After the Online News Act Passed, Another Newspaper Shuts Down

As some supporters claim Meta’s link blocking had no impact on news sites, the Whitehorse Daily Star announces it’s shutting down.

Yesterday, I noted that some supporters of the Online News Act are trying to claim that Meta dropping news links had no impact on news publishers. This despite the ample evidence to the contrary saying that news organizations have been severely harmed by the development. Other supporters have tried to launch legal action against Meta admitting that the lack of Meta has harmed them greatly, though nothing has really materialized since those calls (it’s difficult to see how such action could compel Meta to restore news links).

At the end of the day, the claims that news publishers have not been impacted by the Meta news links block is just a sad attempt at flipping the script. What’s more, news we’ve seen today further buries those arguments. The Whitehorse Daily Star has announced that they are shutting down operations after 124 years:

This decision has not been made lightly, but due to several overwhelming factors persistently working against us, it is necessary.

It’s no surprise to most that the newspaper industry has faced significant challenges in recent years, a decline in circulation being one.

As well, more and more clients have shifted their advertising to social media sources, and continue to do so. This trend has become virtually impossible to compete with.

Sustaining operations has become increasingly difficult. Even though we have explored several options, it is no longer feasible to carry on business operations.

The Star has been an integral part of the Yukon’s landscape since 1900.

One factor that wasn’t mentioned, but very likely a contributing factor is the blocking of news links on Meta. The newspapers Facebook page has, like so many other news organizations, had their content wiped thanks to the news links block. The Facebook page boasts of over 17,000 followers, suggesting that they had quite the following when news links were still something that can be posted in Canada. If we are talking about a small news outlet, such a following would’ve had a positive impact on such an operation. What’s more, losing access to that following would’ve had an impact as well.

Obviously, like many other newspapers in Canada, there are multiple factors involved, though the fact that the paper cast some blame on social media suggests that the dropping of news links had an impact even if the paper didn’t care to admit it.

At any rate, the Online News Act news organization death toll is continuing to rise. Even worse is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that’s going to change the situation. Instead, we are going to continue to see how much the Online News Act is going to continue to end in tears for multiple news organizations.

(Hat tip: @Pagmenzies)

Drew Wilson on Mastodon, Twitter and Facebook.

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