Friday, January 27, 2012

The local News Group newspapers

In this region we have the Times-Colonist as a daily but we also have our community newspapers.   All of our local newspapers are owned by the Black Press.

We have:

Just outside of the CRD we have the following

What we have is one company having more or less all of the local weekly papers under their control.   Since there are other media, this is not a media monopoly, but it certainly does mean a lot of control of the small scale community news.

I can not see all of the papers in print because you only get the one delivered for your area.   I get the Victoria News and across the street they get the Saanich News.   I also really do not want to get all of the papers with their mountain of flyers, but I would like to quickly review them to see if there is anything interesting happening elsewhere in the region.

In the past it was not hard to quickly read the headlines for each local paper, if you look at the format of the Saanich News from April of 2003, the news from the Saanich News is a list of headlines sorted by date.  I used to quickly be able to read what has happening in this region and throughout BC with this format, but the Black Press changed their format to make that much harder.

It has become very hard for me to see what the news is from any of our local papers because there is so much news from other papers coming up in the feed for the local paper.  In going through seven local papers, it seems that 80% of the stories are the same ones.   It means I have to dig to find the ones that are different.  I end up being behind on what is happening in this region.

I am gripping about this now because Monday Magazine has also gone over to this format, though their feed still seems to be only Monday Magazine stories.

So what does one do when one company controls the flow of information locally and makes it hard for people to find out things?   I can only assume it reduces the traffic to their sites but this might be masked by the general increase in online traffic.

I do not own the papers and I have to assume they are doing what they think works best for them to get revenue.   I assume that the flyers that are delivered with the papers is what pays the freight and makes the papers profitable.  That could certainly make the case for not wanting a lot of the readership to be online.

As a response, some people have started online papers:

  • Sooke Voice News - they do print a four page newspaper every week, it feels like an attempt to start some serious competition to the Sooke News Mirror.  I do read their stuff because I do learn more about what is happening in Sooke
  • Saanich Voice Online - they print once a month and seem to rely primarily on their online component.   They also do not seem to have much "news" as such.  No more than a a few articles per month and very few of them tell you anything that is news.  I have more or less stopped reading their stuff because it does not offer me much new.
I would like to see some sort of well edited local online newspaper that focuses on community news.   I am not about to start it and I have no idea if it could be made to pay. 

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