The entire world has been taken over by a storm; a media storm. A revolution that has left us waiting with bated breath just ready to be swept aside. As time progresses we are caught in awe as each medium is updated and modified by subsequent changes. From the newspapers, internet, radio- all the forms of media bear testimony to these changes and if one was to analyze these changes against Canadian History, then further developments would be found.
As time becomes more and more priceless, man is caught in a race to be informative in the least amount of time.
Hence, the various forms of media have had to respond accordingly providing the rationale for the above changes. This paper will focus on the Canadian territory and a case of a newspaper that has faced recent difficulties due to these rapid developments of late.
Are newspapers really under threat and if yes, how serious is the threat? This pertinent would be the main cause for reflection and concern. Newspapers have always been the most common method used to disperse information due to the low cost, easy availability, greater geographical reach, and easier to translate for the purposes of reaching out to diverse backgrounds and communities as history has always shown. (Stephens).
However, as of recent this form has become a focal point for criticism and debate due to certain issues such as the fact that it is updated on a daily basis unlike on a minute-by-minute basis as is with online news reports.
This paper would focus on the case of a Canadian Newspaper; La Press, which is at present North America’s biggest French-language paper to date. The rationale behind this paper is the cause for so much debate and controversy is the fact that it might be shutting down in a few months due to cost issues. As was quoted in other news reports and news items, the Vice-President of this newspaper claimed that the management and union of the workers of this particular newspaper were trying to reach an agreement for several months.
The issue which needed to be resolved was regarding reducing the overall costs and the situation was found to be so dire that unless this was not put into immediate effect, the newspaper would have to shut down.
A serious threat for sure considering the fact that this newspaper has been circulating for more than 125 years and even the online version would not be able to survive this storm.
Quoting the Vice-President; Caroline Jamet: We’ve developed a strategy to permit La Presse to migrate towards a new model and have agreements in place with financial institutions for new financing. All that’s left is the part of the employees, it’s the only part left to complete the equation.” (Noronha, 2009).
Thus, raising significant questions over the future of such a newspaper which would have serious issues meeting the daily costs and expenditure associated with running this business unless the employees do not agree to this new agreement. Though the Vice-President did seem to express a positive attitude towards reaching a settlement with the employees, it seems that the overall profitable aspect of this newspaper has suffered majorly.
In order to rely so heavily on the employees’ means that this newspaper is clearly in the doldrums as far as its economic position is concerned.
The sort of incentives being offered to the employees by the Management included the end of the four-day workweek and the employees would have to give into hundred job cuts. Thereby, making the position for the employer and employee tough indeed. (Noronha, 2009)
One wonders over such recent developments and what happened to cause the collapse of such historic newspaper agencies. Was it time, economics, or simply the lack of managerial skills? Or was there another threat that had been threatening the demise for some time and had acted majorly as of recent? And if yes, then what possibly could have been such a threat, and could it preserve the future of the information-providing business.
All these questions are valid indeed especially when one looks at the case scenario of La Presse. La Presse is completely owned by the Power Corporation of Canada which is renowned for its newspaper, magazine, books publications, and even reports online. (Noronha, 2009)
If one was to diagnose the reasons for the sudden demise of La Presse then one would find such obvious ones such as the falling advertising revenues and the overall global recession. This recession had already hit major economic sectors and the newspaper industry of Canada had also fallen prey. (Noronha, 2009)
However, La Presse did attempt to show certain resilience by cutting back on its most expensive edition; the Sunday edition early this summer. According to a statement recorded of one of the famous faces of this newspaper, publisher Guy Crevier, had claimed that there was still hope that by reducing the costs of production by around 26 million Canadian dollars and an additional 13 million Canadian million dollars, the situation could be somewhat salvaged. (Noronha, 2009)
Just as the case has been for worldwide newspaper agencies, the same was for this one. Due to lack of financial credit availability, falling demand, rising cost prices the profitability took a major hit. The falling advertisements are more like a stake in the coffin of this agency which is still tottering to survive.
Thus, the above picture is not only bleak but quite disheartening for avid newspaper readers who have been reading newspapers as a habit for decades now. The newspaper holds much symbolic value as can be witnessed by its constant usage in films, books, plays, etc as the source for information. However, faced with such constraints the future of this medium seems dismal indeed.
As the number of people making use of this medium has started falling and the reason behind this is due to the availability of substitutes such as Online reports by News Channels, Online News Bulletins, etc which are updated on a minute-on-minute basis. These news bulletins can be easily accessed by anyone who lives in the vicinity of a net café, own a private computer, or works in a firm. In total, these online reports are accessible to all demeaning the value of these newspapers somewhere along the way.. (Rehmeyer, 2003)
Not only are Online News reports the alternative, but in fact the radio dailies are cheap and entertaining to a certain extent. Hence, these alternatives have made the monopolistic position of newspapers suffer majorly due to their alluring aspects and offerings.
If the above would happen as it is so predicted, that would mean that newspapers would ultimately have to face extinction or be used more as a last resort as has been the case with books over time. The use of the internet has reached new heights and hence, more and more people believe in reading the news from the updated online bulletins rather than waiting for the daily newspaper. (Rehmeyer, 2003)
This seems an upsetting concept indeed. Especially if one was to analyze the case of La Presse which despite being one of North America’s biggest newspapers is at the mercy of its employees- a scene which might become atypical for worldwide newspapers over a short period of time.
The future is unpredictable and La Presse might be able to reach an agreement with its employees but it would be a tough victory indeed to survive in a world that has much faster access to information. Hence, the newspapers would have to face revolution as was the case with the La Presse newspaper as its online version had to be introduced. Only through the use of such preservation policies can the newspapers even attempt to survive. Or just like books, they would be found in dusty libraries nothing more than ancient memories of days long forgotten.
Noronha, C. (2009)”Canada Newspaper threatens to cease Publication” Web.
Stephens, M “History of Newspapers,” Collier’s Encyclopedia
Rehmeyer, J.J. (2003)” Mapping a medusa: The Internet spreads its tentacles” Science News. Web.