By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press
NEEPAWA, Man. — The newspaper industry is one in flux. While the various components that make up the industry are often lumped together, the reality isn’t nearly such a homogeneous group. There are dailies and weeklies, rural and urban markets, chains and independents. The problems of one aren’t necessarily the problems of all.
At the national level, there is great concern about the loss of publications, as chains like Postmedia, Glacier and Torstar close papers to either consolidate or leave a market. There’s legitimate concern about what this means for democracy, what it means when there are fewer watchdogs in the corridors of power. Part of the problem is that the daily newspaper business used to be very profitable. People talk of the “good old days,” when daily newspaper owners were flush with cash and owned sports teams. Like almost every other industry, ours was fundamentally changed by the digital revolution. Instead of adapting, to start with, the country’s biggest players thought that maybe if they owned more, they would be protected from this new reality. All that we ended up with was a media landscape heavily concentrated in the hands of a few over-leveraged companies, desperate to make their next loan payment.