With the October 2011 purchase of the EMC group of community newspapers in the Ottawa area by Metroland Ottawa, a subsidiary of Metroland Media Group owned by the Toronto Star, the circle of media competition in the capital city just shrank. Big time.
And nobody is talking about it.
Too bad, because we’re about to see a lot fewer stories about our communities in print and online, and advertisers can expect to see increased flyer prices because there will be reduced competition.
And since Metroland and EMC compete in identical suburban and rural markets in Ottawa, there will be layoffs of reporters, editors, advertising, office and circulation staff. From the boardroom perspective, it only makes sense. Once the layoffs are announced, watch Metroland’s share prices jump.
What we’ll see, however, is fewer stories, fewer eyes on the streets of the small communities watching the community and the political scene.
Flyer business is a vital staple in the print industry as standard display advertising and circulation base decline at all newspapers. Without flyers, there would be a whole lot fewer community newspapers in Ontario and in particular suburban areas.
This is where GoJournalism.ca comes in. It’s a non-profit venture launched by myself, Adam Jarvis, an interactive multimedia developer professor at Algonquin College. It is, in fact, owned by Algonquin College, and we started it with the help of applied research grants to help freelance journalists in the Ottawa area be paid to do stories that are of interest and that are important to communities.
To see how it works, go to http://vimeo.com/13180915 and watch the one minute explanation of what we’re trying to do. If you feel this is something you can get behind, either as someone who wants to pitch a story, write a story or make a donation toward getting a story published, please register as a GoJournalism supporter at www.gojournalism.ca and join the 130-plus backers of our cause.
Journalism’s voice has been shrinking in the national capital at both the daily and community level for five years, and it’s about to get smaller still. Helping GoJournalism’s mission could be one piece of a puzzle in ensuring that doesn’t continue.