Steeped in the daily brew of Canadian newsrooms for over 30 years, including the Toronto Star and Sun Media outlets, Brian Gorman has authored Crash to Paywall: Canadian Newspapers and the Great Disruption, a book the encapsulates his eye-witness viewpoint on events leading to the current state of Canadian Media. Gorman’s viewpoint is that of a copy editor, reporter, feature writer, movie and TV critic, middle manager and now journalism instructor at MacEwan University. He argues that in 2014, when Postmedia acquired Quebecor’s Sun Media newspaper and online assets, there was a sense that the recent history of newspapers was repeating itself not as comedy or tragedy, but as eulogy.
Crash to Paywall argues that while the newspaper business was weakened by decreases in advertising revenues and circulation, much of its problems stem from self-inflicted damage and business practices dating back to the 1970s.
Brian Gorman explores the Canadian newspaper industry crisis and the relationship between the news media and the public. He challenges both the popular mantra that a “perfect storm” of unforeseen circumstances blindsided a declining industry and the narrative that readers were abandoning newspapers, causing advertisers to turn away from “dying” media.
Gorman argues that observers had been warning for decades that the business was creating its own problems by acquiring ever-larger debt and shareholder obligations while steadily cutting back on journalists’ resources. Finally, by providing journalism for free online, newspaper companies devalued their most important resource and impaired their profitable print products.
With dozens of interviews conducted with leading Canadian journalists and editors, Crash to Paywall brings to light the many misconceptions, generalizations, omissions, and highly suspect conclusions about the present state of newspapers and their future.
In addition to academics and journalists, Gorman expects his book will be of interest to the same people who watched the Daily Show for the criticism of the Fox News Network and CNN, “that is to say, anyone interested in the public conversation about the public conversation.”
Crash to Paywall demonstrates that consolidation of ownership and subsequent ‘rationalization’ of operations of the newspaper industry within a handful of for-profit corporations has led to crippling damage within the fourth estate. It makes a strong case for the need for federal regulation of the industry in this regard and will be influential in policy-making in the coming years.”
–Wade Rowland, author of Saving the CBC: Balancing Profit and Public Service
Crash to Paywall: Canadian Newspapers and the Great Disruption
by Brian Gorman
McGill University Press
320 Pages, 6 x 9
pub date: October 2015
Formats: Cloth, Paperback, eBook