Oh yes, Torstar and Postmedia are swapping and closing the local newspapers all over Ontario. Over two hundred jobs will be eliminated. This news should shock no one. It was the reason people in the newspaper industry pulled out all the stops trying to make a case for government intervention.
Not that it should have come. Canadian journalism has been a hot mess for far too long, and no one in that industry knows how badly they screwed up, and why they are no longer relevant to civic life.
Local news is dead, and it does not matter if the news comes from traditional media outlets or online ones. Nobody cares because everyone loves to pretend to be all about the “big” things. That was newspapers’ greatest failure — properly showing why the local is, in fact, more important to everyday life than national and international issues.
I see Americans absolutely terrified of their president, and when I ask why, they give me a laundry list of reasons, and though I am Canadian, I point out those issues are not federal ones, but state and local ones, but there is no use trying to point at the real holders of power.
In Canada, we are no different. We turn up our nose at local issues, and when local papers had stories about local beauty pageants on their front page instead of the dirty dealings of local politicians and lobbyists, people assumed there was no problems or issues they needed to know about.
And it cost the newspaper industry its existence. It never did hard news stories aimed at teens or children about the local issues that would shape their lives, for instance. It was that elitism that, in turn, caused an elitism in their disenfranchised readers who then decided local was too good for them, the way a new generation of readers weren’t good enough for newspapers.
Yes, losing these papers is a terrible blow to democracy, but that blow happened years ago, and now the industry can longer keep up the façade.
And it is only going to get worse for the Canadian communications industries from now on.