Thursday, September 19, 2019

Prince George Citizen to abandon daily print run; making for the latest paper to shift to weekly delivery

The online edition of the
PG Citizen from Wednesday
The ever changing landscape for Canada's newspaper industry has seen a significant shift for readers of Northern BC's largest newspaper today, with the Prince George Citizen announcing plans to move to a free weekly format.

The paper which has 103 years of history in the North will publish its final daily edition on September 28th, with the reincarnation as a weekly to be delivered to residents on October 3rd.

The announcement of the change was published in yesterday's edition, with the Citizen's Publisher and General Manager Colleen Sparrow and Editor in Chief Neil Godbout, offering their pledge to deliver the news stories that residents have come to rely on with the same commitment to integrity, values and passionate journalism.

In the advisory for its readers the Citizen points towards the ways that information seekers currently access their news, noting that their work will be available through a range of media for Prince George residents to stay informed.

"Our core values remain the same. Whether it's breaking news, features, local sports team updates or community events, we will be there as we always have been. 

We'll also bring you those stories quickly and directly via your phone, computer, tablet, etc. and our weekly print edition will allow you to pick up the paper and read at your leisure."

In a follow up Editorial piece, Neil Godbout outlines how the ongoing march of technology is changing the way newspapers are approaching their craft and how they serve their customers.

For the Citizen the competitive marketplace has no doubt been part of the reasoning behind their decision to abandon the daily print run.

As the largest city in Northern BC, Prince George is served by a Television station and numerous radio stations, all which have a strong online presence.

As well, there are a growing number of online projects which provide for community notes and explore news themes of interest for the region.

The Daily News building has remained empty since July 2010 when the
last staff member cleared out their desk and the doors were locked.

The move by the Citizen is the continuation of an evolution of the industry that has seen many daily newspapers make similar decisions or shut down completely.

Prince Rupert faced its own days of shock when it lost the Daily News back in July of 2010, that when Black Press shuttered the 99 year old daily following its purchase from Glacier Media,

That decision left the city with the Northern View as the sole print publication with its weekly publication run and a shift in focus towards its online portal.

The closure of the Daily News in Prince Rupert on July 16, 2010  is still remembered as one of the darker days of the city's recent history, steeped in the days of the economic malaise that gripped the city with the closure of the pulp mill and the spiralling decline of the fishery.

And the closure of that daily news source, did remove a much needed voice and forum of investigative journalism that often goes lacking in the community to this day.

The loss of the daily print edition from Prince George is somewhat different and does not have quite the same resonance as that which Prince Rupert faced, mainly owing to the fact that they will continue to publish on paper weekly and online each day.

Still it is another rumble of the seismic shifts that are taking place in the field of journalism and how Canadians will access reliable information on the events that shape their day to day lives.

For more items of note related to Communication in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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