COLUMN: Is celebrity gossip your 'local news'? Ottawa seems to think so – Columbia Valley Pioneer
Hockey news, fashion tips, TV and movie listings, retirement strategies, updates on Celine Dion – all of this information now constitutes local media, at least according to federal Heritage Minister Melanie Joly.
This week marked a black spot in the history of Canadian newspapers with the closure of three dozen of them, taking out of circulation three million copies of printed newspapers each week and eliminating more than 300 jobs.
Joly’s response in Ottawa was a refrain that she has been using more and more lately, saying the federal government is already helping news providers. “We value the importance of journalism and that’s why we invest up to $75 million per year in local media,” she said.
This is true only if you use a definition of “local media” unlike any other ever attempted.
The minister was referring to the Aid to Publishers program, through which the government provides annual grants to printed publications – magazines and non-daily newspapers — primarily to help with distribution costs.
Many Canadians will be surprised by who is getting this support for “local media.”
Figures from the 2014-15 fiscal year show:
The Hockey News, which primarily covers the NHL, got $1.3 million. TVHebdo got $1.5 million. It provides TV listings in French and is owned by the same company as the TVA television network in Quebec. TV Week, which provides TV listings in British Columbia, got $1 million. Allo Vedettes, which provides Quebec celebrity news and often features Celine Dion on the cover, got $218,721. Good Times, a magazine aimed at retirees, got $588,531. Flare magazine got $408,236; Chatelaine got $1.5 million for its English edition and $848,428 for its French one. Movie Entertainment got $1.5 million. It is produced for subscribers to