Closure of Halifax Daily News part of dangerous trend to 'News Lite'



    OTTAWA, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Transcontinental Media's decision to replace the
Halifax Daily News with a free, handout newspaper - written and produced
mainly by a small cadre of distant editors in Central Canada - has undermined
the diversity of voices available to Haligonians.
    Almost all of the newspaper's 92-person staff were notified today that
they will lose their jobs, which means the number of original reports by local
journalists who have first-hand knowledge of news in Halifax will plummet. The
Halifax Chronicle-Herald is now the city's only paid-circulation daily
newspaper.
    "We see this as part of a dangerous trend," said CAJ president Mary Agnes
Welch. "Halifax is left with an empty shell - a victim of publishers' current
penchant for stripping news outlets of their content and delivering 'News
Lite'."
    Until today, Halifax's two paid-circulation newspapers could give the
city more comprehensive discourse on issues and events, Welch said. "A
diversity of voices coupled with healthy competition among experienced,
professional journalists leads to better local coverage.
    "Newspapers that rely mainly on wire reports, in contrast, offer the
public all the local reporting skills of a photocopy machine," Welch said.
    The Halifax Daily News is to be replaced Thursday by the weekday free
sheet Metro, whose main editorial operations are centralized in Toronto. The
Halifax edition, expected to contain a token one to two pages of local news,
will be a joint venture of Sweden's Metro International SA, Torstar and
Transcontinental.

    The CAJ is Canada's largest professional organization for journalists
from all media, with about 1,500 members across Canada. The CAJ's primary
roles are to provide high quality professional development for its members and
public-interest advocacy.





For further information:

For further information: Mary Agnes Welch, CAJ president, (204)
943-6575, Cell: (204) 470-8862; John Dickins, CAJ executive director, (613)
526-8061, Cell: (613) 868-5442


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