The Whitehorse Daily Star has cut back publishing days to three from five times a week, which owner-publisher Jackie Pierce blames in part on the federal carbon tax she expects to increase the costs of production when it comes into effect July 1.
“It’s mainly in shipping and things like that that we’re going to notice (the carbon tax). We have to get everything shipped here from down below,” said Pierce, who has owned the newspaper since 2002. “If you think about it, we’re getting everything shipped up here, so our prices are going to go up — not just our prices here at the newspaper, but everyone’s.”
An impact analysis report by the Yukon government found there will likely not be huge effects on the territory’s economy, as consumers have been importing goods from provinces where carbon pricing systems have already been implemented.
“Efforts are currently being made to ensure that Yukon’s industries are not at a disadvantage when compared to industries in southern jurisdictions,” reads the report, which also notes the provincial commitment to return carbon tax revenues to consumers through rebates.
The print changes, which were explained in a March 1 post on the paper’s website, went into effect immediately, with the new publication schedule starting last Monday, March 4.
@WhitehorseStar modifies frequency of publication
The #Star will begin publishing #ThreeTimesAWeek on Monday because of tight economic conditions, owner-publisher Jackie Pierce said Thursday.#Whitehorse #Yukonhttps://t.co/MiimWnG024
— The Whitehorse Star (@WhitehorseStar) March 1, 2019
The Star discontinued the Tuesday and Thursday papers, which Pierce said make the least amount of money.
“I think newspapers are declining all over Canada, and in the States too, but what we’ve experienced here is that the Tuesday and Thursday papers are no longer viable for us to be printing because they’re costing us money,” said Pierce. “They were holding their own but now they’re not, so with newspaper prices, print and ink and everything, it’s just too expensive.”
Staff will not be impacted with this change, said Pierce. The company currently employs 17 full-time staff members as well as several part-time employees. The Star will continue to post daily news updates on its website.
This isn’t the first time in the Star’s nearly 120-year-old history that the company has had to cut back on publishing days, Pierce said.
In 1982, with the shutdown of numerous Yukon mines, as well as the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, the paper had to switch to three publishing days because of the loss to advertising sales. It returned to publishing five times a week in 1985, and has been doing so until now.
However, a report by the Conference Board of Canada stated the Yukon, which has high job vacancies and low unemployment, is anticipating a resurgence of mining in the region. With that will come local economic growth, more jobs and increased spending, which could potentially help the Star become daily again, said Pierce.
The report forecast gains of 6.2 per cent in Yukon’s economy. There will also be a $2.5-billion Casino mine that will be under construction by the mid-2020s.
The local economy is greatly affected by the mining industry, said Pierce, as it increases local spending and creates new jobs.
“If mining picks up, everything else picks up,” she said.