As a newspaper reader, and an old-school newspaperman, it saddens me to hear that the Edmonton Journal will no longer publish a Sunday edition. Having a newspaper to read every day is part of my DNA, and ever since the Journal added a Sunday paper — to much fanfare and great success — starting off Sunday with a leisurely read of the paper has been part of my routine.
When the Journal introduced a Sunday paper, it was a very big deal. Designed to go head-to-head with the Edmonton Sun (which has always had a hefty Sunday paper; as I recall, their very first edition was a Sunday paper) The Journal put everything they had into their Sunday paper. For years, it was a great read. Longer stories, better graphics, everything you expect from a big city newspaper.
But let’s be honest. The Journal Sunday paper is a shadow of its former self. Oh, there’s still good stuff in it on a good Sunday, only a whole hell of a lot less. What was once the Journal’s chance to really show off what it could do is now little more than a weekday paper with an additional section.
I suppose the writing has been on the wall for the Sunday paper for some time. Last Sunday’s paper had, by my count, about 18 paid ads. That’s not going to cut it, clearly.
The loss of the Sunday paper (hey, Journal … am I going to get a reduced rate as a subscriber?) overshadowed another development at the Journal — the end of TV Times.
This one was obvious for some time. Not many years ago, the TV Times was a cash cow for the Journal. Newsstand sales soared on Friday as TV viewers bought the paper solely for the hefty TV listings. Advertisers loved the thing. As a TV ‘bug” (as my mom used to say), it was one of my favourite papers of the week. (Years ago, the TV listings were printed as a couple of single, broadsheet pages that required a complicated, oragami-like feat of folding to turn into a TV Guide sized publication.) But now, TV listings are on screen on most TVs, so the TV Times got smaller and smaller until it was reduced to what it is now … a few pages of listings, and nothing else. Even TV Guide, once the most widely-read magazine in Canada, no longer produces a printed magazine, so it’s remarkable TV Times hung in as long as it has.
Probably the only place in town celebrating the demise of the Sunday Journal is the Edmonton Sun, which now has Sunday all to itself. Mind you, it will be a muted celebration; from what I’ve heard, the Sun is pretty much hollowed out now, with more empty desks than employees.
The National Post is suspending its Monday edition for the summer. As lame as the Monday Journal is, if that happened here I would have to rethink continuing to subscribe. One day without a paper I can live with. Two days would result in withdrawal so bad, I might be forced to read the Sun.