Com­mu­nity pa­pers stay true to their roots

Com­mu­nity news­pa­pers will sur­vi­ve be­cau­se no­body el­se is going to tell the sto­ries they do

La Jornada (Canada) - - ENGLISH SECTION -

In the many thou­sands of words that ha­ve been writ­ten about the co­llap­se of Ca­na­dian daily news­pa­pers, the­re is a pa­ra­llel good news story that has been un­told.

The­re are pla­ces in Ca­na­da in which news­pa­per cir­cu­la­tion is ac­tually sta­ble or gro­wing, and whe­re rea­der lo­yalty is as strong as it has everr been. Pla­ces whe­re peo­ple still pick up the pa­per and read it front to back to find out what’s going on in their com­mu­nity.

The­se pla­ces, as you might ha­ve gues­sed, are not Ca­na­da’s a’s mid-si­zed to lar­ge ci­ties, whe­re the spec­ta­cu­lar de­cli­ne ne of lo­cal print me­dia has crea­ted an ap­pa­lling news ws va­cuum. Rat­her, it is in com­mu­nity news­pa­pers pers that ser­ve the hun­dreds of small towns that t form the heartland of the country.

It is no easy ri­de, but com­mu­nity news­pa­pers pers en­joy re­la­ti­ve sta­bi­lity in com­pa­ri­son to their ir big­ger cousins. One On­ta­rio pa­per I re­cently ntly en­coun­te­red claims a cir­cu­la­tion pe­ne­tra­tion tion ra­te of 89 per cent - mea­ning ni­ne out of 10 hou­seholds in its cir­cu­la­tion area buy and d read the pa­per. Tho­se kind of num­bers we­re re sel­dom mat­ched by daily news­pa­pers evenn at the height of their po­pu­la­rity. staff. The­re are ca­ses, in fact, in which the only re­por­ter left at a “lo­cal” pa­per doesn’t even li­ve in the com­mu­nity the pa­per re­pre­sents.

This is a fa­tal tac­tic - es­pe­cially in com­mu­ni­ties whe­re the per­so­nal con­nec­tion is everyt­hing. In the little Sout­hern On­ta­rio town of Pe­tro­lia, for exam­ple, the com­mu­nity was so dis­gus­ted by what has hap­pe­ned to its lo­cal pa­per un­der com­pany ow­ners­hip that lo­cal ad­ver­ti­sers sup­por­ted the emer­gen­ce an in­de­pen­dent com­pe­ti­tor. When a cor­po­ra­te pa­per puts vir­tually not­hing in­to a com­mu­nity (and yet ex­pects to ta­ke our pro­fitsp th­roughg ad­ver­ti­singg re­ve­nue), it’s not reallyy that hard to prop vi­de a bet­ter pro­duct.

All of this is not to say small pa­pers ha­ve an easy rid ri­de. This past wee­kend, pu­blis­hers, edi­tors and bu­si­ne bu­si­ness ma­na­gers from On­ta­rio’s com­mu­nity pa­pers gat­her gat­he­red in To­ron­to for its an­nual con­fe­ren­ce. They spo­ke of the many wo­rries that cloud the crys­tal ball: o on­going trou­ble at­trac­ting na­tio­nal ad­ver­ti­se ad­ver­ti­sers, the dif­fi­culty in re­tai­ning ta­len­ted young st staff who get ri­cher of­fers from big­ger mar­kets,mar­ke and adap­ting to the di­gi­tal age in which a so­lid web pre­sen­ce and so­cial me­dia str stra­tegy are an es­sen­tial part of the mix.

The­re will be pa­pers, no doubt, th that will gi­ve up the fight and fold, as so­me ha­ve.ha Yet for tho­se who stay, stri­ve to adapt a and keep their eye on the ball, it’s hard to ima­gi­nei­ma­gi a fu­tu­re wit­hout a com­mu­nity news­pa­per in

Newspapers in Spanish

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.