8-14 Macdonell Street,
I saw on the Internet that the Guelph Mercury will abandon its print edition. I noticed it during a casual search for other information, not as the result of a pointed inquiry. I thought it might be a joke, or a mistake, so I switched to the Mercury online and learned that it was true! I hate that. It’s teeth-gritting time. White knuckles-and-cursing-stupidity-masquerading-as-malice-under-my-breath time. Even more so for the people who work there, I suppose. Maybe newspaper readers in Guelph will now switch to the K-W Record, increasing that paper’s print sales. The papers are owned by the same parent company, so the revenue stream is guaranteed. It might boost other print media in the city, plus open the door for some clever Guelphites to launch a new print paper to meet whatever demand remains. I do not believe the appetite for print news will evaporate. It’s a question of demand meeting the threshold of fiscal viability. It’s frustrating to think that a city of Guelph’s size - and a university town to boot - comes to this: this disregard for printed words. Or, maybe it’s all a good thing. Change is the only constant and being cast as a stick-in-the-mud is certainly a bad image.
My feeling is partly about the loss of something familiar that I grew up with. But it also partly stems from a respect for the reality and durability of paper that silicon chips cannot match. It’s partly my affinity for property and my sensuous personality. Print media like newspapers and books can be owned and possessed in a manner that digital media cannot. Finally, the way things feel, smell and look are an appealing feature of their reality. Without a community newspaper Guelph loses a bit of credibility and appeal.
Published on Friday, January 29, 2016 as “Frustrated by Guelph’s disregard for the printed word.”