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76 Comments

culture

The Grid Is Closing

Much-lauded weekly announces today that next issue will be its last.

Photo from the Grid's Facebook page

Photo from the Grid‘s Facebook page.

After three years of operation and dozens of awards, the Grid announced today that it would cease publication as of tomorrow. The Torstar-owned alternative weekly launched May 12, 2011, after the discontinuation of its predecessor, Eye Weekly.

“Regretfully, despite a strong and loyal following, we have been unable to generate sufficient revenue from marketers and other sources to fund the Grid’s great journalism,” said John Cruickshank, president of Star Media Group, in a statement.

The Grid was envisioned, in the words of its publisher and editor-in-chief Laas Turnbull, as a “younger, hipper, more provocative version of Toronto Life in a weekly guise.” It distinguished itself through the quality of its reporting, writing, and design, regularly winning both national and international awards. Just this past April, it went through a redesign and announced it would be focusing on “more topical, must-read stories about Toronto communities and personalities, and the urgent issues facing the city.”

Toronto’s media landscape has lost a vital and valued outlet. The Grid‘s closing will mean that fewer Toronto stories will be told—and the city will be the poorer for it.

Dedicated readers, former Grid writers, and those in favour of a healthy and diverse media ecosystem expressed shock and disappointment, and filled Twitter with spontaneous reflections, well-wishes, and eulogies:


Related:

Going On The Grid


Comments

  • OgtheDim

    Well shit…

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    So they shrank the paper and ruined the design for nothing.

    • you know my name

      All print media will die eventually, just like books and movie theatres. It’s called progress.

      • OgtheDim

        Funny but movie theatres are still making money and books still being printed in bound copies and people are making money off of that.

        That and instead of the word progress, might I suggest cultural meandering. The idea that we are always getting better is a delusional thing put in our heads by media and those who need us to consume to make money.

      • Dogma

        It’s not progress when you lose the online content as well. If it was just a question of the medium going the way of the dodo I wouldn’t care, but we’re losing some valuable messages.

  • mytwocentsworth

    Bad news.

  • you know my name

    Not enough ad revenue in them thar twenty-somethings

    • CaligulaJones

      Yes, you can’t expect an entire generation that grew up with free content to have to pay for things.

      • dsmithhfx

        GET. OFF. MY. LAWN. !!!

        • OgtheDim

          More like GET OUT OF MY JELLO TREE!!

        • CaligulaJones

          Say what you will, I truly treasured my 8 track copy of Queen’s “Jazz”, because I paid for it with sweat by mowing lawns.

          I very much doubt someone who presses a few buttons and gets an artists entire catalog for free truly treasures the music. Its possession, not enjoyment.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            So you’ve never purchased an album and been disappointed by the content?

          • dsmithhfx

            Shush! Matlock’s started.

          • Eric S. Smith

            Wait, you complain that “It’s possession, not enjoyment,” but then you love a Queen album because of what you did to possess it?

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        The paper itself was free. The twenty somethings don’t read newspapers — they get their news online and that’s where the advertisers are going. Hence the Grid’s cash flow problems.

    • OgtheDim

      More like 30 somethings……

      BTW, snarkiness requires a bit less sloppiness.

      • dsmithhfx

        But I shop at “Forever 21″. Doesn’t everyone?

        • OgtheDim

          I do too but the men’s section isn’t as good as H&M..

          • Dogma

            Okay, fun is fun, but let’s not drag the good name of H&M into this discussion. They make good, if disposable, clothes.

          • OgtheDim

            Kind of like much of the Toronto media’s online content………good but intellectually disposable.

          • Dogma

            Ha, it does make you wonder how big the loss of Ford will be when he finally goes. He’s been click-bait gold for all the online sites.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            I think that should read:

            “when Ford is crushed like a cockroach”.

  • HotDang

    I stopped picking up free weeklies years ago because I don’t like having to dispose of them.

    • you know my name

      come on, they were my favourite bathroom reading material

  • mixandserve

    But I never got a chance to bone Kate Carraway!

