It was a real honour to spend some time with John Cruickshank, the President of Star Media Group and the Publisher of the Toronto Star, the largest newspaper by readership and circulation in Canada. John is in charge of the day-to-day business operations of the Toronto Star as well as content related issues. In regard to content, he makes sure each section is competitive in the saturated Toronto news market and he’ll collaborate with the editor if some content should be in or out of the paper. When he handles the business side he is responsible for reporting the earnings to the public and day-to-day financials. However, his hardest and most important role is to be the inspirational leader of the Toronto Star as the 119-year-old paper makes many changes. In our fast paced society he is learning new things everyday, adjusting the centuries old business model, and basically reinventing the news.
As the inspirational leader, John’s main initiative these days is the digitalization of the news, or as he calls it the “digital flood,” which is reinventing the Toronto Star. They have launched many online media sites such as,,,, and more. With so much change comes great responsibility too. Even though all newspaper publishers have a lot of pressure on them, John explains that today’s pressure is heightened because of all the digital change. John has to learn things quickly as the digital world is new and quickly advancing. 
It isn’t easy to be a publisher. Although John has an unbelievable office, with a beautiful view of lake Ontario and the CN Tower, really comfortable couches, awesome pictures, and a cool desk, he does a lot of work. He’s basically the CEO of a public company, an editor, and the inspirational leader of a huge media empire. 

A Typical Day

There are no typical days for John Cruickshank. Although from day to day he deals with typical issues like managing the staff, reporting how the business is doing, looking at costs and financials, and board meetings, his job is to guide his staff and inspire them everyday day towards his goals.

Top 3 Perks

1) Meet remarkable and interesting men and women

2) Travel 

3) Work with great people and for a great newspaper 

Job Culture

Working under pressure with lots of guidelines, long work days, occasional travel, board meetings, indoors, problem solving, supervising staff, influencing and inspiring staff, developing strategies and goals


- You need a lot of good luck to end up in this position no matter how hard you work 

 - You learn by doing, although I’m sure a business background is helpful

- John came from the newsroom, which is more common these days since issues around content are a larger focus of publishers.

 - In the past, publishers usually came from the advertising or marketing departments 

Skills Needed

Management skills, people skills, technological skills, organized, determination, experience, business skills, problem solving, speaking, time management skills, listening, written comprehension, creativity, leadership skills

The Field

- The readership of newspapers has been declining regardless of technological innovation 

- Technology has changed the basic business model and now it is harder for newspapers to get paid for what they do which makes keeping shareholders happy a difficult task as well