Yesterday it was announced that The Grid would be publishing its last issue ever. It was met with universal dismay by Toronto media and probably anyone who hopes to make a living in the industry, not to mention its readership.
News of the troubles at the Globe and Mail, by contrast, is a reassuring affirmation of karmic justice. While the newspaper’s reporters go on strike to protest the requirement that they write articles paid for by advertisers, management is erecting a fence to keep them out.
If this is the beginning of the end for the company, it could not have come sooner. A few weeks ago, it was revealed that when the Thompson family-owned paper announced its editorial board’s endorsement of Tim Hudak in the Ontario provincial election, it actually did so over the objections the editorial board who had unanimously endorsed Kathleen Wynne.
Last summer, while Canada’s Big Three telecommunications giants initiated an hysterical fear-based marketing campaign over the potential entry of Verizon into the Canadian wireless market, allegations emerged that executives at Bell Canada, which owns a minority share of the Globe, ordered its media subsidiaries to write telecom-friendly op-eds. Though the Globe and Mail was not named specifically in these allegations, it did run favorable press at the time, and the whole incident raises serious questions about journalistic integrity.
Hopefully, we will not have to go too long without the work of accomplished reporters such as Robin Doolittle, Jeffrey Simpson, Colin Freeze, among others. Already, striking writers are threatening to publish a rival publication which would appear at the URL globenation.com.
However, if the Globe becomes the latest casualty in an industry struggling to adapt to the Internet Age expectation of free content, it will not be the one to miss.