The Saskatoon Express, whose tagline was ‘Saskatoon’s Real Community Newspaper,’ has issued its final edition, leaving a hole for the city’s readers.
Editor Cam Hutchinson broke the news Monday in a newspaper column, stating, “the Express, despite its closure, was one heck of a success story. We battled through changing times in the industry.”
In its weekly publication, The Express focused on hyper-local stories, ranging from arts and life to insightful commentary pieces.
“I was in shock, to be honest, because they had just revamped their website to make it more user-friendly on mobile devices,” said arts publicist Britainy Zapshalla.
Zapshalla said there were few arts story pitches she sent to the Express that were turned down. She’s noticed the arts “getting squeezed out in other traditional media.”
The final edition included stories on an upcoming beer festival, the Saskatoon Mini Maker Faire, and an exhibition at the University of Saskatchewan’s Museum of Antiquities. Numerous local columns also filled the pages.
“There was very little syndication, so that’s really what set it apart. It was Saskatoon reflected right back to you,” she said.
Hutchinson’s column also notes how national advertising “dried up, taking hundreds of thousands of dollars with it, and many local businesses decided to try different forms of advertising.”
The issue is plaguing newspapers big and small across North America.
Torstar Corp.’s Metro chain of newspapers left Saskatoon and Regina in 2014, followed three years later by the Moose Jaw Times Herald‘s closure. The departure of the Times Herald ended a 128-year run.
A University of Regina (U of R) print lab instructor in the School of Journalism described the newspaper revenue model as “broken,” stating fewer people are turning to traditional media.
“I think it’s a crisis and I think there are people out there in the community who don’t believe in the importance of journalism anymore,” said the U of R’s Mark Taylor.
Taylor noted there are innovators in journalism, like The Athletic, which is a subscription-based online sports outlet. Others, like the Canadaland podcast and print website, seek regular donations.
The Saskatoon Express began publishing in 2011.
WATCH: Moose Jaw Express newspaper moves into former Times Herald building (2018)