Some thoughts on the Montreal Mirror and how it can live on
I may have only been in Montreal for a couple of years, but the Mirror grew to mean a lot to me. There was something nice about being able to pick up a good-quality alt weekly while walking home and checking out what was going on. The news pieces, profiles, and opinion all gelled together sweetly.
True, I may make my living from online publications, but quality print publications are worth keeping.
I didn’t really care that the Mirror was mostly full of ads, as the paper had to pay the bills somehow. Alas, those ads weren’t enough to keep the Mirror alive (though there may be other reasons for the closure, of course).
The Mirror still has a life in Montreal. Or if not the Mirror, then an English alt weekly of comparable quality.
I have a proposal for the former editorial staff of the Mirror. Band together one night at Popolo or Else’s or whereever, and start brainstorming. Open your contact books, hash out strategies and figure out a plan to start a brand new alternative weekly newspaper.
Then hit up Indiegogo. Sure, Kickstarter is the first thing that might spring to mind, but it isn’t available outside of the United States.
Think about the economics of this for a second: Before its untimely demise: the Mirror had a circulation of around 70,000 and a readership of almost 250,000. That’s a lot of copies and a lot of people. To put that in comparison, recent figures show that the NME, with a reach of more than 60 million people in the UK, has a circulation of around 27,000.
Now, if each person who picked up a copy of the Mirror pitched in five bucks, that’d raise $350,000 for the new paper. That would be enough to pay the salaries of 6-8 full-time employees plus overheads. Add advertising to that, and you can probably cover the costs of printing, distribution, and paying a few freelancers.
There’s another key to making the new paper a success. Start charging for it. It doesn’t even have to be much: 50 cents would be enough. Even if just a third of the Mirror’s current readers picked up a copy for 50 cents every week, that would bring gross revenues of $650,000 a year. The economics can totally work.
The Mirror was good enough to be worth paying for. Let’s get a replacement off the ground and make that the case.
At the very least, let’s get a replacement for the Rant Line going, please.