News Media Canada creates ‘Champions’ font

Whether it’s the businesslike Times New Roman, the classic, simple style of Helvetica, or the silly Comic Sans, fonts can convey the tone and voice of the outlet in which they appear.

News Media Canada, the association representing the country’s newspaper industry, recently introduced a new custom font called “Champions” as part of the 82nd National Newspaper Week Oct. 2-8.

According to News Media Canada president CEO Paul Deegan, the downloadable font is intended to signify newspapers’ role in championing the truth in an era of misinformation and disinformation. “It’s an easy way for citizens to express solidarity with the important work that journalists do,” he said.

Developed by the Toronto typography studio Canada Type in partnership with News Media Canada’s director of marketing and research, Kelly Levson, “Champions” is described as a “geo-humanist” font.

According to a release, it “incorporates both humanistic traits—which mimic hand motions reflecting the craft and artistry that goes into producing credible, factual news each day—and highly geometric shapes [representing] the structure and rigour of fact-checking, editing, and producing high-quality credible content newspapers are known for.”

The font is also being featured in ads developed by The Greater that are appearing in News Media Canada’s member newspapers, supported by a national digital media campaign with Chatelaine/Châtelaine. There is also a national influencer and targeted earned media campaign led by Craft PR.

This year’s campaign comes as traditional news media continues to grapple with the outsized impact of the digital giants on their revenue, with Google and Facebook alone accounting for up to 80% of all online ad spend in Canada.

The duopoly’s continued dominance of Canada’s digital advertising industry was the basis for the 2021 advertising campaign “Disappearing Headlines,” which saw several of the country’s most prominent newspapers display blank front pages to highlight the existential crisis facing the news industry as it is starved of vital ad revenue.

“There’s a huge power imbalance between Google, a trillion dollar-plus company, and Canadian newspapers,” said Deegan. “But if we can come together, we’ll be in a much stronger position to get a fair deal.” Deegan joined colleagues from across the industry in Ottawa last week to speak with MPs about Bill C-18, a proposed online news bill that would see tech companies pay a fee for reusing content produced by the news outlets.

While larger media outlets such as Torstar, Postmedia and The Globe and Mail have deals in place with the tech giants, Deegan said that many of the country’s mid- and small-size players are vulnerable. “We’re delighted for [the larger companies]; they should be getting compensated by the likes of Google and Facebook,” he said. “But what we really want is for the smaller and midsized players to be able to enjoy the same kind of benefit.”

Deegan said he’s hopeful that Bill C-18 will be passed before the end of the year. “It’s legislation that’s needed, and in terms of the broad strokes, it’s something that all parties in parliament support.” A similar law in Australia has led to a reported $200 million in additional revenue for that country’s news outlets since it was passed.

Chris Powell