The front page of today’s Toronto Star is a fairly typical one: the Star leads with a major municipal story and surrounds it with smaller stories from provincial and federal politics. One of these stories is labeled “Star Investigation”; another, “Star Gets Action”; and, of course, “Star Exclusive.”

As the RRJ wrote in 2010, these brag-tags have spiked in frequency under editor-in-chief Michael Cooke, and have been a hallmark of the paper’s coverage of Rob Ford’s mayoralty (Tom Scocca of Deadspin was unimpressed when the paper labeled its first “crack video” story an exclusive).

Cooke didn’t invent the label, nor is the Star the only one to use it, but the paper has a long history of promoting its stories on A1.

Yesterday marked the 55th anniversary of the last of Springhill, Nova Scotia’s mining disasters. From the beginning of the disaster, the Star covered it like gangbusters: on Saturday, October 24th, there was coverage of the tragedy on pages 1-3 and 8-11, inclusive. This was the front page (click for a larger version):

While not an exclusive (Canadian Press, CBC and, presumably, local media in Nova Scotia also had the story), the Star still felt it necessary to note that Robert MacDonald was “the only Toronto newspaper man on the scene of the Springhill mine disaster” and that he “knows the mines and the men who work in them well.” That was not to say that the other Toronto papers couldn’t cover the story; The Globe and Mail’s front page that day included three stories on Springhill: one from the wires, one from Toronto (about two locals who had relatives in the mine) and one from John Golding in Halifax.

Under the headline (“Disaster may doom town”) and the byline, Golding’s story was slugged, “Special to The Globe and Mail.”

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Images courtesy the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail archives.