Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Fitzhugh

A TSF reader in Alberta says the revival of independent community newspapers includes the Fitzhugh, launched in Jasper in the summer of 2005.

"In the summer of 2005, a group of friends gathered with the idea of creating an independent, locally-owned newspaper that would represent the needs, issues and ideas of our community," says the online edition. "The result is the Fitzhugh.

"We currently distribute approximately 3,000 free copies weekly from over 60 distribution points in Jasper, Hinton and Valemount B.C. Our distribution during the peak season of May through October is 5,000 weekly."

Quebecor's Jasper Booster, competition for the new weekly for almost five years, closed its doors in March. It was one of two Alberta weeklies shuttered by Quebecor.

The TSF reader writes:

"What exactly is going on with Sun Media in the west-central Alberta area? First the Jasper Booster tanks, then this?

Good luck to the (Hinton) Voice.

"If nothing else, new locally owned papers like the Fitzhugh in Jasper are proving the community newspaper industry is still viable . . . with a little effort.

"It seems almost shameful a ma-and-pa paper outfought one that is owned by a big corporation with plenty of resources, which appears to be the case in Jasper. So sad is the new mentality of selling out fast."

So just how many independent community newspapers are there in Canada? We know the conglomerates own the majority of daily and weekly newspapers.

Publishers of independent newspapers are invited to profile their newspapers in TSF and describe the benefits of being independent.

The revival of interest in independent newspapers is a national story, but one we don't expect to read in any of the conglomerate newspapers.

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