of the bid, even if another proposal was subsequently submitted, effectively ending the bidding war. On July 20, Canadian Modern Media Holdings Inc. formally submitted an offer for 80 cents per share, which Torstar's board deemed "unworkable," in light of the fact that the voting trust and major shareholder Fairfax Financial had already committed to supporting NordStar’s offer. The vast majority of shareholders voted to accept the Nordstar offer and on July 31, a Court dismissed the objection against the plan. On August 5, the transaction closed, and NordStar officially acquired Torstar.
Former Employee - Business Development says"No vision, No planning, No Loyalty - old guard protecting their legacy and huge paychecks"
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee says"There is no vision or overall strategy that guides the business, Senior executives hide their incompetence with frantic activity - you will start working on one idea on Monday and completely pivot to something different on Wednesday, resulting in a lot of wasted work and consistently rushed and error-filled execution. More credit is given for quickly coming up and poorly executing 10 half baked ideas than for doing meaningful analysis and focusing on 1-2 impactful projects. Quantity trumps quality at every stage. A paternalistic 1950s management style prevails throughout the organization - you will be pulled in to work overtime on last minute projects that you didn't know existed, but you will be looked down on if you have to work from home. Multiple people are often assigned the same task, resulting in a lot of confusion and infighting. Micro-management is the name of the game, so you never develop a sense of ownership over your work. Due to the increasingly poor financial results everyone is in constant panic mode - every idea is pitched as the magic bullet that will save the company and when it inevitably doesn't, it is tossed aside (even if it is good) in the search for the next hail mary pass. The worst part is the arrogance. There is a blueprint for creating a successful digital model in the journalism industry, which the senior management team is systematically ignoring because it stubbornly believes in its own brilliance, despite all evidence to the contrary. The result of all this is a toxic and depressing environment – only take a role here if you need a survival job to pay the bills. Even then, don't plan on staying for longer than a few months."
Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer says"Gloomy year 1970 office. Once you are in the development side of teams, you might feel that building should be demolished immediately. You will feel depressed after entering the building almost instantaneously. No cafeteria/pantry. No coffee machines. Dirty and smelly desks and chairs. Stinky toilets. Pathetic management. No idea how to run a software company. It's basically a media house having no clue about how a software company looks like. Shoestring budget. Stingy way of doing things. Micromanagement at it's best. This company is not for developers and architects. Don't think this is your regular software team and have usual way of working. One week sprints anyone? You are expected to deliver in one week and then demo along with bug fixes. Tons of useless meetings where they have no idea what they are talking about. Might be good for journalists - not sure as I had a different profile. HR is no where to be seen. Long long hierarchy. Managers have done management never before. And funnily, they accept it. Shift work mindset. Your hours will be clocked and even 5 mins is a real deal breaker. Was my worst decision ever to join this company. I won't recommend any technical guy to join this gig but if you are a reporter/journalist, it might be your dream company."
says"Leadership: just awful. You get surprised everyday at how low human beings can become. It almost doesn’t seem real and the stuff you see happen, you can’t even think of. Culture: Ruthless. A few executives will literally do anything to save themselves. There is an evident lack of trust right from the top. Employee morale is very low. Work/day to day: The only constant is change. Execs and leadership have no strategy or what they consider strategy is throwing as much things on paper and checking boxes to say it’s been accomplished, no matter the ROI, quantity trumps quality everyday of the week. Amenities: I’d say 1/4 of the rooms/work stations don’t have functioning lights. There are mice running around the office, mice droppings are very common - including on your desk. Overall extremely outdated."
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee says"Morale across the company (local newsrooms, one Yonge, centralized pagination) is horrible. Everyone is waiting for the end, which is inevitable and fast approaching. With continued downsizing and cost-cutting, everyone is doing way more duties each year, which no increase in compensation. With more work and tasks added on, work quality suffers, leading to worse results for the company, leading to more downsizing. Upper management expects results, yet refuses to invest and train their employees. The vision for the editorial departments across the company is flawed: local community papers are expected to be "hyperlocal" and provide local information, but other online startups do it 10x better, with more traffic and better content (blogTO, InSauga, local Hamilton blogs, etc). Journalists are still stuck in their print ways, so the digital and social strategies are non-existent, and are never executed. Each site is behind a wall, and users must register on some sites, and pay on others (this isn't communicated very well to users). Users are not registering, and users are not paying. One strategy for every publication will never work: what works in Muskoka will not work in Niagara, and Ottawa is completely different than Cambridge. The only two departments growing, and consistently busy (ie overworked) are Data and Product. In one office, 1-2 people quit a week for roughly 3 months for a number of different departments: employees that were great at their jobs, with brand and business continuity; employees who could help with the business transformation and take a leadership role; employees with great ideas; employees who had been with the company for a long period of time. What does that say about the strength of your brand, and the way your employees see the company?"
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee says"Disorganized. Misrepresented work during interview. Terrible mismanagement. Too many middle management."
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee says"VEry incompetent HR team. A bit of a glass ceiling especially with ethnic groups. Very cheap on employee development and too many politics. It's all about faking and kissing up."
says"No respect, HR team were all idiots."
IT Manager says"Leadership lack of vision , strategy and planning, Micro Management. Dishing out orders, policies, rules, goals, targets, reports, visions and changes to force employees to work the way management believes it should be done. Us versus them mentality—“Why aren’t they performing better?”— “What’s wrong with that person? Why don’t they know their job? They should know their job.*. Moreover IT Leadership focus is on technology and not on processes and best practices that can improve service delivery."
says"dealing with unions, dealing with the old concepts of 'boys club', negative feedback, stubborn staff who aren't willing to try something new."
Multimedia Marketing Consultant (Former Employee) says"Ever worked at a place where there are more managers than sales reps? That's Torstar. They lie to their clients and shareholders. There's no support for the after-sale problems (mainly in the fact that they don't deliver the newspapers or flyers in 50% of the places they tell their clients that they do). And don't ever speak your mind, or suggest a new way of doing things - because that's a certain way to get an offer to relocate to a different department (that pays much less) or fired. One of the worst jobs I ever had, glad I left when I did - because apparently, it got far worse after Aug 2018. Cons: pay is terrible, products are outdated, management are closed-minded dinosaurs"
Support Centre Representative (Former Employee) says"They are great at keeping you on contracts and dangling the carrot of a full time job. Staff tends to be lazy depending on the years worked there. Did not enjoy."
Director, Digital Delivery (Current Employee) says"Torstar is in a transformation journey that is redefining its culture, people and ultimately its core business as it moves from print to digital. There is a lot of opportunity to redefine the industry but it suffers from an executive team that over-manages and struggles to execute on strategy."
DIRECTOR (Former Employee) says"Struggling to navigate in the ever changing world of Media. Unfocused plan with many about-turns and dead ends. Much time wasted on projects that ultimately are not implemented correctly."
Group I.T. (Current Employee) says"The office is close to home. My work hours are flexible. My manager clearly articulates goals project time lines. My manager allows his team members to work independently, and doesn't interfere / doesn't look over your shoulder, as long as the work gets done, on time, and if there are no complaints."
HELP DESK/ SYSTEMS ANALYST (Former Employee) says"Downtown job on Yonge Street just south of the Gardiner Expressway. Close to Union Station, Subway and Go Transit, Lots of IT work. Limited opportunities to develop software expertise."