It was the first Sunday I didn’t have my favourite newspaper to read. The Calgary Herald had decided to stop publishing the Sunday edition starting August 5.
Out of habit, I woke up and opened my front door to pick the paper, but there was no paper. I was disappointed because it was my daily ritual to pick up the paper every morning and have my first cup of tea while reading it. Now I have to drink my cup of tea without the paper.
As a staunch newspaperman, I even buy newspapers when I am traveling or on vacation. It’s a habit that I have formed and cannot get rid of it so easily. I have read English newspapers in countries from Singapore to Sydney to quench my thirst for news and information.
My favourite destination for newspapers is London, England. Whenever I am in London, it was a treat for me to read Sunday British newspapers. I would wake up early to get the Observer, the Guardian and the Sunday Times and retire in a comfortable sofa to read them. By the time the rest of the household is up, I would have finished the main and important sections of the newspapers. This British tradition of publishing Sunday papers has also been transplanted to former British colonies in Africa and Asia, with the result that most of the countries have thriving Sunday readership.
A couple, who is our traveling companions on most of our holidays, often get annoyed when they see me searching for a newspaper stand to buy the paper while we are in the middle of vacationing somewhere.
” You are on vacation. Can’t you do without reading a newspaper for a few days?” they would ask. The answer is a big no.
I have friends who can be classified among the educated people in our society. Some of them are lawyers and doctors and I am amazed to note that they don’t subscribe to any newspapers. When I questioned them about their reasons for not subscribing to the daily newspaper, I was informed that they get all their news from television. I have nothing against our friends in the glamorous media but come on, there is no way one can get the in-depth news and analysis that newspapers provide. News on TV or radio is a one or two sentence clip. That’s the extent of their news reporting.
Post Media recently announced jobs cuts and plans to stop publishing Sunday editions in three of the chain’s largest newspapers, the Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen. “Three of our newspapers [in] Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa will stop producing a Sunday edition,” CEO Paul Godfrey said in a memo to staff.
Commenting on the announcement, Chris Dornan, associate professor of journalism at Carleton University told CBC News, that it is a “significant move.” “Clearly now what’s happening is that the costs associated with actually publishing a paper-and-ink edition of a newspaper is becoming so burdensome that the newspaper industry is trying to rid itself of costs.
The problem for newspapers, said Dornan, is that the industry is at a transition. It’s cheaper to publish digital editions, but much of the marketplace still isn’t willing to make that move.
“Advertisers are not willing to pay the same advertising rates for electronic distribution as they are for the physical artifact. The industry, Dornan said, “is saddled with two simultaneous expenses. Not only do they have to produce a paper-and-ink version, their also have to produce a digital one.”
Post Media, which was founded just over two years ago out of the restructured newspaper assets of the former Canwest publishing chain, recorded a net loss was $11.1 million in the three months ended Feb. 29.
The Calgary Herald laid off about one third of its newsroom employees. According to Editor-in-Chief Lorne Motley, 30 jobs have been cut across the board in the editorial department involving writers, photographers, sports and editors.
The move is part of Post Media’s plan to centralize production of its newspapers in Hamilton, he said. National pages will be produced there while the papers across the country concentrate on local news, Motley said.
I can sympathize with the Herald’s decision to discontinue their Sunday edition. As a former newspaper publisher, I know the trends in the publishing industry are changing faster than anyone can imagine. Newspapers are folding in Canada and the U.S. left and right and most of publishing companies have to think of ways to stay afloat. That’s today’s reality.
However, I personally am sad at the demise of the Sunday edition. I miss the Sunday Herald. Sundays will not be the same without my favourite daily. I guess I’ll have to have my cup of tea with an alternative newspaper.