Québec City, June 7, 2019 – In conjunction with the revival of The Gleaner, a local English-language newspaper, the Québec government has expressed its concern about the difficulties that local English-language newspapers and the print media overall are facing. Last December, it demonstrated its determination to support the survival and development of such newspapers, which play a particularly unifying role in English-speaking communities, by granting $118 000 to the Quebec Community Newspaper Association (QCNA) to enable it to conduct a study focusing on the situation of local English-language media in Québec. The intent of the study is to identify the challenges facing the sector in order to pinpoint the appropriate solutions.
With the funds the Secrétariat aux relations avec les Québécois d’expression anglaise granted over a period of 15 months, the QCNA, an organization dedicated to the development of English-speaking communities and English-language media, has the mandate to produce a study on the impact of local media in remote areas and rural and urban communities in Québec. The study will enable the local media sector to better grasp the changing media landscape and its impact on local communities, adapt methods of media delivery to better serve their readers and audiences. In particular, the study will focus on what happens in the wake of the closing of the only English-language medium in the community, or how local, CEGEP or university newspapers and radio stations can attract and retain young readers and audiences.
The project will also establish partnerships with university and CEGEP media, in order to foster job creation and opportunities for internships for journalism students. Therefore contributing to the retention of youth in the community and helping to maintain local print and broadcasting media.
“Local newspapers are essential to bolstering their readers’ sense of belonging to their community. As is the case of all local print media, the English-language media are experiencing difficulties that are of great concern to us, as we saw last week with the Stanstead Journal. The Québec government has been proactive in this regard by supporting the Quebec Community Newspaper Association to enable it to produce a study on this issue. I am convinced that the QCNA will pinpoint effective solutions to give new impetus to local newspapers. The revival of The Gleaner in the Chateauguay Valley proves that this is possible. I congratulate the group that has given a second life to the newspaper to the pleasure of its readers.”
Christopher Skeete, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers
“Some QCNA members are barely hanging on and are having difficulty maintaining their operations, forcing them to cut staff or reduce the frequency of their publications to avoid closing down. It is essential to examine the impact on a community when a newspaper establishes itself there or when a local newspaper closes. The SRQEA is supporting us to conduct such a study, and it is very encouraging for the local media and their readers and audiences, especially at a time when journalism is changing rapidly.”
Lily Ryan, Interim President, Quebec Community Newspaper Association
“While Facebook is great for keeping in touch with my brother in BC, and CNN tells me what is happening around the world, I need to know what is going on in my own backyard. The only one that can do this is community media, and by resurrecting The Gleaner as a community-owned media, we have the possibility to provide quality news and information in English to the residents of the Chateauguay Valley for a long time to come.”
Hugh Maynard, President, The Gleaner