Sylvia Stead laments the closure of The Guelph Mercury and other recent journalistic layoffs.
By Sylvia Stead for the Globe and Mail
It has been a bad week for journalism: 200 jobs lost in the broadcast and publishing wings of Rogers Media, and the closing of one of the nation’s oldest daily newspapers.
The Guelph Mercury would have celebrated its 150th anniversary along with Canada next year, and its demise set off a flurry of comments from shocked and saddened members of its staff, past as well as present.
“Papers like Guelph Mercury were once the stepping stone to bigger papers,” tweeted Steve Ladurantaye, a former Globe and Mail reporter and now head of news and government with Twitter Canada. “The entire farm team system has basically vanished in Canada.”
In fact, much of the mainstream media seems to be vanishing. This week’s casualties followed the newsroom merging and layoffs at Postmedia last week, which in turn followed layoffs at The Toronto Star earlier this month.
There is serious pressure on the industry’s business model, and it is always difficult to see jobs lost and coverage cut. But I’m not as pessimistic as some, for the simple reason that my job keeps me in regular contact with our customers: the public.
It’s true that most of the hundreds of e-mails and tweets I receive each year are complaints about everything from editorial decisions and upsetting photo choices to grammatical mistakes.
I share these comments with you on a regular basis, but I also receive praise from readers who crave smart, important journalism. Their notes and phone calls are always welcome, never more so than right now.