Uncovering corruption: The stories we’ll miss when local newspapers are gone – Home | Day 6

Friday December 01, 2017

Communities across Canada were left reeling on Monday as Postmedia and Torstar announced plans to shut down more than 30 small papers across Ontario, in addition to one in Winnipeg and another in Vancouver.

The reporters who showed up at work that morning — some after decades-long careers — found the lights turned off and the office doors locked.

“There’s going to be a lot of history that’s not written.”
– Chip Martin, former reporter and columnist, London Free Press

Many of the papers they worked for, including the St. Marys Journal-Argus and the Orillia Packet and Times, had been in operation since the 1800s.

“People are shocked in Orillia,” regional newspaper editor Nathan Taylor told As it Happens host Carol Off on Monday.

“We’re going to work every day … thinking about what’s happening today, and what we’re going to put in the paper tomorrow. So there was really no way to prepare for something like this.”

Roughly 290 people will lose their jobs as a result of this week’s shutdowns. But veteran reporters warn that the communities they served stand to lose a great deal more.


Local stories, national acclaim

Chip Martin knows what’s at stake as small newspapers close their doors in droves.

London Free Press columnist Chip Martin says many stories simply won’t be told in communities whose newspapers are shuttered. (Craig Glover)

Martin, a retired reporter-turned-columnist with the
London Free Press in London, Ont., worked with his community’s newspaper for 41 years.

In 2012, Martin broke a national story when he reported on the questionable financial dealings of then-London mayor Joe Fontana.

Martin’s reporting revealed that Fontana had used federal funds to help pay for his son’s wedding reception in 2005, while Fontana was a Liberal MP and cabinet minister.

The story sparked an RCMP investigation. In 2014, Fontana was convicted of fraud, forgery and breach of trust. He resigned from his post as London mayor shortly thereafter.

Martin agrees that the loss of yet more community newspapers across Canada will have a real impact on the stories that are — or are not — uncovered.

“With fewer papers, there’s fewer opportunities for this sort of thing to happen.”

As a historian, he…

Read the full article from the Source…

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