It is ironic that on the very same day that The Suburban formally unveiled plans for expanded news coverage via our new website, set to launch on Monday, October 19, two once proud community newspapers were put to sleep. Rest in Peace Westmount Examiner and West Island News and Chronicle.
As a journalist and a communications professional, I am never happy to see any media outlet disappear. Part of the Transcontinental chain of weekly newspapers, the Examiner and the Chronicle follow the path that began in 2009 when The Monitor (briefly known as the West End Chronicle) folded. At the time Transcontinental folks insisted the paper was simply transforming into an online edition. I began my journalism career at the age of 16 writing sports stories for The Monitor.
As Transcontinental let the Examiner slide, publisher David Price swooped in and created the Westmount Independent. In very little time, the Examiner was playing second fiddle. Its editions better resembled promotional flyers and in the last few years there was not even a local office. Price also filled the void of The Monitor with the Free Press.
The Chronicle, in its day, was one heck of a paper. It was originally printed in broadsheet (like The Gazette). I always remembered how professional it looked. The Suburban launched a West Island edition in 1988 and The Gazette started one as well. There was also the Hudson Gazette, later to become the Vaudreuil-Soulanges. My good friend Jim Duff and his wife ran that operation. It folded mysteriously last year. Your Local Journal is another West Island weekly still in print. Ditto for Cité Nouvelles. And of course there is The Montreal Times, a drop off you can see just about everywhere.
None of these papers can compare themselves to The Suburban. We have a print circulation of 140,000. There are three regional editions: City (Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead, Montreal West, Westmount, Snowdon, Côte des Neiges, TMR, St. Laurent, Downtown, LaSalle, Verdun), West Island (now including Hudson and St. Lazare) and Laval-East End. Not only do we cover such a wide area, but because of our already excellent website (the new version turns a Mercedes Benz into a Rolls Royce) people can read the paper wherever they are. It is only going to get better on October 19, election day. Our new Associate Publisher Oliver Sutton and editor Beryl Wajsman quite rightly say that we will become a daily, with breaking news available all of the time. This how I feel about my blog, which I am grateful to say has a large following. For the last few years the blog has been hosted externally. It now becomes part of the new site.
It is too bad about the Examiner in The Chronicle. I am most sad for the staff who will lose their jobs.