Monday, January 25, 2016

Nanaimo Daily News Closure - Just A Matter Of Time?

After 141 years and several different corporate owners, the Daily News (formerly Nanaimo Daily Free Press) announced the closing of this publication this month. The closure will affect approximately 25 employees.

Black Press purchased the Daily News and Harbour City Star from Glacier Press in a package deal that included several other Island papers. This gave Black Press a virtual monopoly on the print media in Nanaimo, as they already owned the Bulletin.

The following appeared on Nanaimo Info Blog in Dec. 2014 when the purchase was announced.

Local businesses will only have the Bulletin as an option for their print advertising which Black Press should find a desirable advantage. Whether it is a benefit to local businesses is another issue all together.

Obviously good for Black Press & Glacier
how about Nanaimo and Nanaimo businesses?

The recent announcement that media moguls Glacier and Black Press have divided up some of their competing money-makers on Vancouver Island is likely good for them, but not so good for local businesses.

This recent deal gives Black Press a virtual monopoly on the traditional mainstream print media in Nanaimo which eliminates the healthy market forces that true competition brings. That said, it is unlikely that Nanaimo could continue to support all three publications and consolidation of the market could well be the only way any of them will survive.

The Nanaimo News Bulletin has pretty much cornered the flyer market which in newspaper land is usually pure gravy as there are no production costs and very little extra work to include with their regular deliveries. The Bulletin has never gone for paid circulation so they are able to offer advertisers city-wide delivery which gave them the edge over the Daily which has less than 5,000 paid subscribers in Nanaimo. The Daily offers city-wide delivery on Thursday only in an attempt to take some of the Bulletins business. The Harbour City Star exists for pretty much the same reason.


The actual change of taking over operations does not kick in until March 2 when Black Press will take control of the operations of the Nanaimo Daily News and the Harbour City Star. The reality is, that one owner does not need to compete with themselves unless they are trying to keep out competition, which in Nanaimo would be highly unlikely.

With the purchase of the Daily News and it's production facilities the staff and production facilities at the Bulletin become pretty much redundant. How long Black Press will maintain two premises, two production facilities and two news and advertising staff is a bet I wouldn't take. I predict there will definitely be a loss of jobs in the mainstream media in town. The tricky part will be how Black Press handles their union and non-union staffing. A betting guy would think they will try and shed the union if at all possible making the News Bulletin staff, likely the most secure. It is safe to say at least one third of the staff will be redundant after the operations are amalgamated and 50% of the production capacity is also redundant.

It will be interesting to see if either the Daily or the Bulletin staff 'pick up their game' when it comes to producing a better quality 'news' product as neither of them would be in the running for any awards for journalistic excellence these days. The local Daily has certainly slid with the exit of Hugh Nicholson and Mark MacDonald these past few months, and of course the Bulletin is just a flyer wrapper parading as a newspaper for a long time now.


Going out on a limb here, I would say the days local merchants could haggle for the price of advertising will be a thing of the past as there will likely be an astonishing similarity in what the Daily and the Bully charge for print ads and flyer delivery.

After all, they are not likely going to be competing with each other any more, once they share the same building, staff and production facilities.



  1. Jim the last line of your first paragraph should read: The closure will AFFECT approximately,,,,,

    Cliff Marcil

  2. Thanks for that ..... I actually knew it..... :^)


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