As COVID-19 has brought newsrooms worldwide to their knees, one French Canadian outlet is flourishing — less than a year after going bankrupt.
Quebec City’s Le Soleil doubled its number of readers this spring as the pandemic swept the globe. The French-language daily newspaper converted this into 3,500 new subscribers by the end of April, including 1,000 over a single 10-day period, according to Simon Audet, Le Soleil’s head of digital development.
Driving this success is a revamped, reader-first editorial strategy. But first, Le Soleil had to stave off bankruptcy. They did so by forming Canada’s largest newsroom cooperative. Along the way, they found their readers were eager to help save their local news source.
“If last fall we didn’t feel the community was ready to donate, contribute and participate, we probably would have had to stop everything,” said Gilles Carignan, Le Soleil’s director general. “Now, the focus on the community is clearer than ever.”