A student at the University of Regina takes his first look at Saskatchewan's newest publication, the Metro. Photo by Jarrett Crowe.
by Kelly Malone
The “Saskatchewan Advantage” is more than a slogan – it is a lure for new publications into the province.
Monday morning saw the first batch of Metro papers hitting the streets. The free daily tabloid is already established in other large Canadian cities including Toronto and Vancouver. Vice President of Metro Western Canada, Steve Shrout said the move to Saskatoon and Regina was to take advantage of the “new land of opportunity”.
“The grow factors and the economic development factors of the province all point in the right direction for us. That really got our attention,” he said in a phone interview from Calgary, home of his headquarters.
The paper, which is currently being run out of a hotel room in Regina, is geared toward YAMs – youthful, active metropolitans. The YAM direction has shaped the layout and content of Metro.
“It looks more like a magazine than it does an actual newspaper… just the fact that we are more colorful, we carry more vibrant kinds of articles within the pages,” Shrout said.
“From the way we write our stories to the type of stories we run throughout our paper, you will see that it caters to someone who has limited time in their day and has a busy mobile lifestyle. You can get from cover to cover of our paper in about 30 minutes.”
The paper currently contains about two pages of local content. Fifteen of the 24 pages are dedicated to entertainment or full-page advertising. Shrout said he does not think that Metro’s presence will affect the advertising revenues of other publications in the province.
“There are a lot of businesses moving to town. That means that the pot is actually bigger for advertising. In some ways we are just going to come in and bring another alternative to reaching a strong economically viable audience in that younger market,” he explained.
Shrout said that Metro’s presence in the province will bring more than just another newspaper into the mix.
“When people recognize that there is a Metro there, that states something about the city. A lot of larger businesses will start looking there because a Metro does state something about the city,” he said.
University of Regina sociology professor Dr. Robert Biezenski does not think that Metro will bring anything new to the people of Saskatchewan.
“It looks like Verb – in fact that’s the exact same story with the exact same photo I saw in the other one,” Biezenski said while looking at a story about The Hunger Games movie in Tuesday’s Metro.
Currently the majority of articles are supplied by the Canadian Press, the Associated Press, or Torstar News Services.
“It is re-runs. Every one of these stories has already been in the Leader Post or the Globe and Mail… It’s not increasing choices. It’s the same choice or a tiny variation,” said Biezenski.
He added, "it provides entertainment. So, keep the people entertained and you can do anything to them."
Courtney Kozakewycz 21, was not entertained. She had seen the Metro around Regina but had not picked one up until its second week.
"It's a free daily paper? How does that work? Oh, all the advertising," she said.
"I wouldn't read this. It's redundant, too many pages of the same thing."
A soundscape combining clips from Steve Shrout and Dr. Robert Biezenski. Music: Das Racist - hahahaha jk?
A soundscape that asks students at the University of Regina campus about Metro and being a YAM. Music: Dive - How long have you known?