Well, here’s something you don’t see everyday: the recession hitting a website. In this case, the much-lauded Torontoist. I guess when paycheques are involved, things change. Good thing I get, as the French say, Jacques Squatte for maintaining this leaky ship, or I’d be closing the doors, filing for bankruptcy and looking for bailout money. It’s sad to see Torontoist go, though, because in the tradition of the great -ist sites, it’s a valuable resource.
I’ve been the editor of Torontoist for two and a half of the site’s four years, first with Ron Nurwisah (until December 2006), and then with Marc Lostracco (from January to December 2007). During my time here—which has spanned seven thousand articles, thirty-six thousand comments, and ten million hits—I’ve seen Torontoist grow dramatically in number and breadth of readers and contributors. I’ve seen it take a spot in the margins of Toronto’s media, and prove that the relationship between vast media empires and small internet publications need not be a parasitic one where the latter feeds off the former but a symbiotic one where both use—and complement, and need—one another. I’ve seen it twist the “city blog” format into something greater than that, something that saw the quality of content, not its quantity or profitability, as the ultimate end. I’ve seen it lauded, slammed, copied, envied, loved, and overlooked. But most of all, I’ve seen the city and Torontoist change together, day after day, article after article. I am intensely proud of what Torontoist has done and what it has become, and I’m very hopeful for the future of the city that has always been its focus. But in 2009, as Toronto continues to move forward, I’m very sorry to announce that Torontoist will no longer be there to bear witness.
At the end of this month, I will be stepping down as Torontoist’s Editor-in-Chief. I’ve loved everything about this job since I started it, and my decision to leave was not an easy one to make, but it is, ultimately, the right one at the right time for the right reasons. Gothamist has decided, as a result of both my resignation and the recession, to close Torontoist on January 1, 2009 and concentrate on their more lucrative American sites. That decision is the right one, too: as it exists now, Torontoist can barely be sustained, let alone developed, and it has survived and thrived as long as it has, in spite of modest means, largely because of the ceaseless hard work of that aforementioned collective. Torontoist may return at some later date, if conditions are different; until then, it will remain in suspended animation, its content still public and searchable.