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Edmonton Journal changes likely to mean less local news and fewer local reporters

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Mark Iype

Strip out the cheerful marketing language and the “refocused print edition” of the Edmonton Journal announced yesterday in a short news story by Editor Mark Iype sounds an awful lot like readers will be getting less local news produced by fewer local staff members.

Notwithstanding the story’s claim the changes to the paper owned by Postmedia Network Canada Corp. of Toronto “will allow us to focus our coverage more on local news both in print and online,” it seems most likely the result will be the opposite.

Putting all local reporting in a small news hole in one section of the paper and filling the rest with “the best of Postmedia content from across the country” is likely to translate into readers getting more canned drivel and less local news.

Local business and arts coverage, if any, will be packaged with other local news, the story said. Readers will get the Financial Post section of the National Post, which they clearly didn’t want when the had the opportunity to subscribe to it.

“As it does now, local sports coverage will front a section that brings together some of the finest sportswriters from across Canada,” the story also says. Translation: One or two local sports stories only, plus fewer local sports statistics.

As for the Impact section, it will continue to have local analysis stories, Iype said. But how many and how often? That question was not answered. Again, there will be lots of canned stories from Postmedia. Not much impact there!

Of course, with the emphasis on copy written elsewhere, elimination of staff as previously announced by Postmedia will be easier.

Similar changes are being implemented at Postmedia papers across the country, often accompanied by staff layoffs.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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