Torstar Corp. says it is hiring 20 new reporters in Western Canada and will rebrand and upgrade the digital offerings of its five free daily Metro urban newspapers across Canada.
It says that as of April 10, the Metros will be called StarMetro Vancouver, StarMetro Calgary, StarMetro Edmonton, StarMetro Toronto and StarMetro Halifax.
Torstar CEO John Boynton says the initiative represents a major investment in journalism for Torstar outside of its Toronto headquarters, where it publishes the daily Toronto Star.
He says “contrary to conventional wisdom,” there is an appetite in Western Canada and the Maritimes for a “progressive voice” in media, adding the StarMetros will endeavour to match the Star’s focus on social issues and in-depth investigations.
The investment represents an unusual move in the Canadian newspaper industry, which has been losing titles and workers for years.
As part of a sweeping newspaper swap in November, Postmedia Network Inc. bought Torstar’s Metro Winnipeg and Metro Ottawa and closed them, while Torstar did the same with Postmedia’s free dailies 24Hours Toronto and 24Hours Vancouver. That transaction is being investigated by the Competition Bureau.