Canwest papers: break em up and let local values thrive

Many stories on an effort to buy just three CanWest dailies: Toronto (aka The “National” Post), Ottawa and Montreal, as well as rumors of Alberta’s sovereign wealth fund wanting to buy the two Alberta dailies, and Jimmy (The Ax) Pattison buying the BC dailies. CanWest (why does it even have a voice in this?) is saying it wants to sell the papers as a block to build on those wonderful synergies that have resulted in bankruptcy. I say break em up, get out of the national/monopolistic mode, and go back to the Southam model: local papers run as independent entities reflecting local values, with some sharing of news/features when it makes sense. This might be a golden opportunity for Canadian newspapers to reflect their local characteristics, not the national ones directed from Winnipeg (why, for example, should two pages of the business section of my local CanWest paper, the Leader Post, be a goddamn reprint from the previous day’s Financial Post?) And they wonder why people aren’t reading them.

Toronto Star, January 18 2010

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