By Gerry Barker
May 11, 2020
The following are is a part excerpts from the guelphspeaks files, January 26, 2016
Fallout from the Mercury closing still reverberates through the community
The impact of the closing of Guelph’s daily newspaper flies in the face of the city’s claims that Guelph is Number One in Canada for jobs. It bolsters the argument that Guelph’s large number of civil servants who depend on the public purse, skews the claims that the city is number one in terms of jobs.
Truth: Guelph’s assessment ratio between residential and commercial/industrial has not changed since 2007 rating 84/16. Claiming leadership in creating jobs does not pay the bills but property assessment determines the revenue the city receives.
The 2014 election results spawned changes in the operation of the Mercury. Monitoring the diminishing advertising linage over a few months, it was apparent that the newspaper was financially hurting. A basic problem was the lack of local advertising that was placed in the twice-a-week Guelph Tribune.
Guelphspeaks saw the writing on the wall and predicted the closing of the Mercury in 2014.
We’ll miss the Merc, a paper that reported and commented on the life of our city six days a week.
This has created a giant news-hole that will be gone forever.
The decision fell directly on TorStar, owners of both the Tribune and Mercury.
What happened in Guelph four years ago is now happening to the Toronto Star that is facing diminishing advertising linage and has been selling assets to cover its news operations.
The Internet and the social media giants are eating the newspaper’s lunch by siphoning advertising from the print media. As a retired newspaperman , I am fearful of the demise of a great newspaperWelcome to publishing’s Age of Aquarius.
This happened four years ago in Guelph when Metroland publishing, owned by Torstar, exchanged a six day a week daily newspaper for a twice a week tabloid that enlarged its puppet role as subservient to the city administration.
The guardian of the public trust is dead and the torch is handed to the Internet and social media to exploit.
Folks, truth and open government have left the building.
Using public money, the city paid the Mercury Tribune a fat advertising contract for publishing “City News” that is not news at all but is paid advertising.
The M-T also dropped its Tuesday edition and now publishes Thursday, loaded with advertising inserts. Besides it free.
As I am in the December of my years, I feel like a Model T in the age of computerized SUV’s.
Regardless, the important thing is to demand the truth and accountability of the administration.
I will continue monitoring city hall and commenting on how they are communicating and being transparent.
Meanwhile, I will kick back and pretend I’m watching the Leafs and Raptors while I sip my Martini.
Ye gads! That’s the last of the gin!