New paper hitting the streets of Winnipeg

Metro Winnipeg to make daily debut in April

Steve Shrout is looking forward to launching Metro in Winnipeg. Steve Shrout

Green newsstand boxes have already been planted across the city and on April 4, Metro Winnipeg will launch its first edition.

With the inclusion of Winnipeg and London, Ontario, Metro Canada now publishes in nine Canadian cities as a free daily newspaper with an editorial focus on young, active metropolitan readers in the 18-49 age category.

“We’re excited to be a part of Winnipeg, because Winnipeg has a younger, vibrant population and we tap into that,” said Steve Shrout, publisher of Metro Winnipeg. “Our stories do take a younger point of view, and a lot of that includes our lifestyle and entertainment sections.”

One paper already known for their rich lifestyle, arts and entertainment coverage is the free weekly, Uptown.

Uptown is a fairly unique in Winnipeg - geared specifically to the 18-35 year old demographic, the kinds of people who are involved with the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and know about stuff when it’s happening, not after,” said John Kendle, editor of Uptown. “These are the kinds of people who are buying tickets to concerts and see movies on opening night.”

Kendle, who is also the managing editor of the six Canstar community newspapers, does not think Metro entering the scene will affect his publications much.

“We have no plans to change format or to shape the content differently in any way regardless of what Metro does,” he said.  “All that we can do at this point is make sure our six weeklies and Uptown are as good as they can be.”

Margo Goodhand, editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, does welcome the competition, but does not think Free Press readership will drop with the arrival of Metro.

“If you don’t really care about the content and it’s a matter of cost - then sure, people might choose Metro over the Free Press, but our readers really value our content,” she said. “I think the biggest thing (that our readers look for) is the local news. That is our greatest strength.”

Goodhand said it may be more of a challenge for the Winnipeg Sun.

“The Sun has given out free copies in communities before (to gain readership) and you have to wonder if they will feel the need to strategize and rebuttal,” she said.

Kevin Klein, publisher of the Winnipeg Sun, does not feel threatened.

“There’s not much to say except that we’re going to keep doing what we do best,” he said. “Extensive coverage of local news, sports and entertainment just as we’ve been doing for the past 30 years.”

Shrout said that there will be a combination of boxes on sidewalks, as well as handouts in downtown and other populated centres to distribute the 40,000 copies of Metro each day.

Published in Volume 65, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 24, 2011)

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