Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Nostalgia lives

Quote of the week:

"The practice of journalism is no longer and never will be what it was, and pangs of nostalgia will not change that."

Well, Quebecor's Pierre Karl Peladeau said it so it must be true: Journalism as we have known it for a century or two is dead.

His concept of 21st century newspapers, perhaps, but don't get out the shovel just yet.

Toronto Sun Family members are a nostalgic lot, so pardon us if we don't agree with PKP's comment about "pangs of nostalgia" being wasted energy.

The past nine years under Quebecor have been anything but nostalgic for Sun Media employees, so that leaves sentimental us with the first 25 years or so to remember.

PKP's comments during the 35th annual meeting of Quebecor do not bode well for Sun Media newspapers, already hammered by eight years of layoffs, firings, buyouts and resignations.

He is quoted in the Montreal Gazette as saying: "It's obvious this industry can no longer operate under the business model that guided it for decades. Content is available now instantly and freely. Paid-circulation newspapers have to change their way of doing things from top to bottom."

He said the overhaul is, and must be, dramatic, and that means eliminating duplication and providing content not available elsewhere for nothing.

That tells us Quebecor will steamroll its way to Sun Media centralization and readers and employees be damned.

And should this sad media story end with the eventual rumoured merging of Sun and 24 Hours newspapers, it will be the result of tunnel vision, not necessity.

Yes, writing about the Sun's good times, the sharing and caring times, the respectful times, the compassionate times - all pre-Quebecor - is being nostalgic.

But it also pinpoints how newspaper people run newspapers and how people who were not raised in word factories run newspapers.

We'll take newspaper people over suits anytime.

1 comment:

  1. A1! The 'result of tunnel vision and not necessity' is exactly right.

    There's a Sun Media newspaper called the Nanton News in Nanton, AB an hour south of Calgary whose century-old newsroom was closed this month. (www.nantonnews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1482498)

    Now there's a miniature start-up newspaper called the Nanton News Experiment, a 4-inch mini newspaper manifesto, in which the author laments:

    "When a company grows so large, so impersonal and uninventive as to downsize without trying any alternative, innovative tactics to boost revenue, this is when to worry." (wordenedgewise.blogspot.com)

    If a community newspaper could make a decent venture in ANY town in Canada it's the strongly-knit, history-loving town of Nanton. Sun Media's looking at the puzzle the wrong way.