Here’s a contribution to the newspaper files from my colleague Phil Wahba, born and raised in the city of Montreal:

With the Seattle Post-Intelligencer potentially closing its print edition or shutting down entirely next week, The New York Times wrote today that it is possible that a city of 3.3 million people, and other large cities, might only be able to support one paper.

Contrast that with Montreal, a city with 3.7 million people and four dailies, three French and one English.

According to the Canadian Newspaper Association, three quarters of Montrealers read a printed daily paper every week in 2007. (That rate, in line with the Canadian average, jumps to 82 percent in Winnipeg.)

Montreal’s papers are getting a reprieve from the forces shrinking the newspaper business elsewhere in North America because of the city’s fragmentation. With two major linguistic groups, French and English, and the city split between pro-Canada federalists, and sovereigntists who advocate Quebec’s separation, the newspapers have their niches. That might not last forever, though. Read on: