Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Revenue decline and Meta blocking weigh heavily on Canadian media.

What future for community newspapers?

Open full screen

The West End Phoenix newspaper continues to be distributed in print to residents of west Toronto.

  • Philippe de Montigny (View profile)Philippe de Montigny

Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence , allows you to generate spoken text from written text.

Many community newspapers say they are facing an “existential crisis” as revenues in the industry continue to plummet, a situation exacerbated by Meta's decision four months ago to block access to news on its platforms at Canada.

Susan Legge is editor of Beach Metro Community News, which covers local stories in Toronto's east end — whether it's municipal politics, the arrival of a new priest, profiles of business leaders or the Santa Claus parade.

She says her small team of journalists struggles to reach audiences and get their stories read, which is not just a problem for the paper, but for the entire community.

We really need to start thinking about how this is going to affect society.

A quote from Susan Legge, publisher of Beach Metro Community News

The editor points out, for example, that her publication was the only one to write profiles for all 23 candidates in the by-election in Scarborough, last fall.

Open in full screen mode

Susan Legge, publisher of Beach Metro Community News, fears for future of local media.

Linda Lauzon, coordinator of the Official Languages ​​Minority Community Media Consortium, fears for the future of the written press and French-speaking community radios in the country.

She emphasizes that social networks allowed Canadians outside Quebec to discover these articles written in French. Discoverability has been cut by 40% to 60%, which is huge and very concerning, she said.

LoadingIsraeli bombings in Gaza, the most destructive of the century, according to experts

ELSIDE ON INFO: Israeli bombings in Gaza, the most destructive of the century, according to experts

Having a conversation with your readership or listeners is one of the most important things, adds Ms. Lauzon. Especially for a local media, like a community radio or a community newspaper, we need to be close to people and have this conversation. Instagram and Facebook allowed us to do that.

The coordinator also emphasizes that many members of the consortium used these platforms to announce their activities crowdfunding, such as bingo. We've been doing this for 10 years. We're still on a tightrope, she says. You always have to reinvent yourself.

The Canadian media industry has been losing ground for several years, and 2023 was no exception.

Conglomerate Bell Canada Enterprises cut 1,300 jobs – approximately 3% of its workforce – and sold or closed nine of its radio stations.

The Metroland group, for its part, announced that it plans to end the print editions of its community newspapers, resulting in the loss of 605 jobs, or 60% of its workforce.

CBC/Radio-Canada plans to cut 800 positions (around 10% of its workforce) over the coming months, while the TVA group announced in November the foot of 547 employees (nearly 40% of its workforce).

The adoption in June of the controversial Bill C-18 – aimed at forcing web giants to compensate the media for sharing their information content – ​​had the effect of a bombshell, according to some observers .

We are handcuffed, that's for sure.

A quote by Dave Bidini, editor of the West End Phoenix newspaper

David Bidini, the editor of the West End Phoenix newspaper, which serves western Toronto, says Instagram was practically an extension of the printed newspaper.

The platform allowed it to attract new readers and it is difficult to maintain this engagement online since the news is blocked in Canada, says Mr. Bidini.

Open full screen

West End Phoenix editor Dave Bidini (second in photo) continues to deliver his newspaper regularly, but affirms that social networks like Facebook and Instagram allowed him to better reach his audience.

If Google managed to conclude a media financing agreement with the Canadian government, it is still an impasse on the side of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

Nearly two-thirds of the $100 million that Google will pay Canadian news media each year will be spent on print and digital media.

The Official Language Minority Community Media Consortium says it had a very good meeting with Meta representatives two weeks ago to ask them for an exemption from news blocking.

They already have everything in place to have this mechanism, but the government must now be open-minded and understand our realities because we do not ;does not have the same realities as the public broadcaster or the big mega media, says coordinator Linda Lauzon.

She believes that an agreement with Meta would not give much money to its members because they are too small. The discoverability of content and the ability to interact with your audience are all the more valuable, underlines Ms. Lauzon.

With information from CBC and Bienvenu Senga

  • Philippe de Montigny (View profile)Philippe de MontignyFollow

By admin

Related Post