CanWest Global announced Wednesday they'll be cutting 560 jobs, or 5% of their workforce. Some of the finest people I know work for CanWest, and I hope they're okay.
Further says the CP, "The company will also cut the physical size of some newspapers to reduce costs and focus efforts on expanding digital media operations."
That sounds dismal and calls to mind CanWest's failed Dose commuter tabloid, the horridness of commuter tabloids in general, and usually awful programming on so-called specialty cable.
Commuter tabloids are generally barely worth what you pay for them, unless it's raining and you need something to put between your dry pants and a wet bench on the bus. And don't get me started on their columnists--all of them--but, hey, I like to imagine that since they write for a publication that's handed out for free, the columnists are probably writing on a volunteer-basis, and so I try to cut them a bit of slack.
CanWest has never really had a good grasp on what makes a good newspaper, though the full blame for the National Post can't really be laid entirely at their feet. What people want in a local newspaper, meanwhile, seems so obvious: quality local content. And yet that's what always seems to go on the chopping block whenever convergence rears its head. There are hundreds of places to get national and international news, but there will always be demand for a good local daily newspaper--even in the digital age. With the whole planet at our fingertips online, communities need to know about and see themselves that much more.
Case in point: the two federal elections this fall. Okay, fair enough, the US election was genuinely exciting and historic on a number of levels. But I was appalled at how little heat the Canadian election generated (and obviously, that was part of Harper's gameplan in calling the vote amid the billion-dollar fervour of the US campaign) among Canadians. This shit matters. A lot more than Tina Fey in a bad blazer. But the media seemed just as disinterested in the Canadian election as, well, the nearly 41% of Canadians who didn't even bother voting.
mp3: "Folksong Oblivion" by the Phantom Band