Metroland Media Group, the parent company of Barrie Advance newspaper, has announced cutbacks as it transitions to a digital-only model. As part of this move, the company is seeking protection under the Bankruptcy and Solvency Act and will be ending the print editions of 71 community newspapers.
The decision has been met with disappointment from local residents and officials who value the role of the Barrie Advance in providing local news and information. Mayor Alex Nuttall recognizes the significance of the newspaper in the community, stating that it has been a staple in Barrie for over 35 years, and its journalists have been dedicated to sharing Barrie stories with the public.
Metroland Media attributes its decision to the challenges faced the media industry, particularly in light of digital tech giants dominating advertising revenue in Canada. The pandemic has also had an impact on the company’s declining revenue.
Unfortunately, the loss of the print edition of the Barrie Advance will have a significant impact on residents who rely on the newspaper as their only means of accessing essential information. Mayor Nuttall emphasizes the need to find a way to keep a local printed newspaper in Barrie to ensure that all residents can stay connected and have access to credible local news.
The move to digital-only editions will result in the loss of over 600 jobs, approximately 60 percent of the company’s workforce. This has prompted concerns about the future of local journalism and the importance of having factual, investigative, and thoughtful reporting available to everyone. Local media outlets play a crucial role in keeping citizens informed about issues that directly impact their lives and fostering a sense of community.
Despite the challenges faced the newspaper industry, local officials and elected representatives recognize the essential contribution that local media outlets make to the community. They express their sadness that many local storytellers will no longer have a platform to share their stories.
While editorial employees will remain until December 31, most non-union positions have been immediately let go, according to a union representative.
Overall, the discontinuation of the print editions of these community newspapers highlights the ongoing challenges faced the media industry and the need to find sustainable models for delivering local news in the digital age.
– Barrie Advance
– The Canadian Press