Sackville paper closes offices and cuts staff to save money

The newspaper is closing its offices until further notice

The Sackville Tribune-Post has closed its downtown offices at 80 Main Street until further notice, but will continue to publish the weekly paper on Wednesdays.

The money-saving measure will eliminate one part-time employee who worked the front desk.

Managing Editor Scott Doherty says more and more of the paper’s clients were renewing subscriptions or buying advertising space by e-mail and telephone, so instead of providing front-counter service in Sackville, the newspaper is asking clients to place their orders with staff at sister weekly papers in Amherst.

Doherty said the Tribune-Post will continue to employ himself as editor, Katie Tower as staff reporter and an advertising representative serving both Sackville and Amherst.

“The Tribune-Post isn’t going anywhere,” he said, “we’ll still be in the office for the foreseeable future.” He added, however, that he and Tower may eventually work from home.

“It’s still a healthy paper,” Doherty said, “we’re getting enough advertising.”

Sign of the times

The Tribune-Post, like many other small papers across the country, has been affected by an overall decline in print advertising including the loss of highly profitable classified ads that have shifted to the Internet.

According to figures compiled by professors April Lindgren and Jon Corbett, 212 newspapers have closed across Canada since 2008, most of them smaller community papers.

And although the weeklies in Sackville and Amherst have survived, they have not been immune to the economic troubles affecting the industry.

In a piece about her 20 years at the paper published last month, Katie Tower noted that, in that time, about seven full and part-time staff had been reduced to three.

“Although our office is still in the same location two decades later,” she wrote, “we have downsized to about half the space.”

And, the papers in Amherst have been affected by the state of the industry too.

In 2013, the Amherst Daily News ended 120 years of daily publication and became the weekly Amherst News along with the weekly Citizen-Record.

Ownership change

Just over a year ago, the Saltwire Network, which owns the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, bought 28 publications in Atlantic Canada from Transcontinental Inc. based in Quebec.

The sale included the Sackville Tribune-Post and its two sister weeklies in Amherst.

“This acquisition positions us for growth,” a news release quoted Mark Lever of the Chronicle-Herald as saying. “We are bringing together 950 talented employees to create a media network that will give national and regional brands access to 71 per cent of the region’s newspaper readers.”

At the time, Kelly Toughill, a journalism professor at King’s in Halifax expressed doubt that the sale would improve journalism in Atlantic Canada.

“I think they did this really to consolidate the advertising market and also because they’ve become much more interested with printing,” Toughill told the online publication J-Source, noting that the deal with Transcontinental included four new printing presses.

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5 Responses to Sackville paper closes offices and cuts staff to save money

  1. This is indeed either “a kick in the pants” or “another nail in the coffin”. So sad to see another of our local news and information sources on the road to oblivion (regardless of what “they” are saying). Fact is that the only real local source of information has become Facebook and how pitifully sad is that? Yes we all know how wonderfully accurate that gossip factory is! Look at what CBC TV has done to their local 6pm news where one size fits all (of the Maritimes) is their stupid rationalization. Oh by the way, check their local CBC news in the morning at 7AM when two other major TV networks are carrying Nova Scotia news…the publicly funded CBC is showing cartoons and crappy ones at that! What six figure consultant came up with that one? Without the “downhome” close to the source community newspaper(s) (and radio I might add) the rural communities are fading off the map unless and until some major ginormous annihilating disaster occurs inside their boundaries….then it’s all reporter hands on deck! Without some “in my backyard” newspaper to enlighten us to the day to day (or even weekly) goings on around us right here, then we are relegated to the whims of the “big boys” at the Comical Herald in Halifax or Toronto or wherever they pretend to be! After the untrustworthy facebook we will be relegated to watching Donald Trump on CNN morning noon and night!…Can Armageddon be that far off? Gordon Heffler

  2. Rima Azar says:

    There is also a growing phenomenon of the same information being repeated exactly in the same manner in the media. I am talking about the same stories we read or hear in the media, even in different languages, here at home and from abroad. Sometimes it gives us the impression that there is a lack of creativity (similar to the FB news phenomenon you described Mr. Heffler?).

    By the way, the Montreal’s newspaper La Presse has been 100 percent digital for a year now. Le Devoir is still hanging on to its paper format on Saturdays.

    Once again, I would like to salute the New Wark Times.This recent article informs us about the changes undergone by the Sackville Tribune-Post. Despite the challenging times for media around the world, in Canada, especially in our less populated semi-rural regions, it is refreshing to witness the New Wark Times’ professionalism and collegiality.

  3. Marika says:

    I must say, I stopped reading the Tribune-Post a while ago. Pretty much all the useful information in there can be found on the town web site and similar sources. The investigative reporting that we need a newspaper for is NOT to be found in the Tribune-Post, whose style is more of reprinted news releases and puff pieces – just enough to justify charging for advertising. Very fortunately, the Wark Times fills that gap – hopefully for a long time, as it would be the information void otherwise in here.

  4. The Sackville Tribune Post is a ” community ” newspaper which means they publish only certain stories… I have been asking them for years to cover the “Tantramar Skate Park” project that the youth presented to Town Council and Mayor in 2013… the newspaper seems to think this is not a story.. I think that it is a story.. that’s part of the reason I started “Tantramar Landowners Association” because I really do not appreciate the youth being overlooked on this project in a town that has a university and endless amounts of cash for ponds and boardwalks surely they can cough up the money for a great skatepark made of concrete with lots of room for visitors, tourists, local youth, university students, and avid skateboarders.. I know I am right about this project. That is the ohly reason I persist – no one else wants to do the work – but one day I know we’ll have some really happy young people beaming with pride over THEIR SKATEPARK! I LOVE THE VITALITY AND ENERGETIC YOUTH.. its all about them at this point.. they matter. Thanks for your amazing blog Bruce.. i enjoy your passionate efforts to keep up with all the stories around here. Unable to use Facebook or Twitter I have found blogger to be quite helpful and .. cheers.

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