Ask the People - Western Star joins SaltWire

Published on April 15, 2017

Darren Park, Cox’s Cove - I hope it brings more stories locally rather than all over the world. We’re not concerned about what happens all over the world … we’re concerned about what happens locally. I hope nobody gets hit by this by losing their job. We can’t afford to lose any more jobs in Newfoundland, let alone Corner Brook. I just hope it all works out for the employees and management.

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Gerry Byrne, MHA for Corner Brook - The Western Star and the media in general are very important instruments within our community. They provide us with insight, with news and with commentary. They are a reflection of what our community is and what are priorities. I’m concerned, and will be expressing my concern, that the sale should not result in a further concentration of media in Newfoundland and Labrador. It would be my opinion that the sale should be examined by the Competition Bureau to ensure there is not an undue concentration of media and that The Western Star continues to be published. While it’s two different issues, there has been a reduction in media presence in Newfoundland and Labrador. CFCB recently partially closed its newsroom. It doesn’t have as active a newsroom as what it did before and now CFCB has become VOCM. As part of this sale, if the new owners were to consider amalgamating or blending The Telegram and The Western Star, I think that would be a great loss to western Newfoundland. When, for example, CFCB was sold to VOCM, to the Steele Group, the Competition Bureau did put in restrictions and requirements that had to be met. Media is becoming more concentrated and with this sale we don’t know what the new owners may anticipate, and we welcome them to western Newfoundland, but the Star should not be allowed to close.

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Sheldon Peddle, President, Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade - In an email to the Star, Peddle said the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade would want to learn more details of the purchase and its potential implications than are currently available before deciding whether or not to comment.

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Bernard Pennell, Benoit’s Cove - I was worried that we were going to lose it when I heard, and I said it would be a sin to lose a good newspaper like that. I think we’re losing contact with people with the Internet and all that. I like getting the paper and getting the news in your area. I hope they still give us local stories and I agree with it 100 per cent. I’m glad somebody bought it and I hope they keep the jobs in Newfoundland.

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Charles Pender, Corner Brook Mayor - “I did get a call from chief operating officer Ian Scott earlier today and he did inform me of the sale and gave me some of the details. I guess I like the idea that it’s going to be an Atlantic-Canadian group with a focus more on local issues and stories, obviously. I like the fact that the control and focus is on our region as opposed to being a publicly traded entity that’s all about the dollars. This is a family-owned corporation who I think is the largest independent newspaper company in Canada or something like that, I’m not sure exactly. At the Chronicle Herald they’ve got a great reputation with their newspaper and so on, so I think in today’s world of news and newspapers in particular, and we see the trends, it’s great to know that somebody feels like it’s worth investing in The Western Star and other papers to keep them alive and re-inject some energy into them, so hopefully it will be a great thing for all of us.”

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Beatrice Woods, Benoit’s Cove - As long as the Star stays in Newfoundland I will be glad. I’m glad they all still have jobs and I hope nobody loses their job with the change. I also hope they do give us more stories about people around here.

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In the biggest east coast media shakeup in recent memory, owners of Halifax’s venerable Chronicle Herald have quietly scooped up Transcontinental Inc.’s entire roster of stalwart Atlantic-Canadian local newspapers and websites — including The Western Star in Corner Brook.

The historic move — which saw the Quebec printing and media giant sell a combined 28 publications and web brands, as well as printing and distribution assets, to the Chronicle Herald — creates a media chain that covers every major market in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. It even extends into a sliver of New Brunswick with The Sackville Tribune-Post.
Question: What are your thoughts on the sale and what are you hoping it will mean when it comes to local media coverage?