I don't know why I'm surprised, but I confess the news that The Telegram is folding its Sunday edition did catch me off guard. However, it makes perfect sense, really. The Sunday Telegram was never really about making money for the company. Oh, if it did, that would be nice and all. No, the Sunday edition was all about making sure the competition didn't make money. It was brought into existence to kill The Sunday Express and did it's job quite ably (with some assistance). It lingered around long enough to also do the job on The Express and The Independent.
Of the local papers left in town - The Muse, The Current and The Scope - none are going to be competition for the Telegram. They're all niche papers. That's not ripping the quality of either The Muse or The Scope, by the way (I don't care much at all for The Current). They're both good papers, but certainly no threat to The Telegram's circulation or ad revenue. And with no immediate competition, why keep around the Sunday edition?
I am curious if the Sunday Telly was losing money, or not making enough to make it worth the effort. I'm also curious if this will mean any staff lay-offs, either in editorial, sales or production.
You know, I've heard the complaint about editorial copy and direction in The Telegram being influenced by Transcontinental offices in Quebec. And I actually side with the people at the paper annoyed by those complaints. I don't think that's the case. Having said that, I've never liked the way Transcontinental does business. I didn't like what they did to The Humber Log, although it was always a troubled paper. I despised what they did to The Express, which had its troubles but only really started to go down hill after the company bought it. And I'm sure the folks who worked with The Daily News in Halifax might have a few words to say as well about Transcon's business schemes.
Look, I'm not an idiot. I know the newspaper business is in trouble. Circulation numbers are taking hits everyone. I think you're going to see a lot more papers fold over the next decade. Well, those with uncreative publishers who have no clue how to adapt are going to fold.
And I remained to be convinced that Transcontinental is one of the clever publishers. They haven't shown me much of anything so far. They seems far too willing to cut their losses too quickly or have no clue how to make something that might be struggling work.
I come back to the same quote I like to use whenever Transcon does something that kind of annoys me. When The Express and the rest of the old Optipress papers were bought, I asked a friend working with The Telegram what to expect. He said, "you'll love them for the first six months. After that, well...."
1. Loose translation - The New Pornographers
2. The town halo - A.C. Newman
3. You're going to quit me - Bob Dylan
4. Riding the flame/Little beggarman - The Flash Girls
5. Save this house - Spirit of the West*