Thunder Bay District Municipal League president Larry Hebert speaks at the conclusion of their annual fall meeting at the Prince Arthur Hotel on Saturday. Hebert introduced a resolution that will see the municipal league send a letter to the parent company of The Chronicle-Journal to advocate for more local reporters.
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The lack of staffing at the city’s daily newspaper has regional leaders concerned.
The Thunder Bay District Municipal League voted to pass a resolution to request Continental Newspapers, the parent company of Thunder Bay’s Chronicle-Journal, to explore the feasibility of hiring local reporters.
TBDML president Larry Hebert introduced the resolution at the conclusion of their annual fall meeting at the Prince Arthur Hotel on Saturday, and explained he has heard from concerned retired media members.
“We realize with the cutbacks required because of competition nowadays with electronic media that newspapers are having a more difficult time getting their bottom line,” Hebert explained.
“We think they’ve gone a little too far in Thunder Bay by cutting back to no reporters at all in the Thunder Bay office.”
The newspaper has laid off a substantial number of city reporters over the past few years, and has been reduced to a pair of bureau reporters. One works out of Dryden and the other out of Marathon.
Staff members that worked exclusively as photographers have had to pick up additional duties. In addition, freelance writers are frequently relied upon to provide coverage.
They had also made a decision to stop paying local columnists, a decision they have since reversed.
However, Thunder Bay Coun. Rebecca Johnson does not want to tell a private corporation how to conduct their business.
She believes there is no difference telling the newspaper to hire new staff than delivering the same message to a coffee shop.
“It is a private business, and it should not be a political decision to be able to identify to a private business how to run their business,” Johnson commented.
“I think it’s sad the paper has made the decision they have, but I don’t find it incumbent upon our organization to be telling a private business to run by hiring additional people. I don’t think that’s ethical.
In other business, the municipal league voted unanimously to support Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP’s Bill Mauro spring bear hunt.
Mauro announced his intention in September to create a private member's bill to expand a bear hunt, and in October introduced Bill 114 to reinstate the spring hunt.
Hebert said he has heard from hunters who have encountered more bears than moose, and added bears are a nuisance across the entire region and there is a need to better manage populations.
Click here to submit a letter to the editor.