Friday, March 23, 2007

The Express has folded... it's gone

The Express newspaper is -30- . As the following release makes clear, it published its last issue yesterday. My condolences to editor Steve Bartlett, reporter Kim Kielley and the rest of the crew. I know how it feels to have a newspaper yanked out from beneath your feet. This raises questions about how The Express went from being a profitable paper (they made some fuss about this a few years ago) to what is now a money-losing operation. Looks like Craig Westcott, Ryan Cleary, Greg Locke, Craig Welsh - and others who predicted the paper's demise some time ago - were right on the money. I will have more on this later. Here's the news release:



St. John’s, NL, March 23, 2007 – the ex/ newspaper will cease publication effective today. The last issue was distributed on Thursday, March 22, 2007.
the ex/, a free distribution weekly, served over 40,000 households in the metro St. John’s, Mount Pearl area.

“This was an extremely difficult decision but the ex/ had been struggling financially for quite some time, well before it was purchased by Transcontinental Media in 2004,” said Mr. Miller Ayre, Group Publisher of Transcontinental Media’s NL newspapers. “Despite significant investments in the publication over the past two years – including a complete redesign of both the print and internet versions of the newspaper – efforts to turn the publication around unfortunately did not attract the expected advertising dollars.”

“We wish to thank all our readers and advertisers who encouraged and supported us through the years,” added Mr. Ayre.

While the publication employed ten people, it is expected that the maximum job loss will be four. Every effort will be made to secure positions for these displaced employees at other Transcontinental facilities where opportunities exist.



Anonymous said...

I'm so not surprised at this at all. The Ex/Press for the last little while had been nothing more than a "flyer wrapper" and there was so little content. I find it interesting that Transcon mentioned lack of advertising dollars, but yet the publication was full of ads where stories and columns were cut so they could fit a large ad in.
Sorry to hear about it, Geoff, because you were a part of it. It's never easy to lose a voice, but The had little voice to begin with. It's come a long way down from the glory days of the Sunday Express

Tina Chaulk said...

I was just going to blog about this but thought to check here first, knowing that you would be more informed and could provide more insight about this than I ever could. I was right. Thanks for the info and the specs of the press release.

I feel bad for those who lost their jobs.

Geoff Meeker said...

You are welcome, Tina. I like the respectful tone of your note. You seem to "get it"; that a newspaper like The Express is an organic, living thing, made by people who believe in what they are doing. It is more than ink on newsprint. When a paper folds, another platform for free expression dies with it, so to me it's a sombre moment.

This contrasts with the previous condolences from Ann Onymous, which inform me that my Technology column was part of 'flyer wrapper'. Ha! It's okay, I have a very thick skin. In reading Ann's post, it occurs that this is the second time The Express has folded on me. Yes, The Sunday Express was a very different paper, but The Express was nonetheless its progeny.

This is the fifth time that I've been involved in the death of a publication, but I have not become accustomed to it. I still hate it when a newspaper dies. Moment of silence please...