Re-branding failure: Propping up the Metro brand.

The free newspaper Metro is failing, and now that failure is being re-branded with the Torstar name. Metro is under Torstar’s Free Daily News Group Inc. banner.

This is a mere re-naming. There is “expanding”, only consolidating, and using Torstar’s name to try to reverse the chain’s sagging fortunes. Metro is to Torstar as Versus is to Versace — a diffusion line — a cheaper brand to the original.

These cluster of papers are the subject of investigation by the Competition Bureau with Torstar’s deal with Postmedia, with a couple of these titles shut down after the deal.

The sunny spinning of rot is meant to smooth over these rough inconveniences. It is the same newspaper with the same dismal fortunes; the only difference is this is a last desperate push, but it won’t change what is happening or where these papers are inevitably headed…

Is there hope for journalism? Not a chance. There is too much rot. Why the world needs a fresh start.

There is a Pollyanna mindset in those whose destroyed journalism. Some way, somehow, they think the mess will clean up itself. It’s a mindset from those who grew up sheltered with parents who often have clout as their offspring seek attention and have their sunny dispositions shaped by weed. Journalism is not a profession where being mellow is an asset. You have cutthroats and grifters who know how to manipulate optics — and even data to paint an inaccurate picture of what is really happening.

Of course, not everyone in the business came from privilege, but enough to see what happens when you have not faced consequences in the eye, let alone stared death in the face.

It is not as if things may look bad, but something will save the day. It’s unfixable in its current form.

Both Torstar and Postmedia are the subjects of a Competition Bureau probe, but so what? They did what they said they’d do — close down newspapers. The end.

It is not as if these were thriving newspapers. They were closed because they weren’t. They went past the point of no return.

But you still have reporters believing they can somehow trick people into saving them with ridiculous optimistic campaigns, such as  Journalism Matters.

Always begging for money, of course.

Even if reporters pretend to be pessimistic as they “question” those assertions, they will pin the blame on factors unrelated to the heart of their problems, such as newsrooms being too white and male, before trying to find a saviour, such as “data journalism.”

Nah.

The critical problem isn’t that journalism is “white” and “male.” It doesn’t matter what the packaging happens to be — the same mindset is prevalent in the entire profession. No one has made a single fundamental change.

And data journalism? As if companies can’t fudge data or authorities cannot get it wrong — or keep information back? As if there aren’t flawed measurements? You never heard that figures can’t lie, but liars can figure?

Really? Really?

Because journalism’s collapse is global in scale.

It isn’t just a thing that happened in just North America, the self-proclaimed centre of the universe, where ex-reporters of the Denver Post are sobbing a little too late. Other races and cultures made the same mess of things, too.

We have people from every other country questioning the way journalism is doing its job, such as this sharp column from Pakistan’s Daily Times.

But you have CNN’s Chris Cillizza in La La Land, with “analysis” that is nothing more than childish conjecture about Donald Trump being some sort of real life “reality show” (memo to Cillizza, do you actually comprehend that all major newsmakers could say the same thing as their lives were always under the media microscope?), as if journalism could have any virtuous airs about them.

At least former CNN Soledad O’Brien called out Cillizza for his devoid analysis,  rightfully pointing out that it is that kind of worthless junk that turned millions of people away from traditional journalism, though Cillizza was too thick to get it.

So is there hope for a dead profession?

No.

But journalism can be replaced with an alternative that has far more than hope — but the power to transform and engage the world again…

 

The Competition Bureau pays a little visit to Postmedia and Torstar…

This visit is not a common occurrence. As in, unprecedented. The massive newspaper swap late last year raised eyebrows, but usually, despite the high media concentration going on in Canada for decades, the Bureau usually doesn’t pay attention (Toronto Star has finally made a mention of it, but both the Star and the National Post relied on the Canadian Press article here).

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But this time, they searched the offices and had a nice little chat with the two groups.

Yes, they had search warrants.

First Newsweek gets raided in the US. Now two of the largest newspaper chains in Canada are paid a visit for different reasons…

But once upon a time, when outlets got searched and served warrants, it was because they were uncovering government corruption, and they were being searched to see who were their sources; so those leaks could get plugged.

Now, it is happening for vastly different reasons…

Your tax dollars at waste: Competition Bureau to pretend to look into Torstar-Postmedia swap. Do not hold your breath.

Ever wonder why your Canadian dollar is valued at so little and your taxes are so high?

Well, because there are endless exercises to appeal the Middle Classes here. Too many make work programs for the bored folks up in Ottawa, and now the Competition Bureau is going to look into the massive swap between Torstar and Postmedia.

This is a joke. Torstar has nothing to worry about.

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And neither has Postmedia.

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When it comes to media concentration, the Canadian government has spent good cash money being absolutely useless.

You cannot expect anything to be different this time, either. It does not matter what government body you are dealing with, the results are always the same.

Journalism in this country was always fragile, but now the rate of decline is rapidly increasing.

Consider it a done deal.

It would be more honest if the Competition Bureau admitted it is useless, has no teeth, and ergo, will not spend taxpayers’ money on a farce; so that the Middle Class can understand the reality of the situation, the truth about what is happening so they know where they truly stand, and that there is no group of benevolent and efficient servants called They who will clean up the mess so that Everything Will Work Itself Out In The End. Not happening.

And the cataclysm continues unimpeded.

Torstar and Postmedia hammering more nails in the newspaper coffin.

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.

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None came.

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.