    This is TERRIBLE news.

    • mixandserve

      All kidding aside (totally not kidding–call me, Kate!), I enjoyed the change from EYE Magazine to The Grid, then enjoyed their reboot a few years. Immensely so. Here’s hoping each of you at The Grid lands somewhere stellar.

      • Squintz

        You’re a real piece of work eh? That’s two misogynist comments in as many days. Why don’t you give it a rest? No one cares who you want bone and I doubt anyone finds your bs cute.

        • mixandserve

          Yeah, funny how often I get called a misogynist when people assume I’m male. Moron.

          • Squintz

            Who says you have to be a man to be a misogynist?

          • mixandserve

            True. With women like you keeping everyone down, I guess there really is no need to differentiate between the sexes any more.

            Keep hatin’ alive, Squintz.

          • Squintz

            Lol way to double down on your stupidity. Is that unitentional irony?

          • mixandserve

            Don’t you have a parade or something to film, Mr. Mammoliti?

          • Squintz

            How are you trying to flip this on me? You’re the one making shitty statements and reducing talented women to sex objects.

          • mixandserve

            Takes a bigger man to admit when he’s wrong…why keep digging the hole any deeper, hot sauce?

          • Squintz

            Troll harder!

          • Squintz

            Denigrating and objectifying women is wrong regardless of your gender. Who’s the moron?

  • wklis

    Revenge of Ford Nation?

    • dsmithhfx

      The Grid was aimed at a small demographic slice of the GTA. Ford nation wasn’t part of it. After rebranding from EW[www], they took the advertising high road, and this is the result.

      • OgtheDim

        Although I agree becoming Liberty Village’s National Newspaper wasn’t a good idea, it really shouldn’t be necessary to have escort ads to be able to run a weekly magazine in this city.

        • nevilleross

          NOW does it, and they’ve survived quite well. You can either do that, or be like the online-only (and even more stridently left-wing) The Tyee out west in Vancouver.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        A small geographic slice of the GTA too. Now boxes everywhere, Grid boxes few and far between.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      I doubt many in Frod Nation were even aware of The Grid.

  • UNCDave

    Dammit, now we’re stuck with NOW, and their predictable cant.

    • mixandserve

      Having the Grid around was a nice counterpoint–left-leaning, but not ickily so.

      Don’t get me wrong, NOW does good work, and I hope they’re around forever. But often they’re just so smarmily righteous, too boringly granola, too insufferably far left.

      • Jacob

        That’s my exact feeling, too, and why I’ll miss The Grid.

        NOW has never come across anything they can’t be outraged by.

  • Randy McDonald

    How terrible.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    I am very sad. This was a great weekly.

  • CaligulaJones

    At least you can still hear Ed Keenan on radio.

    • dsmithhfx

      Is it free, or do you have to mow lawns?

      • CaligulaJones

        For the few minutes a day I actually listen to OTA radio, he does a good job, and I certainly do pay for it, as the ads which are sold to companies eventually cost all consumers. Its built into the price.

        The rest of my listening, radio-wise, is satellite. And, yes, I do pay for that too. No need to mow lawns to pay for it, though. That I do for free in order to keep things tidy.

        • dsmithhfx

          Since twenty-somethings can’t get jobs, they of course do not buy things, so if they do listen to the radio, which they don’t, but if they did, they would be stealing it like they steal everything else, including the freshly-mowed lawns which they admire and walk on without paying for!

          Why just the other day, I saw several twenty somethings stealing free samples for products they would never, ever buy… [cont'd p.96]

          • CaligulaJones

            Do you make more sense when the drugs wear off?

          • dsmithhfx
          • CaligulaJones

            That’s be a “no” then?

          • nevilleross

            Would you and others give this bullshit meme a rest? The Grid failed for other reasons, one of them most (probably) likely because it was a twee paper that was a thin wedge of gentrification.

  • Questionable

    Surprising they couldn’t survive as web-only. Bummer dude.

