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Torstar shutting down Star Halifax, other free dailies

Torstar president John Boynton's note to readers appears in the Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 edition of StarMetro Halifax, photographed outside the Halifax bureau on Barrington Street.
Torstar president John Boynton's note to readers appears in the Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 edition of StarMetro Halifax, photographed outside the Halifax bureau on Barrington Street. - Eric Wynne
HALIFAX, N.S. —

Torstar on Tuesday announced the closure by year’s end of The Star Halifax and its four sister publications across the country in what the company says is part of its future national expansion plan.

Shutdown of the free newspaper publications will put 73 editorial, advertising and distribution employees out of work.

“This difficult decision was made after an in-depth review for all the papers,” John Boynton, president of Torstar, said in a memo sent to staff Tuesday.

“While StarMetro newspapers have been editorial successes and have developed loyal audiences over the years, print advertising volumes have decreased significantly in recent months to levels below those required to make them commercially viable.”

The Star Halifax, along with free daily newspapers in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary will cease publication on Dec. 20. 

The company has decided to go with a pure digital/mobile product outside of Toronto.

Torstar says it will offer country-wide digital access to thestar.com, which will continue to feature news and features from the cities and regions in which the publication closures are taking place. The Star plans to open bureaus in Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver in the coming weeks and staff those bureaus with local journalists. 

“Job postings for these bureaus will be available internally later today and on Wednesday,” the Boynton memo said. “StarMetro journalists will be able to apply for those posts, as will journalists from The Toronto Star, our Community News and regional daily publications and qualified journalists from outside the company.”

Torstar says it will reveal news in the future of a further expansion of its digital presence across Canada. 

“As everyone is aware, digital and mobile are our future,” Boynton said in the memo. “We must continue to adapt and transform our company for that digital, mobile, data-driven future in order to provide our customers with news and information where and when they want it.”

The Star chain was originally branded as Metro but rebranded in April 2018.
 

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