With the closing of Northumberland Today and with Northumberland News only published once a week, Cobourg residents are looking for alternative sources of daily local news. About 160 people came to a public meeting on 20 March 2018 and a group was subsequently formed to try to do something about it. The result has been Northumberland Hub – a web site that provides links to the latest local news reports. The intent is to help people find online news sources. Although local news is now covered quite well, it’s more scattered and you have to work at getting all the same information.
The situation with traditional newspapers seems to get worse each year with many of them moving online and even shutting down altogether. Recently, the Trudeau Government offered financial support for local News sources including support of a not-for-profit business model. I’d be surprised if our sole printed paper operated the same way a year from now but I’m sure it will continue in some fashion.
As outlined below, there are quite a number of online sources – these depend on sponsorships and advertising or simply provide the service on a volunteer basis.
At right is a graphic pointing to the current main sources – here is some more detail.
Cobourg News Blog – this site and covers only Cobourg. Although there is a full range of topics including Council news, most community and entertainment events are delegated to a separate entertainment calendar. There is typically one post every two days although breaking news can be more often. There is minimal Google advertising. You can subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by email subscription. Volunteer based.
Northumberland News Part of the Torstar group, it publishes a free newspaper every Thursday which covers all of Northumberland with a full range of topics. They employ two professional journalists and multiple other staff. They also have an online site updated most days. They have a large amount of advertising and there is an online events calendar. You can get notifications of new posts by email subscription. Site access and notifications are currently free.
Today’s Northumberland Operated by professional journalist and photographer Pete Fisher. News is primarily Cobourg centric but does include other locations in Northumberland. Police and Sports news are well covered. There is some advertising but I’d guess not enough to make a living on.
Northumberland 89.7 FM – A Radio station covering West Northumberland, it also has a web site with news articles by professional journalist Cecilia Nasmith. She does this as a volunteer just like most of the staff for this station.
Cobourg Now Jay Robinson operates the site as a commercial operation. Jay solicits sponsors and advertising with the plea that without them, he could not continue. Each Northumberland location is on a separate page. Articles generally do not include Council news or much police News. There are multiple paid contributors although the amounts paid are small.
My FM 93.3 and 107.9 – A large commercial Radio Station company with two web sites with identical news – here is one. They cover all of Northumberland with a full range of topics and have an online events calendar. There is some advertising. You can subscribe to get notifications of new posts by email.
Consider This A news blog operated by Rob Washburn, Professor of Journalism at Loyalist College. He covers a range of topics although posts are not very frequent. The site does include commentary and has no advertising. You can subscribe to get notifications of new posts by email.
Cobourg Media This site is operated by student Graham Beer. He covers just Cobourg and has a limited number of articles with no advertising.
Your TV – Cogeco’s Community brand. As well as TV programming, you can see many of their videos online. There is an Events Calendar and no advertising. Their You-Tube channel is here. There is no written news.
Northumberland Hub This is a site operated by Volunteers with some help from Loyalist College. Each week day, headlines and lead photos from the above sites are added to this site. So far over 1800 items have been posted – just photos and headlines, no articles as such. You click on the links to go directly to the source article. Since the above sites cover all of Northumberland, the Hub does too. There is no advertising. You can subscribe to get notifications of new posts by email.
If you find web sites that provide news that you like, be sure to sign up for their subscriptions and/or bookmark their URLs. The Hub will not continue indefinitely since it’s only intended to educate on where to find local news. It’s not possible to accurately predict how long any of these sites will continue although some extrapolation is possible. The sites connected to the Radio and TV station will likely continue since they are not stand-alone. Cobourg Now is a commercial operation and it will likely only continue if it proves to be a good business although that may take some time. It depends on advertising revenue. Likewise the remaining Newspaper could well take measures to ensure it’s a viable business. This could include moving to paid subscriptions and adding a “paywall” to its online news.
If you want to get announcements from the Town of Cobourg, the best bet is to subscribe to one or more of their newsletters (see link below). John Henderson plans to introduce a new web page dedicated to news from him. He also hopes it will be interactive. Stay tuned.
- Good Turnout at Town Hall on Local News 20 March 2018
- Links to news sites here.
- Subscribe to Town of Cobourg’s Newsletters
Update 5 Dec 2018
Torstar today announced that access to the Northumberland News website will require registration and login to access. Further they said “Registration for free, limited-time access to the latest important local news, opinions and insight is easy. Later, your continued access will require a paid subscription.” It’s already happening!