Postmedia is in talks with the owners of the Toronto Star, discussing a potential merger. Nordstar Capital, owner of Metroland Media Group and the Toronto Star, and Postmedia have entered into non-binding discussions with the potential merged entity to be jointly owned and controlled by Nordstar (which would have a 50% voting interest and 44% economic interest) and existing Postmedia shareholders (who would have a combined voting interest of 50% and combined economic interest of 56%). Jordan Bitove, Publisher of the Toronto Star and owner of Nordstar, would be Chairman of the merged entity, while Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod would be CEO. The two companies say the Star would maintain its editorial independence from the merged entity through the incorporation of new company, Toronto Star Inc. MacLeod says the proposed merger would create a new entity with reduced debt and national digital scale to compete with the global technology giants, which would also provide “the best opportunity to ensure strong news media coverage for Canadians from coast to coast,” adding that with the media industry “under existential threat, new models are urgently required.”
Indiegraf has announced the first publishers supported by its News Startup Fund. The new $3.5 million fund supports the launch and growth of startup news organizations filling local news gaps in underserved communities. Selected from over 150 applications, Indiegraf says funded publishers represent the most promising early-stage independent news organizations across North America, based on a rigorous assessment that considered their revenue potential, journalistic impact, community need and whether the funding could make a significant impact on their growth. Canadian recipients include Peterborough Currents (Ontario), Pivot (Quebec), The Rover (Quebec), The Wren (British Columbia), and Windspeaker (Alberta). Indiegraf says since beginning the program, publishers have grown their email newsletter subscribers by 35%, on average, and the portfolio has grown their revenue a combined 114%. It will open applications again to a handful of publishers this fall with priority going to early stage and pre-launch publishers.