Mon, 05/30/2016 - 20:01

Posted by H.G. Watson on January 25, 2016

By H.G. Watson, Associate Editor

A 149-year-old Guelph institution is ending.

On Jan. 25, the Guelph Mercury announced its last print edition would be released Jan. 29. It will continue as an online-only operation.

"This is indeed a sad day," Donna Luelo, publisher of the Guelph Mercury, said in a statement released on the newspaper’s website. "The decision was not made lightly, but the decline of classified and national advertising in recent years has made it impossible for the printed copy of the daily newspaper to remain profitable." There has also been a decline in home subscriptions to fewer than 9,000 home delivery subscribers.

Bob Hepburn, a spokesperson for Torstar, which owns the Mercury’s parent company, Metroland Media. He would not disclose any specific numbers regarding the Mercury’s revenue.

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As a result of the closure, 23 full-time and three part-time staff are being laid off. Eight staffers from editorial are affected.

Phil Andrews, managing editor of the Mercury, directed all questions to Luelo, who has not yet returned J-Source’s request for comment.

Though there will no longer be a daily print product in Guelph, the community will still be served by the Metroland community paper the Guelph Tribune, which publishes twice-weekly. According to Hepburn, the Tribune goes to more than 40,000 households in the Guelph area. Also available are a real estate magazine, Guelph and District Homes, and a lifestyle magazine, Guelph Life.

The statement released by the Mercury noted that “there may be job opportunities” for some of the laid-off workers at other publications operated by Metroland in the area.

Correction: A previous deck included with this story stated that 23 people had been laid-off. 26 people have been laid off. We apologize for the error. 

H.G. Watson can be reached at hgwatson@j-source.ca or on Twitter.

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.