Those in the journalism industry got a sobering reminder recently, of the current state of the media industry when Bell Canada announced they were cutting 1,300 workers from their workforce and closing nine radio stations.
These changes follow others Bell Media has made to their CTV brand, with past layoffs or terminations including: personalities like Lisa LaFlamme, Lance Brown, and Tom Brown, as well as local Lindsay radio show personalities Dave Illman and Julie Corlett.
As a reporter, it saddens me whenever I hear of other journalists and media representatives losing their jobs, due to cost-cutting ventures or a changing financial landscape. It’s never good to see talented journalists lose their jobs. But it’s also a good reminder that now, more than ever, it’s important for communities to support local media institutions.
Local journalism provides a platform for diverse voices to be heard on local issues. Local news outlets also provide the public with the information they need to make informed choices. From covering community meetings, council meetings, board meetings, fire scenes, and local sports events, to name some examples, outlets like The Standard work tirelessly to gather information and present it to our readers.
Local papers, like this paper, have also been a part of a lot of people’s everyday lives for many years. It could be the paper you read in the morning before work, which sparks conversation among your family members. It also could be the paper you picked up and read at a dealership or mechanics shop, while you’re waiting for the completion of vehicle repairs. It’s even the news clippings you kept in a scrapbook because your family member, friend or even yourself was featured in an article. This paper has been part of our community, in various incarnations, for a total of over 90 plus years.
There are few revenue options available for local newspapers, such as advertising revenue and government grants. Online giants such as Facebook, Kijiji and Google have had a negative impact on media outlets’ revenue for years, given the options they provide.
The recent Bell Media news is part of a worrying trend in the industry and should serve as a reminder of how an investment in local journalism can go a long way.