Death of a local paper: Saltwire announces closing of Sackville Tribune-Post

The Sackville Tribune-Post closed its downtown offices in 2018 to save money in the face of declining ad revenues

Mark Lever, President and CEO of the Saltwire Network has confirmed that his company has closed the Sackville Tribune-Post.

“Every time a brand goes away, it’s a sad, sad day,” Lever said today during a telephone interview.

He added that subscriptions to the Tribune-Post had fallen below 400 when Saltwire suspended publication of its weeklies a year ago after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lever explained that the paper would need a minimum of 1,000 paid subscriptions or “memberships” to make it a viable business and the Halifax-based Saltwire Network saw no prospect of it reaching that threshold.

“We know what the paper meant to the community,” he said, “but we weren’t making money and there was a lack of public demand.”

He said that while closing the Tribune-Post was a necessary decision, it was also a painful one, partly because Owen Barnhill, Saltwire’s Chief Financial Officer is from Sackville and he grew up reading the paper.

Hope for Amherst News

In the meantime, Lever said Saltwire is hoping to revive the Amherst News once it reaches the 1,000 subscriber threshold, but he’s not sure yet when that might be.

“We’re still hoping to bring it back,” he added. “We feel there’s an opportunity for it to come back.”

At the moment, Saltwire is distributing a weekly publication called the Cumberland Wire as part of its advertising flyer package delivered to 20,000 households in northern Nova Scotia. But Lever says the Cumberland Wire is filled with light features while a revived Amherst News would carry the serious journalism the area needs.

He adds that the Amherst News would carry local advertising, but its main focus would be attracting subscribers who would also have digital access to all of Saltwire’s publications including its daily papers in Halifax, Cape Breton, Charlottetown and St. John’s.

Sackville institution

The Sackville Tribune-Post was born nearly 75 years ago — on June 3, 1946 — when The Sackville Tribune joined with its arch rival The Sackville Post.

In his “Tantramar Flashback” column on September 23, 2009, Sackville historian Bill Hamilton wrote that the older of the two papers, The Sackville Post dated from May 12, 1870 while The Sackville Tribune first appeared in 1902.

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4 Responses to Death of a local paper: Saltwire announces closing of Sackville Tribune-Post

  1. marc truitt says:

    Sad news, Bruce. While I very much appreciate and respect your journalistic efforts on behalf of our town, is it too much to hope that the Amherst News might extend its coverage to the larger Chignecto region, including Sackville?

  2. Shawn Mesheau says:

    An era has officially passed. The Tribune publication and print operations were an important part of our community and surrounding communities. As well another part of our history the Sackville Harness Shop appears to be on the verge of closing. The Tribune and the Harness Shop truly the last of an era. Memories of my childhood that include these two institutions, my siblings recollection of living behind the Harness Shop and watching/talking to Jack who’s work station was at the back window. My mother being an employee of the Tribune as a young women and again later in her life. Sackville is many things to many people, however its history will always be the anchor to our future.

  3. Les Hicks says:

    This is definitely sad news, and the end of an era for sure. The Sackville Tribune-Post was an important source of local news when I was growing up in Upper Sackville in the 1960’s. Along with the news coverage about town business we were also treated to the various local news columns that covered the surrounding areas. Our columnist for the Upper and Middle Sackville news would call my grandmother, along with most of the other residents of our area, for any type of news that they might have to share (the columnists were apparently paid by the word), resulting in important news items like “Mr. and Mrs. Hedley Hicks motored to Moncton on Tuesday for some shopping and lunch with her sister and brother-in-law. A good time was had by all.” We also enjoyed the weekly columns of Dave Mackay and I for one never did find out what the acronym, the ‘OB-BW’ stood for before he passed away. Can anyone enlighten us with its meaning?
    After moving out west to work, I kept up my subscription so as to stay abreast of local news from home, and I remember showing friends in Edmonton some of the earth shaking headlines that graced the front page. My two favourites were “Local Woman Gets Perfect Cribbage Hand” and “Local Man Grows Siamese Cucumbers” – after reading the latest news about murders and armed robberies in the Edmonton Journal it was actually refreshing and comforting to receive more down to earth news from my small home town.
    We have been very fortunate in Sackville to have such an experienced journalist like Bruce retire in our little community and keep us informed about more important local news items since the decline, and now demise, of the Tribune-Post. We owe him a debt of gratitude for all of the hours he has put in to provide coverage of developments at Town Hall and other important issues that have come up in the last few years. Thank you Bruce.

  4. Kata List Productions says:

    People use the internet for their news from a lot of different sources… its a different world now and we are not going back. Its especially interesting is to see a young generation coming up that are completely unbrainwashed by CBC propaganda… that gives me hope. rip Sackville Tribune Post.

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