Canada's slow-motion journalistic train wreck continued yesterday with the announcement by Postmedia it is shutting down six more community papers in Canada, four in Ontario and two here in Alberta.
At the risk of mixing metaphors, this feels like being nibbled to death by ducks … it's painful, and it's slow.
It should have been obvious when big newspaper corporations with no heart and no interest in community started buying up small-town papers like the Camrose Canadian and the Strathmore Standard that the end of local journalism was in sight.
Postmedia's internal announcement yesterday had the quality of a Beaverton spoof. Seriously, the Toronto newspaper company, significantly owned by U.S. vulture capitalists, told its remaining frightened workers that "if we intend to survive and create a new model for the new reality, then we must continue to take the necessary steps to focus on areas where we can win and make the tough, yet decisive, decisions about where to make these changes." That kind of thing would have elicited guffaws were it not for the whistle off the falling axe.
"The traditional revenue balloon continues to deflate at a much faster rate than we can inflate the digital revenue balloon," Postmedia's statement added, rather breathlessly, and presumably not with the assistance of anyone who had ever written news stories for a living.
With the demise of the two Alberta papers, 33 small Postmedia newspapers remain in Alberta communities where the corporation's formula is unlikely to ever win again, so this could take a while yet.
The Camrose Canadian was 110 years old. The Strathmore Standard had been serving its community for 109 years. And that, as we used to say in the newspaper business, is … -30-
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