The Great Empty North

The Toronto Star reports that The Washington Post will close its Toronto bureau this summer. This move follows Canadian bureau closures by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine and the Chicago Tribune, leaving the Great White North with as many American newspaper foreign bureaus as Tuvala, the Marshall Islands and Antarctica: zero.

For newspapers struggling to stay in the black, cutting foreign bureaus is an obvious move, especially in places like Canada, where local news organizations all publish online for all the world to read. But foreign correspondents play a different role than local news organizations – they explain events to an audience who aren’t familiar with the place being written about. And as some of the experts quoted in the Star‘s article point out, Americans and Canadians seem to be growing less familiar with each other every day.

For an interesting look at the role American journalists covering Canada play, check out Jule Meehan’s piece, “The View From Here“, from the 2006 summer edition of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.