It began operation the same year as Canada, but sadly the Guelph Mercury will not be around to see its 150th birthday next year. In shocking, but not unsurprising news especially given the last couple of weeks, the Guelph Mercury will print its final edition this Friday, January 29.
The reason? Money. “This is indeed a sad day,” Donna Luelo, publisher of the Guelph Mercury, said in an article just posted to Mercury website. “The decision was not made lightly, but the decline of classified and national advertising in recent years has made it impossible for the printed copy of the daily newspaper to remain profitable.”
It was almost two years ago that the Mercury ceased publishing the paper off its own press costing 36 jobs. Looking back, it was perhaps a pretty strong indicator that there were serious financial problems at the Merc.
And then there was the decline in circulation. In 2013, the Guelph Mercury was reaching 12,436 homes, but as of summer 2015, that number had dipped under 10,000 to 9,410. While the Mercury is closing, the real estate guide Guelph and District Homes will continue to publish, as will the Royal City lifestyle magazine Guelph Life. In all, 26 jobs will be lost including 23 full-time and three part-time positions, eight of which are editorial.
The Guelph Tribune, which is owned by Metroland like the Mercury, will continue its twice-weekly publication. There’s no indication that the Mercury will continue as some kind of online entity either, even though Metroland said specifically it will “cease publishing the print edition.”
Rumours began circling around 11:30 am, but there was no official word until nearly noon.
That semi-official word came after this tweet from a reporter at the Waterloo Region Record.
Definitely a sad day for Guelph, and my thoughts go out to friends and colleagues of the Merc, past and present, in this difficult time.