    • nevilleross

      The Tyee out west in Vancouver is web-only, and it’s thriving quite well.

  • OgtheDim

    The Grid’s demise was hastened by losing the exclusive contract they had with the TTC.

    Who could find them anymore?

    • dsmithhfx

      What exclusive contract?

      • OgtheDim

        For awhile there, the Grid was the only free weekly offered within the TTC. About a year ago, that switched to NOW. I’m pretty sure its an exclusionary contract. Mirrors the arrangement with Metro.

        • Notcleverguy

          It was the only redeeming thing about having to take the TTC to work.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Most of those ads will simply switch to non-sexual escort service ads, as are found in more restrictive regions already.

  • Kivi Shapiro

    Terrible news.

  • rich1299

    That bill will never stand a court challenge if it even makes it out of the Senate. The Harper Cons really are positioning themselves to run their next election campaign not against the Libs or the NDP but against our Charter of Rights and the SCoC. The SCoC handed down a very clear ruling and rather graciously gave the gov’t one year to come up with a law that doesn’t endanger the lives of sex workers. Instead the Harper Cons came back with a bill that does far more than the original bill to risk the lives of sex workers.

    Surely they know their new bill won’t stand since it violates both the Charter and a SCoC ruling so why bother writing such a bill in the first place? Some times I think the Harper Cons realize they won’t win in 2015 so are trying to leave the largest mess possible before they go and to waste as much tax money as they can.

  • rich1299

    The sex trade is big business and prostitution isn’t illegal even if most everything having to do with it is. Sex trade ads keep several local newspapers operating, if people don’t want to look at the ads they don’t have to. They’re shutting down because of a lack of ad revenue so if they refused to print sex trade ads for some puritanical “moral” reason then yes that is why the Grid is no more. I haven’t seen a print version of the Grid in a very long time and assumed they had gone online only before reading this.

  • Squintz

    And out with a whimper with possibly their worst cover of all time. The whole issue is pretty mediocre, oh well.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Was the Grid ever bundled and distributed with the Star?

    • nevilleross

      No, both papers were separated, and maintained a kind of separation even though they were both published by Torstar.

      I loved that The Grid and Eye blasted the domination of music radio by classic rock in three separate articles, among other things, and I will miss the paper, warts and all.

      Funny thing, I could’ve sworn that Eye was originally a paper called Metropolis from 1988-1990.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        I find it suspicious it wasn’t even attempted as a way to boost readership. The paper folded due to failure to generate ad revenue (which corresponds to readership), yet they attempted to cut costs (laying off staff and reducing the size of the paper) instead of increase readership.

        • nevilleross

          Actually, it was not having the sex ads that did The Grid in; those ads keep papers afloat, and it’s kept NOW afloat for a long time.

          At least I hope that the paper will be archived online.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Toronto Life Lite was probably never going to run escort ads, but that doesn’t mean there were no other avenues open to them.

            Even with pages and pages of them, Now is still full of other ads. With a smaller or declining readership, The Grid couldn’t have commanded the best rates for ads anyway.

  • nevilleross

    But that reason not to have sex ads is why they’re closing down. That, and as somebody else also said elsewhere, the paper was an apologist for gentrification with the articles it published.

    Also, it’s predecessor Eye Weekly was just as ‘oh-so-serious-looney-left’ as NOW is, except that Eye and The Grid tried to deny it.

  • nevilleross

    The best thing that you can do is to archive The Grid yourself by saving the website periodically.

  • nevilleross

    Somewhat, but it also survives because it does stories that the mainstream media won’t touch, such as the Jackobek computer scandal of a few years ago and getting down n’ dirty with and about Rob Ford (it was they who were the canary in a coal mine about him before anybody else.) Eye Weekly was like that too, but for some reason didn’t survive, and was replaced by The Grid, which has had an even shorter lifespan.

  • nevilleross

    It won’t continue, so you’d better archive it for yourself now (either using an external hard drive, or [if you've still got one] a Iomega Corporation External USB 250 Megabyte Zip Drive Kit.)