Eight reporters to be hired at newspapers in northern Ontario thanks to federal funding
Second round of funding in five-year program is now underway
After years of layoffs, newspapers in northern Ontario are hiring and it's thanks to federal government tax dollars.
They've been awarded grants under the Local Journalism Initiative created by Heritage Canada.
John Hinds, president of News Media Canada which is overseeing the fund, says he can't disclose the amount of each grant, but it is a maximum of $60,000.
"None of this money goes to operating or overheard or anything else. It goes to providing stories and covering stories in those communities," he says.
Hinds says a total of $2 million has been distributed to news outlets in Ontario in this first round of funding under the five-year program.
In northern Ontario that includes:
- Northern Life —Greater Sudbury reporter covering diversity, cultural sharing and cultural learning
- Sudbury Star — Elliot Lake/Espanola reporter
- Thunder Bay Source —Thunder Bay Court reporter
- Timmins Daily Press —Timmins/Kirkland Lake reporter
- Temiskaming Speaker — Englehart/Temagami/Elk Lake reporter
- Sault Star — Sault Ste. Marie and Area reporter
- Fort Frances Times — Rainy River District First Nations reporter
- North Bay Nugget — Highway 11 Corridor reporter
Some of the six new reporters in the northeast will be tasked with covering areas of the region where their companies have cut positions, such as Postmedia, which landed grants to cover Elliot Lake, Espanola and Kirkland Lake, communities where it has cut staff at weekly newspapers.
"At the end of the day, it's about making sure that the citizens in those communities have access to high quality journalism," says Hinds, adding that applications for the second round of grants are now being received.
"Obviously the business models that newspapers have been working under are challenged and continue to be challenged. I don't think this is a silver bullet. I think it helps."
The photos and articles these reporters produce will be made available to any news outlets through a public portal, which Hinds says will be run by the Canadian Press.