The Orillia Packet vs Torstar

As of November 27th, Orillia has lost it's 140+ year old newspaper. Yeah, that's pretty bad. For Orillia, this is the only place to get local news. It's newspaper existed in several forms and with different names prior to 1870, and became the #Orillia Packet & Times in 1870 so essentially, this town has had a newspaper of sorts before it even became a town (1876).

The likes of #Torstar are not out to give us better news (how can they possibly do that - they don't know our town, they don't care about our town, they care only about the almighty dollar), they simply want to control the market.

Well ... not in this house they won't.  I refuse to let any paper handled or produced by #Torstar to
come into this house. I don't care about Toronto, and I'm not interested in the gangs, the killings, the tawdry news they report; I'm not interested in Toronto politics, nor their traffic or their weather. I came from Toronto ... I escaped for a reason. I couldn't care less about that rat infested city. I certainly am not going to pay for their paper.

There has to be a better way.

And no, the better way is not from the internet at large. Sure, lots of bloggers can report better news than some of the big news stations, but wake up people ... not everyone even has access to the internet. Not everyone has a computer, or netbook, or tablet, or even (gasp) a cell phone.  Sometimes technology isn't the most important thing in life.

People are. It's the people that count, not the technology. Newspapers have been produced in one way or another long, long before any electronic technology existed at all.

So, where do we get our news now?  Sure, there is (I think) still the weekly #OrilliaToday but I don't think too many people see that as a serious paper ... it's pretty much a fluff paper. There are some things in it, but too often it's more Barrie than Orillia stuff, and the number of inserts and flyers far outweighs the paper itself. That paper is also delivered to homes for free ... no subscription (well, we've never had one and they have always delivered to us).  Nope. That paper is not going to cut it for Orillia.  The people who put it together deserve some kudos just for getting out there and doing what they do, but unless some serious money goes into that paper's improvement, it's going to stay what it is ... or die.

What now?  Develop a new print paper?  Yeah, well ... that does cost money, doesn't it? Who will report on council's doings; where will we read about neighbourhood improvements; how will we find out what's happening "in town" this week? the real estate?

  I can hear people now ... "just go on the internet".  Yeah, some people do think that, don't
they?  It's all about the internet lately, but it really isn't. Not for actual people who don't want to spend all their time doing that. People with a life, usually. Life isn't spent on the internet. Life is real. The internet is virtual.

I don't know what the answer will be for Orillia; our tourist industry is in part, bolstered by the fact that we have local news. We have reports that relate to local people, local lives, local business, local politics.  To lose that seems a little like the beginning of losing our identity. For someone who reads the newspaper every day that it's published ... it is a monumental loss. (Oh I know ... some of you will think it really isn't a big deal ... well, start talking to people and find out for yourself (no texting, just talking).

I'm so disheartened by this. It feels like we're going backwards. How is that progress?