149-year-old newspaper prints a touching last front page; Internet erupts with obituaries

The front page was splashed with the symbol '-30-', which — over the decades — came to mean 'the end' in print journalism.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: February 1, 2016 7:01 pm
Guelph Mercury, newspaper, Guelph, Canada, mayor Cam Guthrie, Twitter, #ThankTheMerc, Internet, obituary, front page, -30-, symbol, symbolism, Seth, graphic novelist Guelph Mercury’s last front page. (Source: @Prior23 via Twitter)

The 149-year old Canadian newspaper, Guelph Mercury, published its last print edition on January 29, 2016, due to financial pressures. The front page was splashed with the symbol ‘-30-‘, referring a decades-old practice in which the symbol was used by journalists to mark the end of their stories.

The front page said, “The tradition faded as computers replaced typewriters in newsrooms. But, for anyone who cares about journalism, -30- will always mean ‘the end’.”

Guelph mayor Cam Guthrie started a Twitter hashtag #ThankTheMerc, and wrote a note of gratitude on his blog,’Take a moment and let’s thank them. Let’s give them a proper send off.’

Guelph Mercury was especially loved for its local content, a fact apparent by the crowd of people that thronged its building in Guelph on its last day. Canadian graphic novelist Seth — who has been a Guelph resident for the last 16 years — wrote a touching obituary as a tribute to the newspaper, “If you are not actively involved in the local culture – somehow personally invested in it – it’s pretty easy for that place to simply be where you sleep and buy your groceries. That’s the daily charge of a local paper. Investing you with news and culture of YOUR PLACE. Take that away and you genuinely diminish that feeling in a community.”

Guelph residents thronged the building of Guelph Mercury on its last day. (Source: Mayorguthrie.com) Guelph residents thronged the building of Guelph Mercury on its last day. (Source: Mayorguthrie.com)

The newspaper will continue to put out a Web version. Following this development, Seth rued, “Have people forgotten the pleasure of opening a newspaper and being presented with a finite canvas – a carefully curated capsule of what is happening in our world today? Must it be a scrolling, infinite labyrinth of hyperlinks or nothing at all?”

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