Nathalie Collard, who has been pretty solid in the media beat at La Presse, comes out this morning with the news that Claude J. Charron of La Semaine is going to launch a new media venture in Montreal, and he’s purchased the name Montréal-Matin, which has gone unused since the daily newspaper shut down in 1978 – brought down by a strike.
According to Collard, the new Montréal-Matin would be mainly an online venture, but with a weekly printed component, kind of like Rue Frontenac is trying to do, she notes.
Collard also outs Charron as the man behind a mysterious ad that appeared in La Presse and Le Devoir in March seeking employees for a “nouveau quotidien québécois”.
Charron certainly has a history launching publications in Quebec. He started Lundi and 7 jours, both since sold to Quebecor, and started La Semaine to compete with them once a non-compete clause expired (forever putting Charron on Quebecor’s naughty list).
But I can’t help wonder, as Collard herself did in March, how crazy this guy must be to launch a new francophone newspaper in Montreal, where there are already five daily newspapers, a website (and soon paper weekly) run by dozens of locked-out journalists, an alt-weekly in Voir and all sorts of other news outlets on the Web.
It’s particularly crazy considering Rue Frontenac, which quite obviously operates at a huge loss when labour costs are factored in. It would make a lot more sense to wait until that conflict ends before launching another competing news media venture.
Or, you know, not. There are plenty of markets more in need of better journalism. How about a free daily in Quebec City? Another English paper or website in Montreal? Or an English publication anywhere else in Quebec? A French daily in Trois-Rivières to compete with Le Nouvelliste and replace the Journal de Trois-Rivières?
As much as I love journalism and want to see more of it, the Montreal French-language market is the least in need of more journalists.