Wednesday, February 1, 2023


Carol Hyslop
/ Categories: News, Letter to the Editor

Another Newspaper Bites the Dust


I will mourn the death of the printed Chronicle Herald (mists of time-2022) for some time. Oh, I know it is not dead yet, but suspect its days are numbered. It will not, at first, actually die but be transformed, to continue in the ether in a form not available or readable for many.

The great leaders of Saltwire Network, who like to call their subscribers 'members' (I suppose to indicate a warm and fuzzy relationship with the publishers) did not have the courtesy to warn their valued 'members' in advance that their printed newspapers would no longer appear in their mailboxes. Instead, renewal notices continued to be sent out and paid. 

Subscribers in my community received a mailed notice on November 20 of a change coming on November 28 (there are no issues printed for November 27 or 28). What exactly that change entailed was not clearly stated. The notice at first seemed to be merely a missive extolling a new digital copy of the Chronicle Herald available to us for $14 a month. But wait....hadn't we been able to access Saltwire online for quite some time? Then there was the ominous word "only" in the first paragraph to raise suspicions. Trying to contact Saltwire for clarification was not easy. Member service representatives said to be 'standing by to assist' at a listed phone number were not standing by. Contact by e-mail with the Chronicle Herald brought a polite reply that lead to the belief, as first thought, the paper was being discontinued. It was later explained that the paper would still be printed but not delivered. The result would be the same to me and others like me. 

The Chronicle Herald has been bringing Nova Scotia news to subscribers all over the province for, it seems, time immemorial. The dissemination of factual and honest news is necessary to maintain our existence as a province, as a country. As a society we have come to rely on newspapers and other media to supply us with that service. It is the responsibility of the publishers to get their product to subscribers in a form suitable for them. Subscribers will pay the publishing company. 

I am aware that the newspaper industry has been experiencing hard times and they have my sympathy and what support I can give. But newspapers are more than a business that must make a certain profit to survive. They are an essential service. 

Services are not based on obtaining lucrative profit, but on providing something people need to prosper and to exist as a civilization. Services support community, communities support democracy and democracy has given us a peaceful and secure nation in which to lead our lives. 

In my lifetime I have watched our once commonplace services erode. I have watched while the common denominator for life in Nova Scotia became dollars and cents rather than people and community. 

Certain sectors of our society have been deemed unworthy of attention or support: the poor, the elderly and people who dwell in rural areas. 

Our province fell for the 'bigger is better' mindset that appeared in the 60s. Our government started amalgamating the administration of services such as education and health care, increasingly eliminating the participation of the ordinary citizen and putting everything under the direction of 'professionals'. The results have not been edifying. 

People of all walks of life who live in all types of communities, large or small, need to participate in the maintenance of our province/country. It is our responsibility if we wish to continue living the style of life we now enjoy. 

Having the Chronicle Herald denied to some people is just another step down the 'slippery slope'. Observing how certain members of our society are treated by big businesses and - I am sorry to say, by our government - moves me to act. 

I am not rich. I hold no powerful position. I am not young. I feel it my duty to object to the path our society is on. The only method by which I can do this is through writing to various media outlets and government officials.

I hope it will annoy some people enough to make them stop and think. 

Carol Hyslop 

Wentworth Station

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2 comments on article "Another Newspaper Bites the Dust"


Mark Rushton

The Chronicle-Herald's demise has been well-documented by The Halifax Examiner (an online-only, independent, subscriber-supported news source that regularly punches above its weight, covering NS happenings far more professionally than one might expect).

My own beginnings in the "news biz" in the early 1990s showed me the trend, which only accelerated with the explosion of internet-based communications for the masses. While advertising dollars fled to nascent digital platforms and the old newspaper business models fell apart, newsrooms were ever-more centralized as technology enabled one "command centre" to manage various individual reporters stationed around the province / country. No more local newspapers when a Halifax or Toronto-based corporation could receive stories from "stringers" and freelancers. The in-depth local familiarity that small-town newspapers (or in the Chronicle-Herald's case, it's regional branches) provided were lost in the transition.

That, and the generational change at the CH was a disaster at every turn.

But to the point of the ending of local delivery of the newspaper in rural communities... there's an aspect to this that I think is significant but not appreciated yet by many: How will those of us who heat with wood start our fires? Rural NS has the highest proportion of wood-heating, and is precisely the area that is losing this resource. What will be the substitute?


Wayne Redmond

Very well articulated, Carol. It's all so true, and there will, unfortunately, be more of this type of action to come. The quality of life is being greatly diminished by poor or totally lacking services. Look at our Third World power utility services, lack of quality cellphone and internet services, road maintenance, and higher cost grocery stores with limited selection.

I use digital publications such as BBC and other quality overseas offerings, but my Mum could never use a tablet or cellphone to read digital anything. Even I much prefer to physically peruse a newspaper, picking and choosing with a quick scan, what I wish to read. I'm not alone. I have a young friend, who having graduated from the U of T a couple years ago, always read his alumni magazine from start to finish in its printed form. After it became all digital, he hasnt read it even once. That must say something about human behaviour and our natural comfort level with different media. I know the old Oxford Journal was a bit hokey at times, but it surely met the need of the communities it served, giving much community information and a sense of connection to all those who read it.

Surely, a new startup could prosper after the Chronicle Herald leaves a void. One, perhaps a weekly paper, acting as a regional offering of things of interest in various local communities. Volunteer input would be necessary to make it viable, and I bet that would offered quite readily. I do not, however, have any idea as to the capital costs associated with starting such an enterprise, but if local and regional businesses could support it, I'd be willing to bet it could make a go of it. We probably will never know because that move will be unlikely to be considered.

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