36 Local Newspapers Shut Down After Massive Postmedia-Torstar Trade

I can't remember anything like this happening in the past... there was a massive local newspaper trade today between Postmedia and Torstar. 41 papers were involved and 36 of them will be shut down. That means hundreds of people (300+) were dismissed today, as a result.

Here's a list of newspapers being shut down by their new owner:

  1. 24 Hours Toronto
  2. 24 Hours Vancouver
  3. Barrie Examiner
  4. Bradford Times
  5. Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin
  6. Fort Erie Times
  7. Innisfil Examiner
  8. Inport News (Port Colborne)
  9. Niagara Advance
  10. Northumberland Today
  11. Orillia Packet & Times
  12. Pelham News
  13. Thorold Niagara News
  14. Belleville News
  15. Brant News
  16. Central Hastings News
  17. Frontenac Gazette
  18. Kanata Kourier-Standard
  19. Kingston Heritage
  20. Meaford Express
  21. Metro Ottawa
  22. Metro Winnipeg
  23. Nepean/Barrhaven News
  24. Norfolk News
  25. Orleans News
  26. Ottawa East News
  27. Ottawa South News
  28. Ottawa West News
  29. Our London
  30. Quinte West News
  31. St. Lawrence News
  32. St. Mary’s Journal-Argus (and the St. Mary’s Weekender)
  33. St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News
  34. Stittsville News
  35. Stratford City Gazette
  36. West Carleton Review

Here are the papers that were swapped but will remain open:

  1. Exeter Times-Advocate (and the Exeter Weekender)
  2. St. Catharines Standard
  3. Niagara Falls Review
  4. Welland Tribune
  5. Peterborough Examiner

These lists were cobbled together based on press releases and tweets from trustworthy sources like Jaren Kerr. If I got anything wrong, please let me know and I'll update the lists.


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Comments (30 - click here to join in!)

Barry

Holy shit.

Local papers in the big-media era are a shadow of what they used to be -- they're ad packages with a more modest amount of real local news than what there used to be -- but they are still sources of local news. This is going to be huge for some communities. And these aren't the sorts of media outlets that are easily replaced by the internet, either. It's a sad day for a number of small communities and for all the employees who have now been thrown out of work. Merry Christmas.

November 27, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

Justin

Very sad day for local news. I'm mad about 24 Hrs Toronto shuttering (it's far more preferable to Metro), but the real story today is all the community papers being shut down. These papers are oftentimes the only source for local news with no alternative. It's clear that these tiny community operations can't sustain a profit on an ad-driven revenue model and something has to change. Perhaps a move to a grassroots not-for-profit reader-funded model is the answer, or even local government funding. The small-town newspaper shifts from trying to turn a profit to being a subsidized community resource.

November 27, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

m m

This is awful news. The layoffs must be in the many hundreds. But beside the layoffs, the huge question is how will these communities get reliable local news? Internet news is not the same.

November 27, 2017 @ 12:17 PM

Tim

The death of the newspaper is almost complete. Certainly the death of local newspapers has happened. Merry Christmas from Torstar and Postmedia

November 27, 2017 @ 12:31 PM

Mike

I wonder if in the future their is a business opportunity to employ people locally and do a website that covers some of this local news. It is a sad day when kids sports and local issues are not available anymore.

November 27, 2017 @ 1:16 PM

collingwood dave

This is sad news, Collingwood is full of retired GTA folks that rely on the Bulletin for their local info. Many who don't even own a computer. Is this happening immediately, do I have the last copy of the Enterprise Bulletin. I need to know because today is garbage day?. I think I'll hang on to it just in case.

November 27, 2017 @ 1:16 PM

Aidan

Why swap a bunch of newspapers only to shut down the majority of them?

When you have high profile people (like Lance Brown or Joe Tilley) get laid off, its quite shocking. But there are so many people who depend on these newspapers both to get their news and for a living. Grassroots community organizations depend on these local newspapers not only to cover their events but also for advertising. If you want to know whats happening across the street, you read your small local newspaper but if you want to know whats happening across town you turn on the radio or TV. Also in Ottawa, there's no competition when it comes to the newspaper and if I'm not mistaken CTV owns 2 TV stations with CBC owning the other English station though I think they still get the Toronto Global and City stations its quite concerning you have a couple massive corporation reporting the news. But being an independent journalist is also not sustainable either.

November 27, 2017 @ 1:20 PM

Hamish Grant

I figure the reason they traded and then shut down the papers in a cashless deal... is because what they were actually doing is trading write-downs. Basically an accounting trick so they can write off some of the gigantic losses they're having in ad revenues at both companies.

November 27, 2017 @ 1:58 PM

Cambo

The Newspaper owners have been predicting this to happen for a long, long time.

The 'newspaper' industry is dead and you can't completely blame the owners here.

The industry has shifted online. As the focus has gone online (all the same arguments were presented when BlockBuster shut down), local papers are no longer needed.

