“What we are seeing now is that revenues are plunging, acceleration of this downward spiral is getting faster and faster and news coverage more and more sparse. And that’s a recipe for catastrophe.”
A new report from Canada’s Public Policy Forum has measured the speed at which the nation’s newspapers are shrinking. The number of newspaper articles produced over the last 10 years has shrunk by almost half; wire service stories are taking the place of local political coverage; and of the articles still being produced, fewer include coverage of democratic institutions and civic affairs.
The report, “Mind the Gaps: Quantifying the Decline of News Coverage in Canada,” emerged from an interest in finding out how much — if at all — news coverage has decreased over the past 10 years. “One of the black holes of information has been exactly what is the effect on coverage of our civic institutions,” said Edward Greenspon, president and CEO of PPF.
The Public Policy Forum, with the consulting firm Nordicity, surveyed 20 anglophone and francophone communities across Canada, looking at the volume and depth of the articles, measured by factors such as the number of direct quotes in stories. Here’s what they found.