Have no fear

News last week that Metroland Media Group was declaring bankruptcy was a gut punch to news industry people across Canada.

To date it is the single largest newspaper failure in Canadian history. 

Seventy-one print-edition community newspaper titles were shuttered in one-fell swoop. Over 600 employees were left without work immediately and others packaged out in previous rounds of cuts will join the creditor list of casualties. 

For transparency sake, this publication stands to lose $11,000 in unpaid invoices for flyer delivery. Countless employees and carriers for the Guelph Mercury Tribune and Erin Advocate are now without work and missing final pay cheques.

Queries from readers and local politicians started Friday evening as national broadcasts and online sources shared the news. We appreciate the concern, but we are fine here and still optimistic about our prospects for the future.

Our personal challenge since that announcement has been conversing with colleagues across the country and closer to home. Buoying spirits, suggesting courses of action and sharing resources has helped many of those friends down in the mouth get through this time. The industry will survive – and we still believe it will thrive.

The track record for Metroland replacing their print products with websites will need to be better this time than previous claims. 

Elmira served as a great example of eliminating the print product and promising an online option. Within days all efforts dried up. For the sake of the communities impacted we hope that past experience isn’t a harbinger of things to come. Communities need news.

Inquiries have been made of remaining publishers about expanding into other markets. Readers and business owners like print – despite the din online about news sites being the future of media. 

Understanding the news-business math as we do, most communities could not sustain an online model of consequence, unless of course the proprietor is happy working for nothing and readers are happy with regurgitated press releases and soft news.

Please accept our hearty thanks for supporting local journalism by advertising and engaging with businesses that believe in strong communities. 

One hand washes the other.