The guys behind Montreal-based Maisonneuve Magazine announced yesterday that effective Dec. 19, they would be putting the daily newspaper briefing MediaScout on permanent hiatus, a victim of a lack of funding. This just a few weeks after putting out a survey asking people how much they’d be willing to pay for the service. Considering they only pay their writers about $125 a week, it’s kind of surprising they couldn’t come up with funding.
As you can imagine, I’m a big fan of media criticism (in an age of increasing media conglomeration, so few mainstream outlets can have true editorial freedom without pissing off someone in upper corporate management). But MediaScout never did much for me. Its choice of newspapers always seemed arbitrary and limited (Ottawa Citizen but no Montreal Gazette, La Presse but no Journal de Montréal, three papers in Toronto but none in Western Canada). And I never found it brought much new to the table. Summaries of top stories can be seen on everything from Google News to the radio newscast, and sarcastic comments about newspapers can be found on just about any blog.
MediaScout could have been a big independent force for Canadian media criticism and analysis if there had been more investment in it. But paying some university student a few bucks to summarize the morning’s news just always seemed a waste of money to me.