In yesterday's news about the imminent closure of the Guelph Mercury, the press release from Metroland carefully explained that it will "cease publishing the print edition" this Friday. That makes it sound like the Mercury will continue on as a digital only presence, but Merc staffers past and present have come out and said that this is not the case. More than that though, there's cause for concern that when the print Mercury ceases to exist on Friday, so will the website.
The company press release makes it sound like staff will keep putting out digital edition. Not so. @guelphmercury #Guelph— Scott Tracey (@scottjtracey) January 25, 2016
Anecdotally, a number of Mercury reporters have said on and off the record that they have doubts that the website will survive the shutdown, but the final decision will be up to Metroland. "The status of the website is still TBD but I wouldn't hold out as it's not looking good," says Sarah, Customer Service Administrator for the Mercury on a Reddit post.
Why does that matter if no one's going to be updating it? Well, if the Mercury website shuts down and it effectively means losing a vast archive of Guelph news and stories, information that people may find valuable in the future for a great variety of reasons. Is there anything that can be done? Sarah recommends the following:
If you are interested in supporting the website we suggest to call into our office (519-823-6045) and I'd be happy to take your name and # down. I have a list on file of all those supporting which will be given to the publisher.
If the Guelph Mercury can't be saved, then perhaps the wealth of its online archive, and the hundreds of thousands of hours put into it, can.