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.

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Jim Cotton said...

The spelling mistakes were bad, but I look forward to reading the Metro on a daily basis.

Colin said...

Mark my words: newspapers (and other media outlets) that ignore local coverage are consigning themselves to extinction.

Hyperlocal isn't a trendy term, it's a survival strategy in 2011. They ignore it at their peril.

mrchristian said...

Metro, not a bad option for flipping though while grabbing lunch which is the only time I would ever read the Sun. I noted lots of advertising, including many full page ads. If they can keep that up they'll do fine.

The Sunday Xtra is a better read than the On7 was. Hopefully the lack of local content is just them getting it off the ground.

Layne said...

Recently The Sun has been running ads looking for people to hand out free copies of the paper. No mention of where these freebies will be distributed, but I'm guessing Metro boxes will be in close proximity.

Anonymous said...

In the circus below Portage and Main there are three people handing out the Metro and three handing out the Sun.

John Dobbin said...

I welcome any new print publication. I have read it each day so far but the jury is still out on whether they can be distinctive and local enough for someone like me in terms of the Metro.

Jim: I continue to read it but for more detail or very local story such as a sports story, I really have to keep up with the paid papers.

Colin: I agree that local content is the way to go.

Mr. Christian: I am hoping for more local columns in the Sunday Xtra.

Layne and Anon: I think the Sun is in trouble personally.