Canadian newspapers might be in decline, but they are still the largest source of journalism in this country.
How Ottawa should spend its $50 million to support local news - APRIL LINDGREN | The Conversation [~] There’s $50 million in federal government money on the table in Canada to support local journalism in the country’s under-served communities over the next five years. What’s the best way to spend it? Last month’s federal budget announcement is an acknowledgement that access to reliable, timely, relevant local news is a growing problem. Data from The Local News Map, a crowd-sourced tool that tracks changes to local media, shows that 244 local news outlets of all types have closed in 181 Canadian communities since 2008. Over the same period, only 75 new operations were launched. We are starting to hear about the consequences of what I call “local news poverty” — situations where the critical information needs of communities are not being met. When Postmedia and Torstar Corp. announced the closing of three dozen newspapers in late 2017, local mayors worried aloud about how to keep their citizenry informed. In Thunder Bay, Ont., a city churning with political scandal and racial tensions, the local newspaper at one point had no local reporter on staff to hold officials accountable. Wire copy and short items by the paper’s two photographers filled the pages. The federal government [...] CWA Canada hails Competition Bureau raid of Postmedia-Torstar, says feds should block newspaper swap deals - CWA Canada welcomes a federal investigation into November’s newspaper swap-and-close deal between Postmedia and Torstar, but worries it comes far too late to fix the damage done. “It’s nice to see the Competition Bureau finally barking, but it’s hard to imagine there will be much bite,” CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said. “The damage has been done, the papers are dead, and they’re not likely to be resurrected.” “But hopefully the bureau will surprise us and do something, including action to end these swap-and-close deals that have been disastrous for so many communities.” Agents of the bureau, accompanied by police, raided the Toronto headquarters of both companies Monday and executed search warrants. Commissioner John Pecman confirmed that the bureau “is investigating alleged anti-competitive conduct contrary to the conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act” as well as those governing mergers. The two publishers traded 41 newspapers — the majority of them in Ontario — and then shut most of them down, with a loss of almost 300 jobs. Many of the closures reduced or eliminated competition between the two companies in certain markets. Pecman said that, if the bureau determines there has been a violation of the Competition Act, “we will [...] Union hails funds for local journalism, commitment on non-profit news organizations - The financial rescue package for local journalism contained in today’s federal budget was seen as a good first step in easing the crisis in the news industry. The government said it would provide $50 million over five years to one or more independent organizations to support civic journalism in underserved communities. “We’re very pleased that the government has taken this step,” CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said. “It won’t solve the woes plaguing the news industry, but it’s a good start. We will continue to push for action on foreign digital advertising and concentration of news media ownership.” He also saluted Ottawa for opening the door to philanthropic financing of non-profit news organizations. That was one of the recommendations of the Public Policy Forum’s “Shattered Mirror” report on the news industry the union endorsed just over a year ago. “We at CWA Canada have been urging this for some time in order to encourage local, non-profit ownership of newspapers rather than the destructive, predatory hedge fund disaster that is Postmedia,” said O’Hanlon. Local news coverage has been decimated across the country in recent years as Postmedia and other companies have slashed jobs and closed publications. Postmedia continues to award millions [...] Federal budget measures are ‘good start’ to help news industry: CWA Canada - OTTAWA – CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, applauds the federal government’s announcement today that it will spend $50 million over five years to support local journalism in under-serviced communities. The union also welcomes the commitment in the federal budget to look at allowing news organizations to receive charitable status for not-for-profit journalism. Funding for local civic journalism and the option for non-profit news organizations were two of CWA Canada’s key recommendations to the government. “We’re very pleased that the government has taken this step,” CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon said. “It won’t solve the woes plaguing the news industry, but it’s a good start. We will continue to push for action on foreign digital advertising and concentration of news media ownership.” “Over 80 per cent of Canadian digital advertising dollars go to foreign-owned companies like Google and Facebook that have an unfair tax advantage and that simply must change,” O’Hanlon said. “Otherwise Canadian media companies will continue to struggle and fight amongst themselves over the digital ad crumbs.” Local news coverage has been decimated across the country in recent years as Postmedia and other companies have slashed jobs and closed publications. Some communities, such as Guelph, Ont., and Moose Jaw, Sask., have [...] Third Local responds to Postmedia demands with strong strike vote - Postmedia was hit with a mid-winter blast from a third CWA Canada Local to respond to concessionary demands with a near-unanimous strike vote. More than 100 members of the Windsor Typographical Union, who work in the mailroom of the Windsor Star, along with about 80 workers represented by Unifor, voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike if they don’t get a decent offer to renew the contract that expired at the end of 2016. The late-January vote mirrored those held at The Gazette in Montreal in September and the Ottawa Citizen/Sun several months earlier. “It’s really depressing dealing with these Postmedia papers,” said David Wilson, the CWA Canada staff rep who leads negotiations at the Locals. “They’re a shell of their former selves and it shows in the product we put on the street.” Postmedia has slashed its workforce in recent years, leaving skeleton crews to produce its newspapers. In January 2017, it began an assault on pensions and benefits, imposing cuts on non-union staff (triggering an organizing drive at the National Post) and demanding major concessions at the bargaining table. The company’s actions spurred the Locals in Ottawa, Montreal and Windsor to vow a united stand against [...]
