We will hear a lot in the months ahead about who’s making money from news, so let’s get something straight: Even in the profit-soaked heyday of Canadian newspapers, no one made money from news, writes Peter Menzies in the Line

By Peter Menzies, March 16, 2021

We will hear a lot in the months ahead about who’s making money from news, so let’s get something straight: Even in the profit-soaked heyday of Canadian newspapers, no one made money from news.

That all ended about 100 years ago when radio — and then television — began delivering it for free.

Oh sure, the occasional ongoing news story would inspire people to buy more newspapers. But in my 30 years in that business the only event that did so in any significant way was the death and funeral of Princess Diana. Even then, after the extra cost of newsprint and distribution, the financial return was insignificant.

But mythologies die hard. People in newsrooms believed news made money — and apparently some still do — even when year after year, surveys of readers showed that there were lots of other things that sold and sustained newspapers.

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