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Postmedia, looking for a future, wants to deliver your parcels

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 A boy on a bicycle with a Toronto Star newspaper carrier bag in Whitby, Ontario, 1940. Image credit: Marjorie Georgina Ruddy/Wikimedia Commons

Let's give ourselves some respite from the horror of living in Alberta under Jason Kenney and his United Conspiracy Party.

Instead, here's an inspiring, upbeat story about an old business we all thought was on its last legs that is thinking outside the box about how to grab the low-hanging fruit by proactively finding new opportunities to add value through identifying exciting synergies!

Not the fossil-fuel industry, I'm afraid. Sorry to get your hopes up, Alberta.

No, I give you … a drumroll would be appropriate … Postmedia's new parcel service.

Yes! Toronto-based Postmedia Network Inc., owner of the moribund Calgary Sun-Herald and similarly moribund Edmonton Sun-Journal and serial killer of Canadian community newspapers, announced yesterday it is building a national network to deliver small parcels!

The new Postmedia division will soon start hauling and delivering small parcels in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and, best of all, here in Alberta.

"At Postmedia we have a long, proud history of delivering to homes in communities across our country," Postmedia President and CEO Andrew MacLeod said in the press release, which was apparently written by someone wearing a straight face.

"Extending our offerings and trusted relationships in the communities we already serve, through this new partnership, aligns to our corporate strategy," MacLeod said.

MacLeod did not say if Postmedia's deliveries will be folded and tossed somewhere in the general area of your doorstep by a kid on a bicycle, possibly left in the rain, or if the fading formerly dominant English-language newspaper chain will just pack the stuff up in multiple giant cardboard boxes the way Amazon does nowadays.

If it is the former -- which, if I may be so bold, would be an example of literally thinking outside the box -- you can call circulation and wait for the elevator music to calm you down before you get to complain.

If it is the latter, though, it seems likely one of the many established players in this already-crowded market will squash them like a bug. However, the deal involves a partnership with New Brunswick's vertically integrated Irving Family, so who knows what kind of corporate black magic they'll bring to the deal.

Another former media giant looking for new synergies after falling on hard times is Toronto-based Torstar Corp.

Torstar recently announced plans to open an online casino on the grounds that -- and I'm not making this up either -- "as an Ontario-based media business and trusted brand for more than 128 years, we believe Torstar will provide a unique and responsible gaming brand that creates new jobs, offers growth for the Ontario economy, and generates new tax revenue to help support important programs in our province."

The $64,000 question in Torstar's case is: Can Canadian newspaper executives lose money running a casino? The answer is: Yes, they probably can.

Back in 2019, Torstar and Postmedia reached a deal to swap 41 community newspapers and then immediately closed down 36 of them, thereby dividing Canada up into newspaper advertising competition-free zones, or so they apparently thought.

My guess is that yesterday's announcement by Postmedia, like the one by Torstar in March, is a sign of just how well their journalism-killing deal in 2019 is working out.

Both companies would now like some of your federal tax dollars to support their flagging efforts at practising journalism, as well as chances to sniff out new excuses to keep the lights on long enough for a few more executive bonuses.

Meanwhile, some clever boots in Victoria, B.C., has figured out a way to compete with (corporate) people like Postmedia and Torstar and says he'll be doing it in 50 communities across Canada by 2023.

Quite a few of those communities, presumably, won't have a lot of time for Postmedia because it's just closed down their local rag and laid off its employees. Now, if Ottawa would consider closing down the post office, Postmedia must be thinking, there might be some business for their parcel service anyway.

Or if it just drops the requirement that buyers sign for the cannabis deliveries, there could be gold in those small packages. Green gold.

Expect Postmedia editorials on these topics soon.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald.

Image credit: Marjorie Georgina Ruddy/Wikimedia Commons

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