Metroland launches new community newspaper for Norfolk County
Norfolk News launched its first print edition on Oct. 3 with 17,000 copies. The newspaper has hired a staff of eight to cover hyperlocal news in southwestern Ontario.
In an era of newspapers shutting down and media companies centralizing operations, Metroland Media has launched a new free hyperlocal weekly called Norfolk News. The first edition of the newspaper serving Norfolk County, in southwestern Ontario, was launched on Oct. 3 with 17,000 copies .
Although there are other media outlets with a presence in the area—the Simcoe Reformer and The Silo—the newspaper’s general manager Len Offless said the market is not yet saturated. He said Norfolk News will grow to 24,000 copies in four to five weeks.
“We will be covering all the local news and sports and community news,” Offless told J-Source.
In an editorial published in the newspaper’s first edition, Offless said “during a time of challenge for the newspaper industry, we are forging new ground and providing opportunities for Norfolk natives to use their skills and talents to create a newspaper the community can take pride in.”
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John Paul Zronik, the new regional director for Norfolk News, told J-Source that editorially, the paper will offer a mix of hard news and hyperlocal community coverage. As director of Metroland’s Brant group of publications, Zronik helped establish Brant News in 2009 along with Offless.
Former Brant News city hall reporter J.P. Antonacci has joined Norfolk News as its senior reporter and will be replaced by Victoria Gray, according to an article posted on Brant News. Katie Starr and Darryl G. Smart also joined the roster at Norfolk News.
Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.