Stop the presses? Newspapers snubbed in Liberal government's cultural policy

VANCOUVER _ The chair of News Media Canada says the country’s struggling newspaper industry is “on its own” thanks to a federal cultural strategy that all but snubs so-called legacy media.

Bob Cox had lobbied the government to grow the Canadian Periodical Fund, which supports magazines, periodicals and local newspapers, from $75 million a year to $350 million.

But Heritage Minister Melanie Joly left little doubt in today’s long-awaited announcement that the Liberal government finds little favour with traditional print news models.

Rather than bail out industry models that are no longer viable, Joly says, the government will focus on supporting innovation, experimentation and the transition to digital platforms.

The new framework doesn’t increase the amount of money in the fund, but will expand who is eligible to receive money, such as digital-only periodicals.

All that means, says Cox, is that more organizations will be fighting over an already limited amount of money.

He says Ottawa is ignoring an ongoing crisis in Canadian newsrooms, which are racked with layoffs as traditional sources of ad revenue continue to dwindle.