Friday, 22 May 2009

New papers?

A TSF reader in Alberta writes:

"Word has it former Sun Media staff have started up newspapers in Nanton and Morinville where offices were closed and amalgamated into other locations. Kudos to them."

Please tell us more. We would like to salute them by name and promote their community newspaper efforts.


  1. Good for them! I hope they kick some serious ass both on the editorial and advertising side and show PKP what an idiot he is for all these cuts.

  2. It's interesting that a "Sun Family Blog" would go beyond some healthy venting of frustrations with the parent company to actively promoting your competitors and adding fuel to the fire that could put more "Sun Family" jobs at risk.

  3. The greatest risk for jobs comes from PKP and his vision that will drive Sun Media off a cliff.

  4. And actually....Morinville was never amalgamated with anyone - it was simply closed. Only one person who worked there is still employed by Sun Media.

  5. I agree - the biggest risk to Sun jobs is PKP.
    His vision is strictly business-driven and has little to do with the industry we know and love.

    These new papers popping up may be the only thing that saves our industry - and industry the PKPs of the world seem determined to destroy.

  6. People who sit in an office all-day reading spreadsheets instead of newspapers have no business running newspapers. PKP and his corporate yes-men are living proof.
    He and his stooges clearly don't understand the dynamics of a commmunity newspaper and they don't care. He doesn't get that people will not stand idly by and accept his attempts to forcefeed his flawed vision down their throats. PKP is leaving an opening for independents and smaller chains who care about the product to survive as he and the stooges only care about how much money they can rake in through cutbacks. Yet, I'm sure both his ego and the yes-men he likely surrounds himself with insist that he's doing a good job.

  7. The future of newspapers is in small-towns, with independent owners. You'll never be able to read what happened around the council tables of Morinville or Nanton without local papers that care about their communites, not just the almighty dollar.

    That's why dailies are dying.

    Good luck to the new papers!

  8. For me, a young reporter (35 is still young, right?) dedicated to print, this is exciting news! The previous 'Anonymous' has it right, I think. Local newspapers are where it's at. Local, local, local. Paper, paper, paper. I don't understand why the model can't go daily in larger, mid-size cities. But perhaps that's a discussion for another moment. For now, I'd rather celebrate the idea of newspaper start-up's and hope we see more.

  9. All,
    The future of newspapers large or small, I believe, is local ownership, based on a non-profit or trust model, so that newspapers are never held hostage to the tyranny of the shareholder.
    I have a difference of opinion on John's version of the Sun keeping out bean counters and politicians, as he mentioned in an above column.
    Nevertheless the point is well-taken. News should not be profit motivated; it should be driven by the need to serve the community, explaining what is happening, why and what do we want to do about it.
    Ownership by locals or by employees is how, I believe, we can best survive.
    If Canwest were to go into bankruptcy protection, why shouldn't the staff at the Herald, or the Sun, or the Province, or the Citizen or the Star or the Journal buy up their operation and do it themselves.
    We've got the savvy, both for the street and in the boardroom.
    If there are two new newspapers in Alberta, our wish is that you succeed.

    Rob Lamberti
    Toronto Sun Unit
    Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
    Local 87-M

  10. Local ownership at small-town papers is fine and good and, yes, probably the long-term solution to ensuring their survival but it probably wouldn’t hurt if those smaller weeklies and community dailies started paying their reporters (and other staffers) decent wages. The staff turnover at weeklies right now is atrocious – it’s not uncommon for weekly newsrooms to completely turn over, editor-and-all, two or three times a year. Granted, many weeklies can only pay what they can afford to pay, but I know there are weeklies out there that make tidy little profits but don’t re-invest in staff. It used to be that the radio guys (i.e. non-CBC) were the lowest-paid journalists in town but now I’m not so sure. To me, that’s one of the biggest underlying problems in the newspaper industry in Canada – the talent is being eroded away from the smaller papers simply because few reporters can afford to stay at them for any real amount of time - not if they aspire to raise a family or create a comfortable life for themselves. And if the talent is not staying in the business, you can connect the dots from there – lower-skilled reporters means an inferior product, which means fewer readers and subscriptions, which means lower ad revenues. To be fair, the smaller papers have paid poorly for a long time and it’s not just the ones owned by Quebecor, Sun Media, Osprey, or Bowes. However, it’s my belief that it’s created a “lost generation” of journalists (including this one) who bailed out of the business in their late-20s and early-30s because they weren’t good enough to cut it at a better-paying big metro daily and they weren’t patient enough to float along making $35,000 a year at a weekly or community daily. Yeah, I know. Money isn’t everything. But it’s not nothing, either.

  11. I don't think the Sun Family site is a place for the unions to blab...your opinion is of absolutely no interest to me. Seriously, tell us, how profitable is your union?
    You have done zero to help us keep our jobs, but happily kept taking our money.
    I do not begrudge anyone trying to make a profit, the Sun was union free for many years, and proud of it, when we had good management. We all loved the successful profits that our company made and shared with us, journalism was always top notch.
    This is not a place for your comment.

  12. Stay tuned. You will see more independents in Wild Rose Country.