A project of the Toronto Media Co-op, The Spoke is a newsletter that focuses on political issues on a municipal level in the Toronto area. Issue 14 was published just a few days before the Toronto municipal election and every paragraph, line and word of the paper was related to the election in one way or another.
The articles are both interesting and informative, going over many relevant topics such as which corporations donated over $3,000 in lobbying money in the 2006 municipal elections. Another article shed some light on a group of left-leaning youths, exploring their thoughts about being involved in politics, as they campaigned for one of the mayoral candidates.
In addition to being interesting and informative, The Spoke is also clearly biased towards the left. In the front-page article outlining the three main mayoral candidates, the right-wing Rob Ford is singled out with negative comments on his personality, character and effectiveness as city councillor. Meanwhile, no such treatment is given to the other candidate who also served as city councillors. In regards to the other mayoral candidates, the article outlines and lists who their supporters are and who has worked with them in the past. Rob Ford, on the other hand, is negatively singled out by a reference to an editorial article printed in another newspaper, clearly showing this newsletter’s bias and aim to turn voters away from Ford.
Some better typesetting and use of image-space could give the newsletter a better visual appeal, but my guess is the creators of The Spoke are less inclined towards attracting new readership than pandering to their target demographic. (Terry Harjanto)
Zine/Newsletter, #14, toronto.mediacoop.ca