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The Independent ceases publication in Halton Hills

Yesterday's print edition of the Independent and Free Press was the last one to be distributed in the community as Metroland abruptly moves its weekly papers to a digital-only model while seeking bankruptcy protection
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The Independent and Free Press, published by Metroland Media, a division of Nordstar Capital LP, has ceased print publication with this week’s edition.

It is among 71 community weeklies in Ontario that the company is closing down as part of a court filing announced Friday, Sept. 15, aimed at protecting its assets from creditors. Some 600 employees have received notices of termination, and will not receive severance.

The company is also exiting the advertising flyer distribution business.

A statement provided by the company’s media department reads (in part): “The media industry continues to face existential challenges, largely because digital tech giants have used their dominant positions to take the vast majority of the advertising revenue in Canada. The decline of the print and flyer distribution business was significantly accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and by the reduction of flyer usage both by readers and advertisers as a marketing vehicle.”

Metroland’s six daily papers will continue publication.

In a letter to readers posted on the Independent and Free Press website, Lee Ann Waterman, Metroland Media Editorial Vice President, said that Metroland’s weeklies were moving to a digital-only format.

“We are confident this restructuring will make Metroland a sustainable business moving forward. It is a sad day for me personally, as I know it is for Metroland journalists and those who worked beside us to bring the news to your doorstep.”

The newspaper industry has been decimated in recent years as digital advertising ate into print advertising revenues, which newspapers depended on to survive. The Globe & Mail reported today that between 2008 and April 2021, around 448 news operations have shut down in 323 communities, according to the Canadian Media Directors’ Council, an industry association.

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Dave Burket

About the Author: Dave Burket

Dave Burket is Editor of PelhamToday. Dave is a veteran writer and editor who has worked in radio, print, and online in the US and Canada for some 40 years.
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