Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shifts in Ottawa media in 2010

With the bankruptcy on Canwest, 2010 marked a year of significant shifts in national media which were felt in Ottawa.  Aside from national ownership changes, there were also local ownership and format changes in the capital.  If access to information is an indicator of quality of life you can say that quality of life has increased with these shifts in our local media market.

We may not see such large changes in the Ottawa media market in 2011, but with the approaching expansion of the CTV Ottawa facilities and growth in digital and online media at the Ottawa Citizen and Open File Ottawa, the future is friendly.

Here are the shifts that we saw in Ottawa media:

1. Ottawa receives a new francophone radio station

Radio de la communauté francophone d’Ottawa received permission from the CRTC to operate a francophone radio station on the 94.5 MHz radio frequency on February 4, 2010.  Also  known as CJFO FM, the station was officially launched on November 15, 2010 at 6am.


2. Ottawa Citizen undergoes change in ownership

With the bankruptcy of Canwest Global Communications, the newspaper publishing arm, including the Ottawa Citizen, was sold to a new ownership group, Postmedia Network, on July 13, 2010 for $1.1 billion dollars.  Postmedia has promised to transition to a "digital-first strategy" which will affect how the Ottawa Citizen will deliver its product in the future.


3.  CTV makes Byward Market its permanent home

After losing its original studio in a fire, CTV announced on July 14, 2010 that it would make the Byward Market its permanent home.  They hinted at a possible expansion of their facilities including possibly moving their National Bureau from the World Exchange Plaza to the George Street building.  These plans were reiterated in early December and are slated to include office space, 13 edit suites, five production edit suites, three TV studios and two control rooms.  The expansion will accomodate staff from the Merivale and World Exchange Plaza sites.


4. Ottawa Business Journal returns to local ownership

Founder and former publisher, Mark Sutcliffe, along with current publisher, Michael Curran, and former executive Donna Neil acquired the Ottawa Business Journal from Montreal-based Transcontinental, Inc.  Also included in the deal were its spin-off publications and events including Ottawa Technology Magazine, Meeting in the Capital, Ottawa at Home magazine, Forty Under 40, and CEO of the Year. This transaction will add OBJ to Great River Media's existing portfolio which includes The Kitchissippi Times, their national magazine iRun, and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce magazine The Voice.  The deal was made final on August 18, 2010.


5.  1310 Oldies becomes 1310 News

On October 18, 2010 Ottawa became the latest city, after Calgary, Vancouver, Moncton, St. John, Halifax, Kitchener, and Toronto, to receive a Rogers all-news radio station when 1310 Oldies underwent a format change to become 1310 News. 

According to Wikipedia, with this format change Ottawa is now the largest Canadian market with no AM music stations.


6. Open File brings open and participatory journalism to Ottawa

In November Open File brought its open and participatory model of journalism to the capital.  This model allows participants to open a news file which is then assigned to an experienced reporter.  With the growing popularity of open and participatory websites like YouTube people want to participate in how information is shared.  This has led to a growing concern about the truth and integrity of information sharing and new reporting.  Open File bridges that gap.

Open File Ottawa has already created awareness on issues such as intensification, retail in the downtown core, and the environment.

Kevin Bourne

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kevin, great post - the media landscape in Ottawa is definitely changing and new voices are never a bad thing. We're also seeing changing in multiple formats, which is really exciting for news consumers.

    I wanted to point out that there was also a significant development in community newspapers in Ottawa in 2010.

    Metroland Media (my company) launched four new weekly community newspapers called Ottawa This Week, which serve the Central, West, East and South ends of the city.

    Including the existing Metroland papers - the Kanata Kourier-Standard, Nepean This Week, Barrhaven-Ottawa South This Week, the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide, West Carleton Review and the Stittsville News - these newspapers reach 228,037 homes in the City of Ottawa each week. That's more than double the circulation of both the Citizen and Sun combined.

    Our approach is very hyper-local, so we're telling you about the things happening in your neighbourhood that matter to you.

    It's a different approach to the news and another significant development in the local media landscape.

    You can read us online at www.yourottawaregion.com and follow me on Twitter @OTWpolitics.

    Laura Mueller
    Political Reporter
    Metroland Media Group - Ottawa