It was a triumvirate of Bitove, Rivett and Peterson. The two young entrepreneurs and their eminence gris, David Peterson, the former premier of Ontario. Jordan Bitove, fresh from his family’s success in bringing the Toronto Raptors to Toronto and their NBA championship, and Paul Rivett, the hardnosed investment whiz, with their lawyer taking over the history laden Toronto Star—not a newspaper person among them. It was failure in the making.
But what a way to go. Newspaper exposés. Dramatic war coverage in Ukraine. Eulogizing a queen. In depth coverage of Canadian politics. All in a newspaper bleeding red ink. Add an on-line casino to the mix to get some positive cash flow.
Did you not think that was a funny way to run a family newspaper?
And tell us this; Is it cheaper to tell a few stories at great length or to tell many stories in shorter lengths?
Hey, I was betting for them. And I knew to stay away from their casino.
There must have been lots of special deals to get all those causes to take full-page ads in the daily paper.
But I think that Mr. Rivett has finally got the message that a daily newspaper is a money pit. Every day, you have to shovel in more money to keep it running. The first hundred years are tough. The second hundred years are tougher. And once you stop, there is no easy way to restart it.
Part of the problem is the constant advancement of technology. A hundred years ago radio was going to replace newspapers. And 60 years ago, television was going to replace radio and newspapers. Now we hear that the Internet is replacing newspaper, radio and television.
But the technology cannot verify accuracy. There’s a confidence people build into the information they learn from print media as opposed to broadcast. It is also why broadcast media will spend money and time building up the legitimacy of their reporters, columnists and news anchors.
And as Mr. Bitove and Mr. Revitt have found out, there are no overnight answers to profitability in such a complex business.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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