Day 6

Missing StarMetro: Who loses out when free daily newspapers shut down?

The Toronto Star's parent company is shutting down its free daily commuter newspapers in five Canadian cities. Adult literacy teacher Genna Buck says many marginalized communities depend on the papers and will struggle to fill the gap left behind.

'In a way they were kind of like a public service or a social justice project,' says adult literacy teacher

StarMetro announced on Wednesday that they plan on shutting down the paper across the country by mid-December. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

For Genna Buck, Wednesday's announcement that the free daily commuter newspapers StarMetro will close in December is more than just another bad news story about the death of print media.

"Even though Metro and other free daily newspapers were a product that was designed to be sold to advertisers — in a way they were kind of like a public service or a social justice project. And that's just not going to be around anymore."

She is a former journalist for Metro — the newspaper's brand name until 2018 when it was renamed StarMetro — and she looks back at her years working at the paper with pride and joy.

Genna Buck is a former Metro journalist and adult literacy teacher at West Neighbourhood House in Toronto. (Jason Vermes/CBC)

Buck, who now works in the non-profit and social services sector, is also a volunteer adult literacy teacher who has witnessed first hand how vitally important free dailies are for people in marginalized communities.

"I think the people who will feel this loss are the people who don't have access to news in other ways. People who are in the shelter system, in drop-ins, in senior centres, new Canadians — and people who may have some barriers to literacy."

To hear more from Genna Buck, download our podcast or click Listen above.


  • A previous version of this story stated that Genna Buck works as a social worker. In fact, she works in the social services and not-profit sector.
    Nov 23, 2019 1:58 PM ET