Would you operate a business where your expenses were higher than your revenue? There's no question revenue's are drying up.

November 27, 2017 @ 2:09 PM

Beatts

We have two local papers in our area and they shut down the better one of the two (Northumberland today) Sad day, but expected. The world has changed.

November 27, 2017 @ 2:11 PM

Cambo

@Hamish

I think your theory is exactly what they did.

November 27, 2017 @ 2:19 PM

mdoucette77

Wow. I really only get my local news from the Barrie Examiner. That makes sense why their website hasn't been updated today.

So where are people supposed to get their local news now? Rogers has cancelled local broadcasting. Local papers have been shut down. Local radio eventually will be all syndicate.

November 27, 2017 @ 4:59 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@mdoucette77

That's precisely the problem. Smaller markets are losing local television, local radio and local newspapers.

The answer is digital, but if there's no money in it, who will step up to deliver the goods?

November 27, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

mdoucette77

true, digital is the answer, but you need a feed to deliver that news. Unless someone independently does that, like you do with media news but local news, then nothing will get covered. It's sad that corporations have taken over and abandoned so much in society, leaving many people unemployed.

November 27, 2017 @ 5:12 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@mdoucette77

Here in Toronto, there are many journalists at city council reporting on what's happening there. In smaller towns, like Barrie, someone needs to do the same to hold council accountable. It's not enough to aggregate when there's no source. Someone needs to be the source.

And that's where you need money. Perhaps a journalist who was doing this for a paper that's been shuttered can start doing it digitally based on a crowdfunding model.

November 27, 2017 @ 5:43 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

One more thought on this, considering papers in Barrie, Innisfil, Orillia, Collingwood and Meaford just got shuttered. Maybe this is the role of our public broadcaster. With proper funding, the CBC could help fill the void with a digital presence in these areas.

November 27, 2017 @ 6:08 PM

Aidan

@ Toronto Mike
Hamilton has a crowded funded independent journalist who exclusively covers city council and committee meetings. Its been suggested council has been more behaved since they've embraced him and learned he's not going away.

But I agree, the whole point of newspapers and other news media isn't to necessarily report on crime or car accidents. Its also to hold people in power accountable and to ask tough questions. Will Barrie media now be covering city council? Will concerned citizens have anybody to call when City Hall gives them the cold shoulder?

November 27, 2017 @ 6:10 PM

Blind Dave

I'm from Orillia. I haven't lived there in 30 years but I still have family and my best friend there. The closing of the Orillia Packet & Times saddens me. Lots of great childhood memories from that newspaper.

November 27, 2017 @ 7:45 PM

Rick C in Oakville

As most businesses have found out, the digital side of advertising pays peanuts compared to what they could make in print, so the transition just wasn't going to happen with this revenue stream.
The globalists are winning, with the content of everything for free internet culture. Music, Movies, Ads and of course News. Maybe Kijjiji which has killed this ad revenue could possibly fund some of this. Funny they seem to fly under the radar compared to the other Internet Titans and their corporate financials.
I still subscribe for home delivery of the Star, Globe and the Sunday Sun( which my carrier gives me M-F for free as she has surplus.) All in this costs me about $60 a month, I just prefer handling a paper compared to the web versions (except the Globe 2 go with Press reader, it is basically flipping the pages of the actual paper ads and all).

Another sad day for journalism, and in depth reporting.

November 27, 2017 @ 9:30 PM

WCI

With all due respect to those who lost their jobs

Sorry, I thought "local" was the answer to the impending doom in media? The key to survival in radio and media was to be local. This is absolute proof it's not. Not unless you're a micro outlet with a strict focus.

@TM.

CBC is the answer to all things local. But even it has a shelf life. Print media (and radio) is going to end in the future. What will be left is micro stations and the massive CHFI type of stuff.

FYI, to all you media types. Local is more than reporting on being local. It's being local. It's walking the streets. It's living there. It's riding the bus. It's all things "your town". If you imagine some master with an ivory tower in Toronto understands that, you're fucked. Those masters can't even understand major markets in radio i nthe west.

November 27, 2017 @ 10:35 PM

The Voice of Reason

@Mike

The CBC is NOT the answer. Their budget is huge, I have been in their newsroom and it literally has 5 times the staff of the CTV newsroom.

The issue is that people are cheap. We do not want to spend money to purchase content but will consume it if it was free. Does anyone recall the old Globe and Mail Newspaper boxes in the 1980's that was paid on the honour system? Those boxes were a prelude to what we are experiencing today.
It is essentially history repeating itself. In the 1920's when Radio was growing, record sales decreased by 80%. Again people want free content.
As for Radio in the west, The markets are all deemed mid level markets at best. The talent is traditionally young graduates or failed big city talent at a discount.

