Thursday, 4 June 2009

Petrolia slim

The Petrolia Topic has had a newspaper office to serve the Sarnia-area community for more than a century.

Sun Media is closing the weekly paper's office June 12, leaving one reporter -David Pattenaude - and a sales rep - Dave Martin - working from their homes to carry on with the print edition.

TSF hasn't heard if layoffs are involved, but this is how readers of the Petrolia Topic, the town's only newspaper, were informed of the office closure on Wednesday:

Things are changing at your community newspaper.

2009 has brought with it new business challenges. Due to the conditions currently prevailing in both the local and global economies, we are forced to close our office in Petrolia effective Friday, June 12.

Rest assured our commitment to our friends and neighbours in this community and the surrounding area remains as strong as it has ever been. Despite the closure of the local office, the Topic will continue to operate as a Sun Media publication with its own distinct identity.

We will continue to have a reporter, whose work is focused on covering the goings-on in Petrolia and the surrounding area, bringing you the news you care about from the town you call home. And we will continue to have a local sales representative servicing the advertising needs of our local businesses.

A vibrant local newspaper is an important feature of any community. The Petrolia Topic has been your community newspaper, sharing the highs and lows of life in central Lambton County, for more than a century. It is an honour to be invited into your homes, and we hope to continue to serve the readers and advertisers of Petrolia and area for many years in the future.

Sales Manager Dave Martin and Reporter David Pattenaude will continue to be out and about serving the needs of people of the community.
To reach Sales Manager Dave Martin or Reporter David Pattenaude, to place an advertisement, provide a news tip or submit a letter to the editor, continue to call 519-882-1770 where you will speak with a Sun Media customer service representative in Sarnia.

End of story. End of another newspaper office for the not-so-destitute Sun Media to rent, staff and maintain.

"A vibrant local newspaper is an important feature of any community?" Vibrant, with one reporter and an ad sales rep and no office to work out of day to day?

Sounds like another potential independent weekly start-up community.


  1. PKP is closing papers because he can, not so much because of the recession.
    I understand the need to make a profit, but closing papers and taking things away like water and floormats, is not going to make that much difference in the grand scheme of things.
    He will end up losing more money in the end by driving away customers from the weeklies and small daily papers as they look more and more like every other paper in the chain.
    Is there any way to oust PKP??
    And if I had the cash, I'd for sure start a paper up in any of the areas where he has closed papers or cut them down.

  2. I am a former 25 year Quebecor employee. I worked in Edmonton and Calgary at the SUN. My dad purchased the Petrolia Advertiser Topic in 1961 after working at the London Free Press and other dailies. I grew up in Petrolia and we converted the paper from letterpress to offset in the mid to late '60's taking negatives to Webco to print on thier community press along with many other weeklies. Dad later bought a King Press and we moved and produced the paper from a plant that used to make steel sinks adjoining the new Oil Rig restaurant. The newspaper has a very long and proud history and I am sure the people of Petrolia always had a special relationship with their local newspaper which is now somewhat lost now with people now selling ads from their houses. This is a sad day indeed.

  3. The main issue with starting a paper in these small towns is printing the product. In each case the papers are closed or production is moved leaving very few web presses in Ontario. PKP knows wht he's doing, keep al lthe presses, shut down the operations and leave the presses behind, no one can buy them and new press units are too expensive. Imagine al lthe former Sun Media employees putting money together and running at PKP?

  4. You make it sound as though there are layoffs, which you haven't been able to confirm.
    One reporter and sales staff are probably all the employees Petrolia's had for some time now.

  5. What happened to the editor and office staff and composer (if one was still on site)?
    PKP is conducting a tour of the Goderich, Clinton, Seaforth, Lucknow and Stratford offices on July 2. Word is staff have dubbed it his 'nickle and dime tour.' And yes, staffers would appreciate finding out what the appropriate French translation for that is so they are properly prepared for PKP's arrival.

  6. i think when the town council elected to take their advertising away from the topic and decided to print their own rhetoric it sealed the fate of our paper. if your own council won't support you, it is a death sentance. What a shame, and shame on them ! Thats a huge amt of money for a small paper to loose ! It is an embarassment for all. No freedom of press here, and we pretty much have to stay anonymous or we can get and axe as well.