Thursday, February 12, 2009

Canwest corpse watch

About a year ago, I began the Canwest Deathwatch feature. I had seen the shares tumble while listening to university professors prattle on about convergence and the new media. I realized then that the Internet is every lame publisher and editor's dream. It gets the blame for the fact newspapers are dying. No need to talk about over-leveraging, lousy reporting, vapid Boomer lifestyle features and all the rest. The Internet is the great journalistic sin eater.
Canwest is the poster boy for media fuck-ups. A family-operated company, the heirs of Izzy Asper turned out to be dumb rich kids. Debt costs bred layoffs. I said 18 months ago Canwest would die in the next recession.
Well, it's here.
Today, Reuters is carrying a story about the likelihood of Canwest seeking court protection from its creditors.
I think people who work at Global TV and Canwest papers, and those people who want to work in media, should look towards the future. Canwest's insolvency is the best thing to happen to Canadian journalism in a decade. There is no way the Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette and the rest of the Canwest papers will close. They make lots of money. As for the National Post, it will survive in some form, probably as the Financial Post with a rather Wall Street Journal-like news section.
Most of the TV stations will make it, under various owners.
But the management will change. This can only be a good thing for Canadian journalism.
Things can't be too bad. This guy still has a job.

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