ShawTVOn April 24, Shaw announced its plans to close its Community TV stations in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver effective August 15, 2017. The resources from those stations will now be redirected to Global News, to increase community news gathering. The decision is expected to affect 70 people at all three locations, but they say this will also help reduce duplication of their coverage.

Shaw spokesperson Chethan Lakshman noted that:

Increasing online competition and other economic factors have made the production of local news and stories more difficult, he said, while the ability of Canadians living in larger cities to access many more media sources has made the community channel less relevant in metropolitan areas. For Shaw TV in Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton, this shift in viewer preferences has resulted in a 75 per cent average decline in viewership over the past six years.

Their spokesperson couldn’t say whether the additional funds would mean more reporting staff within Global Calgary or Edmonton’s newsroom. However, she said the company has plans to — among other things — establish a local City Hall bureau to beef up coverage of municipal issues and civic elections.

Some are also attributing this to changes made by the Canada Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), providing Canadians with access and choice to more news sources.

Last year, the CRTC’s review of local and community TV gave television providers like Shaw the flexibility to shift their required contribution to local programming in large markets from community channels to local news stations. As a result, Global News — owned by media company Corus Entertainment, which acquired Shaw’s portfolio of conventional and specialty television stations in 2016 — will receive $10 million annually in funds redirected from the Shaw TV operations.

In a statement, Senior Vice President of Shaw Communications, Katherine Emberly, says:

Shaw has a long-standing reputation in recognizing the importance of local news and we hope that today’s move signals our continued dedication to preserving community coverage.

Shaw TV stations will continue to operate in more than 180 markets, including Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Lethbridge.

CTV Edmonton and Calgary Lose Five Sports Reporters

CTV News AlbertaAs part of a nationwide restructuring by parent company Bell Media, CTV Calgary lost three sports reporter/anchor positions in Calgary and two in Edmonton where Adam Cook is now handling the sports reporting by himself.

Bell Media announced in January that it planned to reduce staff at more than two dozen of its locations. The layoffs at CTV Calgary and Edmonton are a part of this downsizing.

Bell Media lost 774 employees between 2014 and 2015, going to 6,568 from 7,342 in total. Its operating revenue did grow 3.6 per cent to $845 million in 2016, but its operating costs rose by 3.9 per cent.

Venture Publishing, publisher of Venture Magazine and Alberta Oil Magazine have ceased publishing.This after reports of serious financial problems facing Ruth Kelly, the company’s publisher, and many reports from unpaid writers. March 2017 was the last issue of both magazines and their last posts on Twitter were also made at the end of March 2017.

Three other magazines recently bit the dust: the Edmontonians Magazine, the Grande Prairie Smart Guide and Galleries West .

REPORT: Local newspapers are still strong in Canada

newspapersCanadian community newspapers still play an important role in the lives of their readership states a recent report by News Media Canada. A representative sample of over 2 400 Canadians was surveyed for the study.

The amount of time Canadians spend by reading community newspapers is not showing signs of decline. Simultaneously, a shift in platforms was observed: 39 per cent of readers reported an increase in the time of online reading. Digital reading is especially common among the Millenial demographic, whose favourite platform for reading community newspapers is the mobile phone (88 per cent).

Aside from Millenials, all other demographic groups still prefer the print edition. Yet most (80 per cent) read local news on more than one platform. Furthermore, 44 per cent read community papers on all four platforms: print, mobile, computer, and tablet. This kind of heavy usage was most common among the wealthier demographic.

Unsurprisingly, the most important motivation for reading community papers is local news. Many readers, however, are also especially interested in the flyers and other inserts often delivered with the papers. The results also suggests readers find printed ads more trustworthy than digital ads, and that printed ads are more likely to lead to action, for example visiting stores or purchasing products.

The report Community Newspapers Drive Results is freely available online on the News Media Canada website. Alberta has more than 137 community newspapers, primarily in cities or towns not served by a daily newspaper.