Founded 156 years ago in 1863, the Huntingdon Gleaner was owned by various family businesses for most of its history. Even though it was technically a private business, local ownership conveyed the title of ‘community newspaper’ as is typical across Canada. Eventually, The Gleaner added a French language section in 1993 called La Source (back-to-back format).
As consolidation in the print media began at the turn of this century, The Gleaner/La Source was sold by the local owner to what became a series of re-sales to various media chains: Les Hebdos Montérégiens in 1985, Quebecor in 2011 and finally Transcontinental in 2013. In 2015, The Gleaner/La Source ceased publication as a standalone newspaper, with The Gleaner becoming an 8-page insert in the regional free-distribution weekly Le Journal St-Francois (Valleyfield), and La Source being closed completely. In 2017, Transcontinental sold Le Journal St-Francois (including The Gleaner) to a regional media company, Gravité Média.
In 2018, Gravité Média reached out to the English-speaking community in the Chateauguay Valley to see if there was any interest in acquiring the title. Rather than simply close The Gleaner, Gravité Média wanted to respect the heritage integral to the publication and provide the opportunity for the English-speaking community to continue to be served by a community newspaper. In November 2018, a public meeting was held in Ormstown, along with representatives from Gravité Média, to discuss the possibilities surrounding the community acquiring the rights to continue publishing The Gleaner.
From that meeting, a “Future of the Gleaner” steering committee was formed with the following outcomes:
A non-profit organization was formed called the Chateauguay Valley Community Information Services with the following objectives:
Provide quality information, news and features on topics that are important to the communities within and neighbouring the MRC Haut St-Laurent.
Promote the pursuit of excellence when publishing content in written, audio and visual formats via a newspaper, website, community radio/television or other appropriate media.
Contribute towards enhancing quality of life in the targeted communities and promoting the social, cultural and artistic richness of the region by giving the community access to locally relevant news and information that reflects their needs and interests.
Discussions were held with Gravite Media to acquire the assets of The Gleaner (title, web domain, etc.) and a transfer agreement was signed in May 2019.
June 2019 was set as the date to re-launch The Gleaner with a souvenir print version and a new website.
Next steps are to solicit funding through grants, financing, sponsorships, donations, advertising and subscriptions to continue with the web-based version through the summer and launch a weekly print version in early 2020.
“Future of The Gleaner”
Mark Bye, Huntingdon
Gail Elliott, Ormstown
Chantal Hortop, Hinchinbrooke
Hugh Maynard, Ormstown (Chairperson)
Lorelei Muller, Ormstown
Stacey Pennington, Hinchinbrooke
Sarah Rennie, Elgin
Don Rosenbaum, Ormstown
John Ryan, Huntingdon
Emily Southwood, Dewittvile
Andrew Stairs, Hemmingford