The Glengarry News, a community newspaper which has published weekly since 1892, is closing its doors.
Staff were told about the closure on Friday, September 8, according to sources.
“This is definitely a sad day,” said North Glengarry Mayor Jamie MacDonald. “They are the keeper of our history and it’s where people go for local sports scores and local news. From a council point of view, they cover what happens at council meetings,” MacDonald said, adding that although meetings are broadcast on Youtube, people don’t necessarily watch them.
“The newspaper is important for the future,” MacDonald said, adding that the announcement might not mean the end of the Glengarry News.
In the wake of the announcement, the townships of North and South Glengarry have called an in-camera (not open to the public) emergency meeting on September 14 at 5 pm to discuss the situation.
“We hope we will be able to do something; we know there are people in the community who want to help. The municipalities definitely don’t want to buy a newspaper, but our two municipalities have a good working relationship,” said MacDonald, mentioning the idea of finding investors as well as a way forward.
“People subscribe to the News because they want to keep up with what is happening in Glengarry; the newspaper is people’s connection to Glengarry.
The Glengarry News recently launched a new website, marking a change to a dot-org website. For more than a century, the newspaper has covered news in North and South Glengarry and to this day, included weekly columns from correspondents throughout the county.
According to to its website, The Glengarry News was founded in 1892 and has not missed a week of publication. For almost the first 100 years The News had only two editor-publishers, its founder and president Col. A.G.F. Macdonald, a citizen-soldier who raised and led overseas in World War I the 154th Battalion, and his son Eugene Macdonald.
One of Eugene’s sons, Neil Macdonald, has carried on as president of the publication, and cited the loss of national ad revenue which began during the pandemic as a major factor in continuing, unsustainable losses.
The closure highlights the challenges facing small-town media organizations and urban dailies, as governments and national advertisers move to digital buys using Google and Facebook as their main advertising tools. Last month, Meta–which owns Facebook–began blocking Canadian organizations from Facebook and Instagram in reaction to Bill C-18, which would require tech giants Google and Meta to pay for the Canadian news they host and share on their platforms. It is estimated that 80% of all ad revenue in Canada, or almost C$10 billion ($7.5 billion) in 2022, went to Google and Facebook.
Staff at the Glengarry News unionized in 2008; eight employees are covered under a current collective agreement. Terms in the collective agreement will be respected; union meetings will take place in the coming weeks.