Whitehorse Daily Star

Community initiative launched to save Star

A community-based effort is underway to save the Whitehorse Star.

By Whitehorse Star on April 10, 2024

A community-based effort is underway to save the Whitehorse Star.

After 124 years in publication, the Star announced last Friday it’s scheduled to cease publication on May 17.

“With enough community support, we can save this cherished community institution,” organizer Max Fraser, a former Star reporter and editor, said Tuesday afternoon.

An online survey to gauge community support is now available, with a deadline of Thursday to respond. It is at savethestar.ca

Responses so far are over-whelmingly positive, Fraser said: as of Tuesday, 488 people had joined the new Save The Star Facebook group; there were 322 very positive completed surveys, in 36 hours.

“It is too important to let the Star disappear,” said Fraser. “It plays a vital role serving Yukoners, providing quality local journalism, which is vital to our democracy.

“So first we save it. Then we make it even better.”

The sports editor and a part-time former reporter have been assisting the editor with continuing to produce some local news.

A group of local investors offered to buy the paper and is now redoubling its efforts, Fraser said.

If a sale does not occur, Plan B is to start a new media organization, the Yukon Star, “and build on the marvellous history and foundation of the Whitehorse Star,” Fraser said.

A new Yukon Star would commence online publication after the May long weekend, with print editions soon afterward, contingent on raising sufficient community support.

“Either way, this can’t be done without the staff who make the Star what it is, said Fraser.

“The investors are offering jobs to Star editorial staff who will be crucial to the success of the initiative. These job offers are conditional on a successful fundraising drive.

“Now is the time for the community to show its support. We’ll be launching the campaign on Friday.”

Those who donate will receive a subscription to the new Star in return.

“With 5,000 online subscribers, we can hire enough staff to make this work,” Fraser said.

“The model has worked for other community papers. With 10,000 subscribers, we can hire even more, and lift the quality and quantity of local journalism to a whole new level.”

He called the plans “exciting, and risky,” even with enough community support.

If a new offer can be made and is accepted, the Star would continue in its present form in print and online, keeping all staff employed who wish to stay, then transition to a new business and editorial model.

The new owners would immediately begin recruiting new writers, advertising sales and other staff to boost the operation.

The Star would also recruit a new publisher to lead the organization into a long term future.

The link to the online survey is available on the Save the Star Facebook page.

Comments (4)

Up 23 Down 6

Chuck on Apr 11, 2024 at 3:23 pm

The paper needs to be saved as a Yukon institution. Having said that it will be a tough task as the business is difficult. Not impossible but difficult.

Up 21 Down 5

Ev on Apr 11, 2024 at 2:50 pm

Please save an old favorite,

Up 35 Down 17

bonanzajoe on Apr 10, 2024 at 7:23 pm

It would have to completely politically and ideologically non partisan and non bias before I would participate. There is no market for a left wing or right wing media.

Up 12 Down 42

Dave on Apr 10, 2024 at 5:03 pm

Considering the competition is the massive government funded CBC that doesn't rely on advertising indicates what is needed here - surrender independence and become a government mouthpiece.

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