Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Two community newspapers close

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Two weekly papers in southeastern Manitoba are shutting down for good.

The Lac du Bonnet Leader and the Beausejour Review are publishing their last editions today.

Both papers, with histories going back at least 20 years in the two towns, are part of the Interlake Publishing Group, owned by Quebecor Media Inc., which also owns the Sun Media chain.

It is not known how many layoffs are connected with the closures.

The Manitoba Community Newspapers Association was informed of the closures on Wednesday.

In an email, the newspaper association said it was in the process of informing its members.

The Sun Media chain purchased the papers in 1998.

Since then, both weeklies have struggled to maintain a presence in the towns, a source said Wednesday.

About two years ago, the Review shut down its local office in Beausejour. In Lac du Bonnet, the Leader hasn't been published locally for years. Its printing press was shut down after a series of layoffs at the paper and its printing operation was moved to the Winnipeg Sun's presses.

The Winnipeg Sun referred requests for comment Wednesday to Quebecor's corporate headquarters in Montreal.

Quebecor's vice-president of public affairs did not return an email request for comment Wednesday.

One source said the Lac du Bonnet and Beausejour closures were among four weeklies in Western Canada Quebecor shut down this week. A weekly in Alberta and another in Saskatchewan were the two other papers.

The closures are the latest in a string of community newspapers the chain has shut down in the last year and a half, including the Montreal Mirror, that city's last English-language alternative weekly.

In December, Sun Media closed six papers, followed soon after by the Lindsay Post in Ontario.

Two weeks ago, CTV reported the chain shut down the Midland Free Press after 130 years in operation in that southern Ontario community.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 27, 2013 B5

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