Stuck on Stage 2: Anger at Demise of Guelph Mercury Print Edition

January 30, 2016


According to Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief when one is faced with the loss of a loved one:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

When Metroland Media announced the end of the print edition of the Guelph Mercury, I spent an hour or two on stage 1 (denial) and then quickly moved to stage 2 (anger).  I’ve been stuck there ever since.

I’m angry at myself.  I was a past subscriber for many years, but is there more I could have done to promote the paper?  I’m angry at advertisers who, let’s face it, are the bread and butter of financing a print edition.  I’m angry at society.  Is the digital generation really to blame?  I’m not so sure.  Every age demographic enjoys holding a paper and doing a crossword.

I’m angry at the Merc higher-ups.  When you cut reporters, guess what happened?  Local content and award-winning investigative journalism suffered, and sales dropped. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It seems to me that the Mercury was relegated to the back corner while reporting and marketing resources to boost sales went to the K-W Record.

But mostly, I’m angry at centrally-controlled corporate media who bought up successful locally-owned and operated newspapers throughout Canada and transformed them into nothing more than flyer-delivery systems.  Metroland Media promotes itself first and foremost as a marketing distribution company – flyers, coupons, trade shows, etc.  It seems that newspapers, to Metroland, were never about actual news, it was just an outer-wrapping to hold the flyers.

Maybe that’s why I can’t get past the anger stage.  We need a locally-owned and operated daily news outlet that hires real journalists (not bloggers) and uses a local press for printing.

Even though it’s a Metroland paper, I sincerely hope the Guelph Tribune goes daily.  Perhaps then, they can spread out the kilos of flyers stuffed into the Friday edition.  Please Metroland, make that happen.  Please, pretty please.  Hey, am I bargaining now?

Finally, moving to phase 3….