A little soap opera is being played out in western New Brunswick; Woodstock, NB to be precise.
A little background to start:
Brunswick News which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the J.D. Irving Ltd. the privately conglomorate. Irving, mainly through Brunswick News has a virtual monopoly on publishing in the province of New Brunswick by the fact that it owns every English language daily newspaper and with the exception of two small weeklies, every English language weekly as well. Every attempt at competition has been bought out by Brunswick News or has been squeezed out of the market. Their stranglehold on the New Brunswick media has been noted in several articles.
Back to the soap opera…. In Woodstock the publisher of the Brunswick News owned Bugle-Observer recently resigned with the intention of starting up his own newspaper: the Carleton Free Press. None too pleased with this turn of events and a possible competitor, according to the CBC, Brunswick News is suing the former publisher William Kenneth Langdon alleging that he is using confidential information from the Bugle-Observer in order to start his own newspaper. In addition, Brunswick News is requesting an order preventing Langdon from contacting Bugle customers, employees or advertisers. Talk about stiffling the competition!
Even more bizarre, Irving managed to get a rarely used civil search warrant to enter Langdon’s premises and seize documents related to his employment at the Bugle including flyer routes, advertising rate and income statements.
A court date is set for October 19th.
Doing a bit more digging, I found that web based news site justFRED will be creating the online version of the Carleton Free Press according to a blog posting on their site.
Judging from their push to online blogs, a new French new website and this recent drama, I’d say that Brunswick News is a little scared of web based reporting (in addition to old school newspapers) taking over their turf and more importantly some of their advertising revenues.