Rue Frontenac Hits Newstands this Fall

Print Version of Website will Focus on Investigative Reporting

Rue Frontenac, an online publication started by the locked-out staff of Le Journal de Montréal, is coming out with a print version this fall.

Described as a “pressure tactic” by Richard Bousquet, VP of Rue Frontenac, the print version of the publication is another step in a long, bitter labour dispute between the editorial staff of the Journal and Quebecor, the company that owns the paper.

“There was lots of demand,” said Bousquet about releasing a print version. “We were getting people online telling us all the time to start a paper version of Rue Frontenac.”

The website has been very successful thus far, with over two million page views per month. The website is “turning a slight profit” and has “helped build credibility,” according to Bousquet.

“Now we’re moving to phase two,” said Bouquet.

Beyond being a simple pressure tactic, Rue Frontenac hopes to keep its cause in the minds of Montrealers. Over 1,000 distribution outlets will be set up on the Island of Montreal and employees will also distribute copies downtown to help “keep a personal connection with Montrealers,” according to Bousquet.

The print version will differ from the online version in that the content will be more focused on investigative reporting and news analysis rather than breaking news and shorter stories, which will continue to appear on the website.

“We want to create a synergy between our print content and our online content,” said Bousquet.

Administrators at the Journal have also recently applied pressure tactics of their own, as they recently fired nine locked-out employees and suspended 100 more.

“We’re contesting these firings through the proper legal channels,” according to Bousquet.

When asked whether he thought similar pressure tactics would be applied by the Journal, Bousquet replied, “Probably. They use the courts a lot. They have a team of lawyers, and it’s a tactic they’ve used a lot since the beginning [of labour trouble].”

As both parties are currently in arbitration, it’s unclear what effect Rue Frontenac’s print publication will have on negotiations. According to the locked-out workers, only one person can decide when the nearly two-year lockout will end.

“Pierre-Karl Peladeau is the only one who knows when this conflict will end,” said Bousquet. “It’s not us who are holding up negotiations.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 05, published September 14, 2010.