Oh, man. I hate the internet. I hate social media. I hate the 21st century.
The York-City Centre Neighbourhood Voice—which I still know as the Guardian—is folding, along with the North York and Scarborough Mirrors.
Nominally, they are moving online, but they are redeploying staff and will no longer print the paper (which, I imagine, provided the bulk of their advertising revenues).
We’re sad to announce today’s issue of the @YCCNV will be our last.
It’s been great telling your stories. pic.twitter.com/4wKGDUdRUP
— York – City Centre Neighbourhood Voice (@YCCNV) April 16, 2020
Community papers all across the country have been in decline for a decade, and roughly 200 have closed. The reasons are simple: writing is expensive, but internet ads are cheap. For example, to hire one full-time journalist at poverty wages would take about 10 times as many visits as we get on WestonWeb—and I think we are successful little site.
A death spiral looms. Nobody will visit a site if it doesn’t publish regularly, and nobody can publish regularly without (by my calculations) about 500,000 annual visitors. It’s hard to see InsideToronto pulling out of this nosedive. The math just no longer makes sense.
That’s great for advertisers, but a tragedy for journalists, and the people who depend on them.
And make no mistake: we all depend on journalists, even small-town, underpaid, and over-worked journalists. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, but the prospect of being dragged into the light is the best deterrent. Community newspapers provided that deterrent, and their loss is our loss.
I know we might be accused of helping putting a hobnail in the coffin of the newspapers—after all, Roy and I work for free. But honestly, I don’t think that’s the case, and I’d be sad if it were. Obviously, almost nobody reads us. But also, I’d like to think that we had a synergy with the established papers. We always linked rather than copied, and we publish all of our material with a public domain license so that it’s free for the taking.