The County Voice Operations Suspended

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The Voice has suspended operations.

The County Voice and Communicator have closed the doors on an era

BY TERRANCE GAVAN – HAL NEWS.ca

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Pierre Karl Peladeau once again owns the Highlands. QMI boss once again rules the roost in Haliburton and beyond. Photo courtesy of Kevin Burnside.

If you go to the County Voice website this morning, you’ll find only one page and the desultory note:  “We regret to inform you that The County Voice has ceased operations.”

Sad day in Haliburton and my sympathy goes out to all former and extant staffers.

I was in on the ground floor of the County Voice.

And for me and the rest of the existing and former staff?

This is a sad, sad day.

It means that one of the few remaining independent papers in Ontario – and Canada for that matter – is gone.

Now, is the Voice dead? Well, we’re hearing that the paper could be up for grabs. And that with the right management paradigm a new paper could step into the void. A cautionary note to any prospective new owners out there? Hmm. maybe go with another name.

But that’s all speculation for now.

What we know is that you won’t be able to go to your corner store, pharmacy, grocery mart or one of those lovely yellow boxes, to pick up a copy of the County Voice.

What it does for the Highlands is reduce the choices. Before the Voice? There were two papers in the Highlands. Minden Times and Haliburton Echo.

Both strong voices, and editorially sound, but both run by Quebecor Media, one of the largest media chains in the country.

Nothing wrong with that at all. But I think that if the Voice proved anything?

It proved that there is room in the Highlands for another option and a strong independent viewpoint. The Voice was edgy, relied a lot on freelance writers and always sought excellence.

The Voice had a much ballyhooed spat with Federal MP Barry Devolin. He refused to talk to the paper during the last campaign.

The story garnered national attention. And whether you agreed with the Voice or you agreed with Mr. Devolin – who had every right by the way to boycott the Voice (I just thought is was inane) – you had to agree that it spoke to tough editorial stand and in a way it hearkened the old days.

When papers actually, you know, stood for something. Under editor-in-chief Stephen Patrick, the Voice flourished. It came out with an on-line edition that actually forced the Echo and Times to update their own website coverage. That’s a good thing.

Because competition makes both products better. The Voice, I think, especially from April 2010 to June 2011 provided innovative content via video, and on line news, photos, interviews and content, and Patrick with majority owner Chad Irvine committed to an on-line presence that allowed the Voice to bring the news on a daily basis.

Patrick’s strong editorial background allowed the paper to flourish under some pretty tough competition from QMI and the writers at the Times/Echo consortium.

I believe we all pushed each other. The journalists and the design teams and the ad people.

The Voice is gone for now. Leaving a void.

We’ll do our best here at HaliburtonNews.ca to fill that void.

Stay tuned for further updates regarding the Voice closure.

RIP to that little engine … that did! If only for a while. The County Voice: 2008-2011

gav@haliburtonnews.ca twitter.com/terrancegavan[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]