Voir to publish twice a month

Voir

Voir, the last remaining of Montreal’s alternative weeklies, will soon no longer be a weekly.

Editor in Chief Simon Jodoin announced on Wednesday that, beginning this summer, the paper will publish twice a month instead of weekly. In a fine example of burying the lead on bad news, the announcement is at the very end of a long story talking about the paper’s future in upbeat tones.

The news comes a year after the company shut down Voir’s Saguenay and Mauricie editions, as well as English alt-weekly Hour. Last month, it killed its Gatineau edition.

But Jodoin isn’t presenting this as bad news. Instead, he says Voir will concentrate on writing longer, more in-depth articles and focusing more on related businesses (including one that apparently involves creating websites). I’m a bit skeptical about whether this will make a difference, or even whether people who pick up a free newspaper and read it on the metro want longer in-depth pieces. But clearly Voir isn’t throwing in the towel yet.

More coverage (well, mainly rewriting of Jodoin’s column) from Le Devoir and HuffPost Quebec. Pieuvre.ca asked for some thoughts from yours truly.

UPDATE (June 11): The Estrie edition is now also dead.

9 thoughts on “Voir to publish twice a month

  1. Dilbert

    They are pretty much going against the trend here, which is instant journalism, twitter life, and people with attention spans so short that they won’t read to the end of a sentence with more than one comma in it.

    They seem to be signing their own death certificate, going into an area which is basically “print news 2 weeks old that you no longer care about – BUT IN DEPTH!”. Generally by the time they get things out there, it’s not news. So do they become basically a news magazine on crappy paper?

    I guess we won’t Voir them very much longer.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      They are pretty much going against the trend here, which is instant journalism, twitter life, and people with attention spans so short that they won’t read to the end of a sentence with more than one comma in it.

      That’s the reason they are focusing on their website.

      They seem to be signing their own death certificate, going into an area which is basically “print news 2 weeks old that you no longer care about – BUT IN DEPTH!”.

      Except Voir doesn’t print much actual news. You’re not going to get reports about the daily happenings of the Charbonneau Commission in this paper. It’s more about columnists, arts and culture. And for that, why not two weeks instead of one?

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        “. It’s more about columnists, arts and culture. And for that, why not two weeks instead of one?”

        How about 4 weeks? Every 6 months? Yearly updates?

        See, even if they aren’t specifically about the news, they are about being current. Even when dealing with the arts, a review of a concert a couple of weeks ago is stale as it comes, and having to look forward two weeks (or even a little more) for some events means you are perhaps too early to be relevant.

        Reply
      2. Dilbert

        Oh, let me add this:

        If you think the only thing that is “news” is hard news, then you really missed the boat. The big concert last night is news (and is often on or near the front page of your own paper, usually as an image), and the upcoming movies and movie reviews and things are “news”, just not “hard government news”. There is nothing in saying “news” that means it has to be your beloved Charbonneau Commission.

        Being current is very important. Being out of date is the business of magazines with 3 month lead times, and we know pretty much what is happening with many of them, losing ad dollars and failing rapidly, moving online trying to stay alive.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          The big concert last night is news

          Even The Gazette puts its concert reviews online now, except for the really big ones, which come in so late they have to be printed a day later. My point is that Voir doesn’t print a lot of “this happened yesterday” news, because that doesn’t work for a weekly.

          Reply
          1. Dilbert

            “My point is that Voir doesn’t print a lot of “this happened yesterday” news”

            I must really need to learn to write better, because I wasn’t saying that they did. As a weekly, they aren’t a place to go get the most recent up to date news. However, at the same time, when you double the time to 2 weeks between editions, you pretty much make the paper worthless for any “current” discussions. At best, Voir could perhaps be the final voice on subjects weeks after they happen, giving some background and depth to stories. Sadly, that is also the point that most people have tuned out and no longer have any great interest in the story. Essentially, they make themselves less and less relevant to the discussion.

            I am not sure what Voir could cover that far behind things that would make any sense. As a weekly they were already somewhat out of sync with the speed of modern information flow, and doubling that just seems to be going away from what’s really going on.

            As you said, if the Gazette is dumping concert reviews into the online only realm because they are too out of date to print, imagine what they would look like two weeks later.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              when you double the time to 2 weeks between editions, you pretty much make the paper worthless for any “current” discussions

              That is, of course, the risk. But there is plenty of stuff that’s not nearly as time-sensitive. Profiles of artists, opinion columns, feature stories and plenty of other material could easily wait an extra week, while more breaking-news stories could be posted online. Expect Voir to take a less newsy and more feature-y approach to what goes in the paper.

              Reply
              1. Dilbert

                I agree. But in doing so, are they also not alienating the few remaining advertisers, who would have to be placing ads almost a month before an event (such as who is appearing at a club)?

                It would seem they are killing off their final income sources.

  2. Steve Banyan

    I have worked at one of Montreal alt weeklies. Voir will not survive a year in that format. Watch for them to go 100% online by end of 2014, possibly sooner.

    Reply

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