Future of journalism front-and-centre at public forum in Cobourg

Journalism Forum in Cobourg
A group of local journalists held a forum on the future of the industry in Northumberland County.

More than 100 community members attended a forum on local news in Northumberland County on Tuesday night.

It was put on by Loyalist College faculty members with the journalism and communications program as well as a group of local journalists.

The focus was how to strengthen local news coverage in the western part of the county.

“I think we have a good base here. We have good components, but it’s like a garden. We have a garden but we need the plants to grow,” said Rob Washburn, professor of journalism at Loyalist College.

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In November 2017, Northumberland Today, the community’s only daily newspaper was closed as part of the Torstar Corp. and Postmedia Network Canada Corp. deal that saw several papers change hands and close.

The paper served Port Hope, Cobourg, Hamilton Township, Alnwick Haldimand Township and the Township of Cramahe.

“A hundred-eighty-seven years of tradition just disappeared, overnight it seemed. There is a future here though. Tonight, we are exploring that future,” added Washburn.

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Community members were asked questions including, “What does local news mean to you?”

Many used that time to circle back to the closure of the paper and the loss of having a daily paper in the community.

The group of journalists will take their findings from the forum and prepare a report. It will be released to the community later this year.