Demise of KTW will most impact older readers who don't go online, expert says

Older readers left behind?

The news consumers most affected by the recent closure of Kamloops This Week and other community newspapers are typically older and less savvy with technology, according to an expert in Canadian media.

Marc Edge, a journalist, author and media commentator, was in Kamloops last week for a series of lectures. He told Castanet online media will fill the gap left by KTW for everyone but those unwilling to go online.

“I don't think they will be able to fill it completely because you have to remember that there's a lot of old people out there who are not computer savvy, do not have smartphones, they still have landlines or flip phones,” he said.

“There are hardcore newspaper readers and they are the ones that are going to lose out with newspapers folding.”

KTW's final issue hit doorsteps on Wednesday and its last day of operations was on Monday.

Employees of the defunct newspaper have said they are attempting to start a new print publication. Edge said it may be a good opportunity to take on a co-operative ownership structure, in which the business is owned by its employees.

He cited CHEK-TV in Victoria as an example for how this structure may function.

“They could rescue or revive Kamloops This Week with a co-operative ownership structure, I think that'd be great,” he said.

“I hope they're looking into what happened in Victoria, because I'm sure they could get some assistance from the people there and tell them how they did it.”

In a series of talks hosted by Thompson Rivers University, Edge said newspapers need to return to their community roots, saying non-profit may be the way forward for many.

“It's the way of the future, just simply because there’s not a lot of profit left in newspapers. They're barely keeping their heads above water,” Edge said.

“A few publications did go nonprofit, so that they can under the legislation, accept donations and issue tax deductible receipt.”

KTW attempted to go non-profit before folding, according to former editor Christopher Foulds, but "ran out of time."

Edge spoke about his new book The Postmedia Effect, in which he says the $600 million bailout for select news outlets saw most of the money go to asset management firms in the United States.

“This is resulting in what I call the hollowing out of Canadian media — kind of compare it to Weekend at Bernie’s,” Edge said during his presentation.

“They're propping up the corpse of Canadian newspapers, pretending it's alive so the government can keep subsidizing it, so that money goes south to pay the hedge funds. It's a bit of a scam.”

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