Closure of Métro Media is a major loss for local journalism in Quebec

The sudden closure of Quebec newspaper publisher Métro Média last week was met with shock across the industry.

Andrew Mulé, Métro Média’s president and CEO, announced the suspension of operations at the company’s more than 30 hyperlocal publications — including 17 print newspapers — in a statement sent to employees, colleagues and contributors.

According to the Canadian Press, Mulé said he was informed Wednesday that the company no longer had the liquidity to continue operations. Mulé said the City of Montreal’s scrapping of Publisacs contributed significantly to the closing.

The Globe and Mail quoted a statement from François Cardinal, the deputy publisher at La Presse, who said what happened to Métro demonstrates that print outlets that have yet to complete their digital shift are threatened and under pressure.

“They feel they have no choice but to leave paper, with prices skyrocketing and advertisers leaving,” but creating an online platform that attracts readers and generates engagement is complex and expensive, he said.