British Columbia

Stop the presses: Westender newspaper to close down after 68 years

A former columnist says the paper's demise is a loss for local media, the arts scene and freelance writers.

'These losses in local print are not without consequences,' says former columnist

The Westender tweeted out this collection of covers when announcing its imminent closure. (@WestenderVan/Twitter)

A familiar voice on the Vancouver media landscape will soon disappear.

The Westender, which bills itself as the city's longest running arts and entertainment weekly, will publish its final edition next week.

"For 68 years the Westender newspaper has had the privilege of coming into your homes and your hands, your commutes and your coffee shop visits," an article on its website reads.

"We'd like to thank both our readers and clients for sharing your stories, milestones, rants and raves with us over the decades. You have been an invaluable part of the Westender community, both in print and online."

Alvin Brouwer of Glacier Media, the company which has owned the paper for the last four years, says the paper simply wasn't profitable.

"It's never made money. So we've tried valiantly over the last four years to turn it around," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. "We were getting close but not close enough."

Staff move to new jobs

Brouwer says the paper's closing is a loss for arts and culture coverage in Vancouver, but added the Vancouver Courier, another Glacier paper, does more community news coverage.

He promised all seven Westender staff would move to different jobs within Glacier Media, but wasn't sure what future — if any — the paper's contributors would have with his company.

One former contributor, Steve Burgess, who is also a former CBC broadcaster, said he was concerned about the impact for freelance writers in the city, and the arts scene the paper covered.

"You lose local resources when you lose publications that pay people to cover local arts," Burgess said. "These losses in local print are not without consequences. The local scene is going to suffer."

Brouwer says while other Glacier papers — including the Courier — are presently doing well, his company is seeking new revenue streams to keep them that way.

The final edition of the Westender will be published Dec. 21.

Listen to the full interview with Alvin Brouwer:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast