In an announcement today, Metroland Media said that they have “sought bankruptcy protection and will cease the print publication of its weekly community newspapers across Ontario, moving to an online-only model”. That means that the 14 September print edition of Northumberland News was its last edition. Distribution of flyers with the paper will also stop. Daily newspapers like the Peterborough Examiner and the Toronto Star will continue to operate. The announcement said that “the move involves 605 layoffs, nearly two-thirds of the workforce” although there is no word on how many are affected at the Cobourg office. Because “the Company does not have sufficient funds … no termination or severance pay will be paid”. Further, “according to a breakdown of the jobs affected, 104 unionized employees, including 68 journalists have been laid off, with the rest coming from non-unionized job categories.”
Approximately 65 newspapers are affected in Southern Ontario.
The announcement said that the company is exiting the flyer business which included printing as well as distributing flyers. They also produce and print multiple magazines but there’s no word on that although I would not be hopeful. In addition there’s a parcel delivery business but since it’s not mentioned, it’s likely to continue.
The company said that:
Metroland has faced substantial declines in both print advertising and the flyer business over the past several years, to the point where the community newspaper business is no longer viable in printed form. We simply don’t have the financial resources required to fund large, sustained operating losses indefinitely.
The decline of the print and flyer distribution business was significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by the reduction of flyer usage both by readers and advertisers as a marketing vehicle.
This shut-down continues a trend with the most recent event being the shut down of Northumberland Today in November 2017. In reporting on this event, Cobourg Blog said:
Northumberland Today was originally a number of separate newspapers covering Port Hope and Colborne as well as Cobourg. The Cobourg paper was the Cobourg Star and (as far as I can tell), was founded in 1831. The Cobourg Sentinel ran independently from 1861-1879 then merged with the Star in 1880 to become the Cobourg Sentinel-Star (1880-1972), the Cobourg Star (1973-1976) and the Cobourg Daily Star (1977-Feb. 2009). The Cobourg World ran from 1864 -1948. The Star changed to Northumberland Today as of February 2009.
The good news is that the paper will continue online. And of course there are plenty of other online news sources.
- Northumberland News online
- Northumberland Today to Shut Down – 27 November 2017
- Getting News in Cobourg – A Cobourg Blog report – 2 September 2023