The newspaper service "Southam Inc" was created in 1904 by William Southam. He had been a delivery boy for The London Free Press, and by 1867 he had become part owner. He bought and transformed the failing Hamilton Spectator in 1877. In 1897 he bought up many other papers including the Calgary Herald, the Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver's The Province and many more. The Winnipeg Tribune was also a Southam owned newspaper until it closed on August 27, 1980.
Southam Newspapers was sold to Hollinger Inc. in 1996. Under Hollinger control, Southam made many acquisitions, including many of the Canadian print media holdings of Thomson Newspapers. On November 15, 2000, the Southam Newspapers company was broken up with the print media holdings and the Southam Newspapers name being sold to Canwest.
Canwest examined ways to integrate many of its smaller market papers into its Global television news division; however, it wasn't to be. On August 9, 2002, Canwest sold many of its smaller market newspapers to a variety of new owners, including Torstar, Transcontinental Media and Osprey Media. In 2003, Southam Newspapers was fully absorbed into Canwest and became Canwest News Service. Canwest News Service began operating in Winnipeg on February 12, 2003, and moved its expanded operations to Ottawa in April 2007.
In July 2010, Canwest's publishing division was spun off into a new company, Postmedia Network (the latter broadcasting division was sold to Shaw Media), led by National Post CEO, Paul Godfrey as a result of bankruptcy, the service subsequently became known as Postmedia News.
The operations include the Postmedia News wire service as well as an online news component through Canada.com.
The news agency provides news, sports, entertainment, photography, financial and feature information and data to Postmedia Network's Canadian newspapers, online properties and a number of third party clients in Canada and the United States.
The Asper-owned Southam newspaper empire faced criticism when it fired Russell Mills as publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, allegedly for criticizing Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who was a good friend of Izzy Asper.