Tag Archives: media

GLOBE & MAIL: Kanata newspaper founded by 14-year-old is casualty of Postmedia-Torstar deal

Susan Krashinsky Robertson reports in the Globe and Mail:

It felt like a death in the family, of an elderly relative he’d spent time with in childhood.

That’s how Alex Munter describes hearing that the newspaper he founded in his parents’ basement 35 years ago will print its final pages next month.

Last week’s deal between Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Torstar Corp. to swap 41 papers, and their decision to close most of them, means that many communities are saying goodbye to their own publications – some more than a century old. The Kanata Kourier-Standard is one of them, and while not as aged, the paper serving the Ottawa suburb has a unique history.

Far from the whisky-soaked stereotype of the newspaperman, Mr. Munter started the Kanata Kourier before he could legally drink.

In 1982, 14-year-old Alex Munter secured startup money from his parents and printed his first, eight-page issue of the Kanata Kourier.

It was 1982, he was 14 years old and he commandeered the family Ping-Pong table to lay out the pages.

Marianne Wilkinson, now an Ottawa city councillor representing Kanata North – and the first mayor of the former City of Kanata – says she has fielded calls from citizens in tears over the paper’s closure. Ms. Wilkinson wrote for the Standard, the paper that later merged with the Kourier, beginning in 1969, just before her political career started.

Read the full article…


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LETTERS: Lamenting the loss of the Stittsville News

We’ve been deluged with comments and letters from our readers about the demise of the Stittsville News.  Here is a sample of what you’ve been saying.  The last edition will be published January 12, 2018.


I have fond memories of the paper as a young resident and personally. My first memories of the paper was having my picture taken by John Curry performing in baton, figure skating and tap dance, starting in pre-K era. Also, I can remember being in Kindergarten and Grade 1, seeing John C. come onto Stittsville Public grounds, wearing his typical, dress pants, dress shirt, tie and Mr. Dressup cardigan. I’d run up … “Hello Mr. Curry!” Continue reading


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COMMENT: Turning the page on the Stittsville News

“That daily experience of seeing your local places, names and events creates a kind of resonance and connection and investment with where you live. Canadians pay a lot of lip service to the importance of telling Canadian stories. We are so used to seeing American references that just watching a movie, for example, set in a Canadian place will “charge us up” with local feeling. A sense of seeing “ourselves” portrayed.

That’s the daily charge of a local paper. Investing you with news and culture of YOUR PLACE. Take that away and you genuinely diminish that feeling in a community. That is a real loss. Especially in a world where people are increasingly living in a central abstract space. A ‘no place.'”

–Seth, on the role of local newspapers. From the Globe & Mail, January 2016.


After decades being one of the only constants in our community, the Stittsville News wound up being just another line item on a big corporation’s balance sheet.

The Stittsville News is one of dozens of community papers being closed by corporate conglomerates Postmedia and Torstar. About 250 people will lose their jobs in January when the last papers roll off the presses.

Stittsville will lose an institution that has been publishing for 60 years. The first edition was published on December 12, 1957 by founder Howard Maguire, who was also Goulbourn’s first full-time fire chief.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve run into current reporters John Curry and Brian Dryden and the now-retired John Brummell at local events. They are everywhere in our community. They are the reporters who sit through hours of community association meetings and cover local hockey games. They are the photographers who chronicle school graduations and neighbourhood picnics and music recitals.

I feel for Curry the most.  He bought the paper as a young newspaperman in 1975 for $6,000, and stuck with it as a reporter and editor for more than four decades, some of it under various corporate overlords after he sold the paper in 2001.

“It was a tough gig,” reported Devyn Barrie in a profile of Curry published in the Algonquin Times. “The hours were long and the pay was low. The newspaper served a small community and barely broke even. But Curry wasn’t in it for the money. He wanted to do good journalism, report for the community and have fun doing it.”

I feel for the dozens of community groups like the Legion, the Lions, the Rotary Club who rely on the Stittsville News to get their info out into the community.  And I feel for the army of kids (and few adults) who earn a bit of pocket money delivering the paper to our doorstep each week.

New companies will step up to try to provide some semblance of the coverage that the Stittsville News and others like it provided.  And to be sure, there are still a few independent papers left in the Ottawa area.

But in Stittsville we’ve lost an institution that has reflected us, has connected us, has shaped us for six decades.

 

"The Two Johns". Longtime Stittsville News reporters John Curry (left) and John Brummell at City Hall in January 2017. Brummell received a Mayor's City Builder Award after his retirement from the newspaper.
“The Two Johns”. Longtime Stittsville News reporters John Curry (left) and John Brummell at City Hall in January 2017. Brummell received a Mayor’s City Builder Award after his retirement from the newspaper. Photo via Deborah Brummell / Stittsville Neighbours.


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OTTAWASTART: Postmedia to close community newspaper, including Stittsville News

(PHOTO: The Stittsville News is one of eight local community papers that will be closed after a swap between Postmedia and Torstar. File photo.)

From our sister site, OttawaStart.com:

Nine Ottawa-area newspapers will be shuttered after a trade between Canada’s two largest newspaper chains.

The swap, announced Monday, saw Postmedia Network Canada Corp. acquire the local newspapers from Torstar Corp. In the deal, Postmedia acquired from Torstar 22 community papers and two commuter dailies and Torstar received from Postmedia 15 community papers and two commuter dailies. Continue reading


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Atkinson interviewed stars from Sinatra to Elvis

(PHOTO: Long-time broadcaster Gord Atkinson at his home in Stittsville. Photo by Zach Mulder.)

EACH STEP THAT GORD ATKINSON TAKES  is slowly and carefully placed on the carpeted stairs that lead to his basement. His left hand clutches his black cane as the right grasps the banister that guides him. The trip takes longer than it used to, but when he reaches the bottom, Atkinson’s eyes light up, taking in the wall of pictures and accolades from his time in radio. The sight fills him with memories of a time now past when he used to work among the stars of show business.

Continue reading


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