Link to the full Newspaper Industry news archive on CWA Canada
18.04.12 Ottawa Business Journal – Postmedia Q2 loss falls as cost cutting, tax credit offset lower revenue
18.04.02 The Canadian Press – Torstar hiring 20 reporters as it revamps Metro urban dailies
18.03.20 CAJ.ca – Pelham town officials cannot ignore local journalists
18.03.17 Denver Newspaper Guild – A Great State Deserves a Great Newspaper
18.03.15 The Colorado Independent – Littwin: Denver Post owners are not just laying off employees, they’re looting the public trust
18.03.15 The Washington Post – Is this strip-mining or journalism? ‘Sobs, gasps, expletives’ over latest Denver Post layoffs
18.03.14 The Voice – Town of Pelham cuts off communication with Voice of Pelham
18.03.12 CBC News – Competition Bureau searches Postmedia and Torstar offices in probe of newspaper deal
18.03.11 Toronto Star – Serious journalism is vital to healthy democracy and requires support
18.03.04 John Longhurst – Turning Newspapers Into Charities: A New Model for the Future?
18.03.02 iPolitics – Saving Canadian news media: Senate considers solutions for journalism, local news
18.03.01 Editor & Publisher – 10 Newspapers That Do It Right
18.02.28 NewsGuild-CWA – Journalists of Casper Star-Tribune make history; continue inspiring national trend
18.02.28 The Globe and Mail – Budget media provisions disappointing, industry says
18.02.28 Columbia Journalism Review – Canada pledges $50 million to local journalism. Will it help?
18.02.27 iPolitics.ca – Federal budget opens door to non-profit media models
18.02.27 iPolitics.ca – Government prolongs the agony for newspapers … just a bit
18.02.26 TheTyee.ca – The Case of Cox vs. Coyne / As publishers squabble with journalists over government subsidies, why should the public support financial assistance?
18.02.14 National Post – Andrew Coyne: Newspaper owners shamelessly pleading for cash only make bailouts look worse
18.02.13 J-Source.ca – Toronto Star putting internship programs on indefinite hiatus
18.02.09 J-Source.ca – A study in news poverty in Thunder Bay
18.02.02 Ryerson Journalism Research Centre – New survey investigates state of smaller-market newspapers in Canada
18.01.28 The Globe and Mail – Most Canadians support government funding for local media, poll finds
18.01.26 Toronto Star – John Honderich: We should all be very concerned by the crisis facing quality journalism
18.01.19 NewsGuild-CWA – L.A. Times workers vote overwhelmingly for union
18.01.16 The Conversation – Supreme Court ruling makes need for Competition Act reform urgent
17.12.10 The Globe and Mail – The Last Edition: The stories that go untold when a small town loses its newspaper
17.11.28 Globe and Mail – Our local newspapers didn’t have to die
17.10.17 Politico – What if the newspaper industry made a colossal mistake?