After more than 15 months, 317 editions and 12.5 million copies, MédiaMatinQuébec, the paper put out by striking and locked-out workers from the Journal de Québec, published its final issue this morning (PDF). Next week, the 252 workers return to the Journal de Québec and start re-learning how to do their jobs (which now will include increased use of multi-media for journalists), thanks to the deal that was approved last month.
In other words, it’s ok to like the Journal de Québec again (though it remains to be seen what it will take in from all that the employees have learned from putting out a paper over 15 months).
The MMQ’s final issue, at a staggering 80 pages, is filled with congratulatory ads from local businesses and unions, as well as retrospectives on the paper and the union’s long fight. In fact, other than the crossword and horoscope, that’s all that’s in those 80 pages. Stories about the 15 months of the paper’s existence, a collage of the best photos used in the paper, and mostly first-person retrospectives from dozens of employees who struggled through 15 months working in a cramped office, getting up early and standing in traffic handing out newspapers for pennies of strike pay. (Michel Hébert has a more poetic obit on his blog as well as a copy of his final column.) It’s also interspersed with comments from readers who say they’ll miss the free paper with no filler material, no wire services and 100% local news compiled by dedicated professionals.
You’ve never seen so many people happy to see their paper cease to exist. But then, that was its goal all along. The deal reached with the Journal wasn’t what either side wanted, but it was fair. And now everyone can return to work and start receiving a proper paycheque again.
More importantly, MédiaMatinQuébec may have changed the face of media union pressure tactics forever. Taking what happened during the CBC lockout to the next step, they put away their baseball bats and picket signs and protested by doing their jobs. And the public loved them for it.
MédiaMatinQuébec is dead. Long live MédiaMatinQuébec.