Irving-owned Brunswick News gobbles up another weekly newspaper

The puiblication Here, which was launched in 2000 as a free urban-oriented, alternative weekly in Saint John, was taken over by the Irving media monopoly in late October 2005. The paper expanded into Moncton early in 2005. Irving then launched a copycat to compete directly for advertising dollars destined for Here.

Here's purpose allegedly was to provide an alternative voice.

Brunswick News states it aims to keep Here running (and expand it into Fredericton) while merging its competitor into Here. Here's founding editor, Mark Leger, said in the press release that the new owners have promised to keep things running as they were before. Irving owns all English-Language dailies and has been rapidly acquiring both English- and French-language weeklies in the province.

Approximately 80 per cent of "community newspapers" in Atlantic Canada have now been monopolized, either by Irving or Transcontinental Ltd., based in Montreal. The two media monopolies also control the means of production. Only three web offset (newsprint) presses in the Maritimes are independently owned: L'Acadie Presse in Caraquet, NB, which also publishes the French-language daily, L'Acadie Nouvelle; the Halifax Herald; and the Pictou Advocate.

When Transcontinental Ltd. acquired the assets of Canwest Global in Atlantic Canada, including the Halifax Daily News and its press, it immediately raised printing prices on small, independently-owned publications by ten per cent, laid off 120 workers, shut down printing operations in Yarmouth, Kentville, Truro and New Glasgow, and concentrated printing operations in Halifax. Transcontinental is now the largest owner of magazines and "community newspapers" across canada.

All but two Canadian daily newspapers are now controlled by powerful media corporations such as Canwest Global, which also push a political agenda. Although closely linked with the governing Liberal Party, the Asper family is supporting the Conservatives in this election.

At the same time, in both the US and Canada the "alternative press" has largely been monopolized and commercialized, with the exception of the independent media such as shunpiking magazine and numerous Internet websites.

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