Northumberland Hub to shut down

On 27 November 2017, Northumberland Today shut down and left a big gap in local News coverage in Cobourg and Northumberland.  Although Northumberland News continued, it only publishes once a week so the rest of the week was left without any coverage.  So John Miller started a group to see what could be done.  The first step was a Town Hall meeting on 20 March 2018 which 160 people attended.  Since John was away, Rob Washburn stepped in to lead discussion.  Although it was apparent that most people wanted a restoration of a daily printed newspaper, it  was apparent that the only option was some form of online service.  Fifteen sites were identified as providing local news so the concept of a “News Hub” was developed.

Rob Washburn at Town Hall Meeting
Rob Washburn at Town Hall Meeting

The intent was to help people find these sites and then go to their favourite directly. The idea was implemented with a new web site ( ) and a new subscription mailing list that would provide daily highlights from the hub but with links directly to the source sites.  The service started September 2018 but has now announced that it will shut down February 15, 2019.

Unfortunately, visitor statistics plus a survey showed that “the need for these tools has faded”.  In addition the group’s resources have dwindled. In the 4 months since October, the work on this project was done by a student of the Loyalist College Journalism and Communications program. The grant, which covers this person’s salary, has run out.

The site will continue for at least several months but everyone is encouraged to bookmark their own favourite news source (I’d suggest you’ll need several).  Northumberland News is also working towards providing online daily coverage.

You can see the main online news sources at this link.  These sites vary in what they do; for example most cover all of Northumberland. Most also survive on advertising and a few accept donations.


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Walter L. Luedtke
13 February 2019 10:01 am

Opinions differ on the extent of the demise of local newspapers.
In the US, “daily and weekly newspapers in small cities and towns continue to thrive even while newspapers in large metro areas disappear or shrink.
Some boast cutting-edge websites and take in as much or even more revenue from digital than print. Others still focus mostly on print. Whether in print or on the web, local newspapers provide what readers want but no one else provides: news about their community.”
So perhaps one should look at the bean counters at Torstar and Postmedia for why our local papers are either dead or on life support!

manfred s
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
13 February 2019 10:48 am

“law of diminishing returns” Walter. The big players buy up the little fish to capture their ad revenues and eventually realize the reinvestment required to sustain that revenue stream renders the marginal income too low. Economics dictates one of two things must happen. Either sell more advertising or spend less to deliver it. Selling more and delivering it over more distribution systems dilutes the already lower margins even further so they cut their losses and close satellite offices. It’s really never been about the “news”, which is just their commodity in trade. The smart phone has killed the news cycle … permanently, I’m afraid. New generations bring irreversible change, as history teaches us.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  manfred s
13 February 2019 11:31 am

ahhh Manfred.
Ever the realist, but I do remember Foster Russell who ages ago owned the Cobourg Star.
He though of himself as a “Community Publisher” and he was a public figure of note.
We will not see the likes of him again.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
13 February 2019 2:29 pm

He owned the Cobourg Sentinel Star when I worked for him. The name changed after Dr James Johnson bought it

manfred s
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
13 February 2019 11:56 pm

unfortunately that is a foregone conclusion Walter. Such people keep true to a social conscience while striving to make a living doing something they believe in. This is not in the playbook of the big leagues.

Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
13 February 2019 1:45 pm

“So perhaps one should look at the bean counters at Torstar and Postmedia for why our local papers are either dead or on life support!”

Perhaps we should be looking to the courts for this answer after all on the surface it reeks of a shutdown based on the ability to limit competition – even the competition bureau is looking seriously at this shutdown.

13 February 2019 9:06 am

The Hub will be missed. It’s been a great way to start the day.