Searching for Honest Journalism: ruefrontenac.com
A rather unique model of alternative journalism, ruefrontenac.com is the creation of the 253 members of the Syndicat des travailleurs de l'information du Journal de Montréal who were thrown out of work when Quebecor locked them out over two years ago.
The lock-out was finally ended this Feb 26, when 64.1% of the workers voted to accept a mediator's recommendation that they take an offer that would restore jobs for 62 of the workers and pay out $20 million in severance to the others. All pending a back to work protocol, which isn't germane to today's topic.
Meanwhile, ruefrontenac.com had been steadily building its online edition and had started publishing a print edition, which ran for 25 issues before announcing its closure yesterday.
In yesterday's article, ruefrontenac's Richard Bousquet writes that the demise of the print edition, despite growing support, is a result of media concentration and the preference of large advertisers to deal with agencies that can place their ads across the country, rather than deal with individual publishers.
It also goes on to say in the article that the future directions of ruefrontenac are still in development and that it continues to grow in popularity.
It is hard to imagine that Quebecor, i.e. Sun Media, would be super excited to have precipitated a 25-month lock-out ostensibly to shore up one end of its business, only to set up most of the locked out workers in competition against them. It is very easy to imagine that the everyday Quebec reader would gladly pledge allegiance to ruefrontenac, who would appear to be holding plenty of cards, so it will be very interesting to see how the whole thing unfolds.
One thing for sure is that ruefrontenac.com has already developed a significant brand and a fairly professional product. They call their enterprise a little adventure. It has been a small but valuable gift to the people of Quebec.
Unfortunately, as someone said in the comments of yesterday's article, even a small Gaulish village that stands up heroically for what is right, eventually becomes Romanized.