The Ottawa Citizen died yesterday.
Oh, sure, there are still some good people there to put it out, for however long. But make no mistake: the marquee newspaper in our nation’s capital – the equivalent of our Washington Post – is dead.
Late yesterday, we got word that the following folks (and more) had taken a buyout, and/or were pushed out by the guild of vampires who are Postmedia:
- Peter Robb: editor, arts, sports
- Mark Kennedy: Parliamentary bureau chief, National Newspaper Award winner
- Rob Bostelaar: longtime reporter and editor (and who edited my stuff, full disclosure)
- Karen Turner: longtime reporter, editor
- Glen McGregor: national affairs reporter, Michener Award winner
- Anita Murray: homes editor
- Robert Sibley: senior writer, author
- Carl Neustadter: managing editor
- Andrew Potter: editor in chief
- Joanne Chianello: city affairs columnist
- Peter Simpson: arts editor (and another one of my former editors)
- Hugh Adami: columnist, longtime reporter
- Chris Cobb: senior writer
- Drew Gragg: deputy editor
- Stephanie Murphy: editor
(If you are on that list, but shouldn’t be, let me know at email@example.com. If you aren’t, but should be, let me know, too. If you want, that is.)
What does it mean? Well, it means Paul Godfrey doesn’t give a sweet shit about Canadian journalism, for starters. That much should be clear to everyone, by now. All that he cares about, seems, is fattening the accounts of U.S. hedge funds, and giving himself big bonuses as amazing people like the ones above are shown the door.
It also means that – for politicians and political staff – best wishes trying to get voters to know what you do, now, for good or ill. There’s increasingly no one around to take note, and write about it. Good luck with that re-election – you’ll need it. (Guess you should have spoken up when the Competition Bureau looked the other way, eh?)
For you? What does the slaughter at the Citizen mean for citizens? Other than you not being informed, or entertained, or moved? Other than you lacking the basic information you need to make important choices – be they political or consumer or just plain old life-related? Other than a dwindling number of writers and editors left to tell you what happens in Parliament? Other than not knowing when someone in power is hurting someone who is powerless, or when they’re stealing your money?
Other than those things, you might not notice at all.