Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Metro and Sunday Xtra
It has been a couple of days of Metro papers in Winnipeg and a couple of days after the debut of the Winnipeg Free Press Sunday Xtra paper. I have read the papers cover to cover.
The Metro is a paper published in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax and is available free daily in distinctive green boxes. In Winnipeg those boxes are often found around bus stops or other high traffic areas.
Most of the stories in the Metro are bite sized and can be read in about a minute or two. The paper is meant as a quick coffee shop read or a bus ride to your destination. It is very light on news, entertainment and sport.
Despite this, the paper does cover local stories albeit in short form. For example, the closing of Gisele's beauty school is buried in the business section of the Free Press whereas the story in the Metro is more front and center and features one of the displaced students. I have no problem of two different media groups covering the story differently.
Tuesday's Metro made a huge error in one of its interviews of a former premier. Edward Schreyer was being interviewed and the reporter wrote that his name was Shrayer. Yikes. I have no idea how the mistake was made but perhaps it is because the staff is so new to the city or to the profession or whatever. Schreyer probably has suits older than the reporter which doesn't help.
The Metro relies on a lot of newswire services and from the rest of its media empire to fill its pages. This isn't all a bad thing but it is noticeable and sometimes the lack of original takes on a subject can make people look elsewhere for that information.
Lack of local original content is not limited to the Metro. The Free Press Sunday Xtra is filled to the rafters with wire service stories. This isn't entirely a bad thing but local and original content for a weekly paper would be extremely welcome. They had two blogger stories which I think is excellent and would like to see more of that for sure. I would also like to see more original and local columnists.
This is an improvement over the On7 tabloid format that the Free Press tried. That paper proved to be too light on news updates from Saturday and too fluffy elsewhere to make the average reader want to pay more and seek out their boxes in the city.
I am still waiting a few weeks to fully decide on the Sunday Xtra. As far as the Metro goes, I think the Winnipeg Sun needs to look over its shoulder. If it comes down to a free paper versus The Sun, there might be a problem. Over the years The Sun has shed workers, local coverage and some important original coverage. This could be a problem as ultimately, it is doubtful whether people will pay just for the Sun girl.
Overall, I think the print media got more interesting this week.
Now, if we could only get new boxes across the city for all the college newspapers.