With the announcement by Sun Media regarding the closure of eight weekly newspapers, J-Source.ca asked if I would try to provide some initial analysis. Sadly, these kinds of stories focus on urban dailies and the business aspects, as well as job losses. For the mainstream media, this is all that matters. But for the people living in these hamlets, villages and towns, it is a great loss. In some cases, these are century-old publications suddenly gone.
Analysis usually focuses on the importance of community journalism to the social capital and the increasing democratic deficit created when these vital publications are shut down. However, the economics for these newspapers is obviously not working. It is far easier to swallow up these individual communities into a regional publication, where resources, time and money reach a more efficient and cost-effective manner. Public service is not anywhere on the radar. Then again, maybe it should not. This is a complex issue and an ancient debate in journalism. Still, it appears it is not one taking place in the head office at Sun Media. For those who live in these community, it is important, whether they know it or not.
The piece looks at the closures and their impact, along with a darker trend. But, I offer an opportunity to entrepreneurial journalists and innovators within the industry that might help rural communities in Canada, possibly breathing new life in community journalism and a reinvigorated news industry. You can find it here.