Town Crier employees buy the newspaper and prepare for September relaunch
When Multimedia Nova, the parent company that owned Toronto’s Town Crier newspapers, went under in May, several employees banded together to buy the newspaper and are gearing up for a September relaunch.
By Tamara Baluja
When Multimedia Nova, the parent company that owned Toronto’s Town Crier newspapers, went under in May, several employees banded together to buy the newspaper and are now gearing up for a relaunch in September.
“Despite the parent company’s difficulties, the Town Crier newspapers continued to be supported by readers and advertisers,” said editor-in-chief Eric McMillan, who heads up the transition team in a statement. “The papers have always been self-sufficient.
The Town Crier was founded in the late 1970s as a small monthly newspaper in Toronto and
it expanded to 10 editions for Bayview Mills, Beach-South Riverdale, Riverdale-East York, Bloor West, Forest Hill, Leaside-Rosedale, North Toronto, North York, midtown and downtown Toronto.
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As far as McMillan is concerned, the interruption in publication was a “brief hiatus.”
Six former staffers, including the company’s national sales director Jennifer Gardiner and business manager Kathy Kerluke, are now joint-owners of the newly formed Streeter Publications. Another six former employees are also involved in operations.[node:ad]
“We [the former staff] saw the end coming for the company and that it was falling apart,” McMillan told J-Source. “We considered the alternatives and we decided to continue the newspaper on our own.”
McMillan refused to divulge how much the Town Crier was purchased for.
“It was a lot less than what it was worth previously, but we knew its true value,” McMillan said. “We all just wanted the newspaper to continue.”
McMillan said he was one of the first full-time employees of the Town Crier in 1981 and had worked for the newspaper on and off for several years.
He said the newspaper will continue with the same design to start off and will maintain its focus on hyperlocal news and sports coverage. It will, however, welcome more submissions from readers and engage in more citizen journalism and community engagement projects.
The Town Crier offices have moved from the industrial-park locale of its former owners to mid-town Toronto.
The relaunch will include editions with 25,000 copies each for Forest Hill, Leaside-Rosedale and North Toronto. Later in the month, 60,000 copies of a separate Midtown edition will be circulated. McMillan said Streeter Publications eventually plans to bring back the other editions as well.
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.