November 28, 2017 @ 9:22 AM

Dr. Seymour Light

I live in Burlington, and for local city hall/council activities I rely on information from my local councilor who is excellent at supplying ongoing city developments and city issues debated in council meetings. The information includes all public hearings on all issues being debated, and detailed instructions on how to register to speak at these meetings. Works for me. We also have a local paper that is a foot thick with advertising.

November 28, 2017 @ 9:42 AM

WCI

@VoR

People are free to spend their money on what they want. If people see no value in something, then it's up to the business to create value in it. At one time I was a faithful newspaper reader. Today I would not spend a single penny on the medium. Whether it's the Star or the Sun, it's nothing but political conjecture. Of late journalists seem to be pulling out the "be outrageous" card as a means to draw in readers.

Print media failed to adapt because it's run by vision-less "old white man". They imagine I'm going to pay for their inferior product and put up a paywall. Sorry. Further, these newspapers are forever attacking the government, etc about their poor financial situation yet they're bleeding red ink.

And these local papers aren't local. I spent a whole bunch of time in the mountains in small towns. Local radio was simulcast. Local print media was just copied and pasted. But I did see local media and radio that worked but it was all really local. Big media is like some types of beer that are made with "glacier water" only they're not brewed anywhere near a fucking glacier.

As for your hate on the CBC, it's really just because you don't like their political slant. Another case of old whiteman-itis. Hopefully we'll find a cure for that and eradicate it.

November 28, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

The Voice of Reason

@Irv

I could care less about the CBC's political slant. Most MSM is slanted toward the left. Most buy what the MSM sells. (That is how Trudeau won).
The CBC is a financial drain on taxpayers period. If we all fell for their projection on what Canadian culture vision is, we would all have Newfie accents.
I have spent time in many Canadian cities and spoken to all types, most feel that the CBC is a waste of money period.
Irv, why do you always bring racism in when you have exhausted your knowledge on a topic?

November 28, 2017 @ 12:53 PM

Sid_V

This is horrible news for the staff affected, and for their communities. Without a local news presence, the community loses its identity (or ability to shape its identity). This especially goes for communities close to larger centres like Toronto - they become bedroom destinations without any advocate for their independent voice.

CBC has moved into some smaller centres (London, Kitchener, etc.) and very effectively scaled themselves down and become plugged into the local scenes. However, they are not going to replace a small weekly newspaper in Meaford or Thorold. Local radio might, except it is going the same way as the newspapers with declining local content and lower ad revenue to pay for resident talent.

I would be very interested to hear the opinion of someone like Dave Bidini, who has just started up a small local west-end newspaper using the new model for music, art and apparently media - crowd-funding and reasonable subscription costs in lieu of chasing big-ticket advertising/distribution contracts and investors. He has already posted about this on his twitter feed @hockeyesque .

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/05/30/dave-bidini-of-rheostatics-to-launch-west-end-newspaper-in-toronto.html

November 28, 2017 @ 3:24 PM


Daniel

@Hamish Grant

I suspect you're correct, when you have a sale of assets you can associate re-org costs (aka firing people) into the sale of your assets and keep it below your operating income and into your discontinued Ops.

The fact is, the longer people get something for free (news on the internet), the harder it is to get them to pay for it. Also in a world of kardashian sensationalism, local council issues aren't important to enough people. Who prince harry is marrying is much more important to the sheeple than how local council is spending their money.

that being said, if nobody is financially supporting local media, why is it the burden of the taxpayers to keep it alive (CBC)? Should we also support the local blacksmith? maybe the Stevedores union? Or maybe coal miners in west virginia?

Businesses grow and businesses die. they have a life cycle, just like everything else.

November 29, 2017 @ 8:24 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

It just so happened I had The Toronto Star's Ed Keenan booked on the podcast yesterday, and we talked about these closures, as well as the related demise of alt-weeklies: http://www.torontomike.com/2017/11/toronto_miked_podcast_episode_287.html

November 29, 2017 @ 8:26 AM

claire

Wow..............how sad! All those people out of a job, just before Christmas, REALLY?
I will not read anything you will have in the future! Miss 24hrs Toronto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Merry Christmas...SCROOGE!

November 30, 2017 @ 3:23 PM

Dusty

@Rick C, it sure is 'another sad day for journalism, and in depth reporting'-most of the internet only 'news' pages are shit and full of clickbait run by young and (IMHO) inexperienced 'journalists' that talk a lot of shit, case in point, this article about the mega-event Supergirl/The Flash/Arrow/Legends of Tomorrow episode that happened recently which didn't even figure out what an alternate universe is:

Dear DCTV, Why Did it Have to be Nazis?

But it goes even further than that; most of the recent scandals being revealed sound to me less like something that needs to be revealed and more like clickbait set up by people who have no idea of what 'trust, but verify' means (or its alien variant 'Hear all, trust nothing'.) This kind of this, and the closing down of small newspapers, is doing nobody any good.

December 9, 2017 @ 3:57 PM

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