Windsor Star shutting down Monday digital and print editions, no jobs affected
Advertising dollars have dwindled because of Facebook and Google, says union representative
The longstanding Windsor newspaper is ending its Monday circulation starting March 4.
In a notice published in the Windsor Star, managing editor Craig Pearson wrote the change is reflective of the "changing media landscape in North America."
Windsor Star's newsroom union representative with Unifor Local 240, Doug Schmidt, said in an email there are no layoffs associated with this change in publishing schedule, but it's reflective of the market pressures on mainstream media.
He said advertising revenues are "being cut into by web giants like Facebook and Google, who share our stories for free without contributing to the cost of the work required to generate those stories."
Chris Waddell, professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, said print advertising at Postmedia, which owns the paper, has been on a consistent decline.
"Related to that, digital advertising has not produced the sort of revenue that they had hoped it would produce," he said.
Waddell explained advertisers can purchase ads that are cheaper and more targeted when they go through Facebook and Google, because those platforms know so much about the audiences companies want to reach.
Changing times for journalists
These changing times also mean journalists can't exclusively be a newspaper reporter or a radio reporter anymore, said Veronique Mandal, a former Windsor Star reporter who is now a coordinator at the St. Clair College journalism program.
Journalism students at the college learn how to work with a variety of media, according to Mandal, which can be difficult for some older journalists who are forced to catch up with changing times.
"Now you're looking ahead and thinking, well if I have to get another job, who's going to hire me when I'm in my fifties, and is it worth me getting retrained," she said.
"And so it becomes a very very difficult situation for them, and I feel really badly for people who have not adapted."
Is the discontinuation of Monday's paper the first of many cuts? Mandal said the trajectory isn't looking good.
She said Postmedia needs to be "willing to put money into [the paper]" to keep it "maintained in this community."
"But the problem is, the advertisers have gone away," said Mandal.
The vice president of communications at Postmedia, Phyllise Gelfand, said in an email that even though the printed edition will be discontinued, the website "will continue to be updated regularly."
The newspaper's note also reassures readers that none of the news features, crosswords or comics will be gone and there will not be a change in subscription price.
The last Monday edition of the Windsor Star will be published Feb. 25.
With files from Sonya Varma and Flora Pan