Published On: Thu, Jun 21st, 2018

Irene Gentle named Editor of the Toronto Star

Irene Gentle has been named Editor of the Toronto Star, the first woman to hold this position in the publication’s 126-year history.

Gentle, 48, joined the Star in 2011 as business editor and had been managing editor since June 8, 2016. She has also been assistant managing editor and city editor at the Star.

Irene Gentle has been named Editor of the Toronto Star. She joined the Star from the Hamilton Spectator in 2011.
Irene Gentle has been named Editor of the Toronto Star. She joined the Star from the Hamilton Spectator in 2011.  (Richard Lautens / Toronto Star)

“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,” Gentle said in a statement.

Gentle said it’s no secret how deeply she believes in the Star’s journalism and its mission.

“What we achieve with our groundbreaking, investigative and change-making journalism is inspiring and exciting,” Gentle said. “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.”

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Gentle will supervise and guide the Star’s award-winning editorial department and oversee the newsroom’s extensive contributions to the publication’s multi-year transformation initiative.

“I have worked closely with Irene since I joined the company 15 months ago,” Torstar publisher and CEO John Boynton said in a statement.

“She has a deep understanding and commitment to the values of the Star and to the transformation initiative now underway across our company.”

Gentle was the third female managing editor at the Star.

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.

“The Star has a proud history of editorial excellence produced by some of the best journalists in North America,” said Neil Oliver, Torstar executive vice-president and president of community brands and operations.

“I am confident that not only will Irene maintain that tradition, but working with the team will take the Star to new heights.”

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Gentle oversaw the restructuring of the digital news operations and launch of an internationally recognized editorial trust initiative to address growing public concerns about media credibility.

Gentle has worked as a senior editor at a number of other Torstar publications, including the Hamilton Spectator and several Metroland publications.

John Honderich, former Star publisher and current Torstar chair, said Gentle has made quality journalism and investigative features a priority ever since she arrived in the Star newsroom.

“Her judgment, natural instinct for the great story and collaborative spirit have won her the tremendous respect of everyone,” Honderich said.

She replaces Michael Cooke, who in March announced he is retiring after nine years as Editor.

Gentle is also a board member of the Atkinson Foundation and the National Newspaper Awards.

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Irene Gentle named Editor of the Toronto Star