Na­tional News­pa­per Week in Canada is Oc­to­ber 1 to 7

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Opinion - BYPAULMACN­EILL Paul Mac­Neill is the pub­lisher of Is­land Press Ltd., PEI.

The story of Canada is told ev­ery day in the pages of news­pa­pers you’ve prob­a­bly never heard of. But don’t con­fuse na­tional anonymity with lo­cal rel­e­vance. If you want to know about St. An­thony, New­found­land and Labrador, The

North­ern Pen is the me­dia of record. The In­ver­ness Oran cap­tures the magic of lo­cal Cape Bre­ton news, arts, cul­ture and sports. North­ern Life is the go to source for news in Sud­bury with both its print and na­tion­ally rec­og­nized dig­i­tal for­mat. ‘

The Ma­cLeod Gazette in Fort Ma­cLeod, Al­berta is as solid a news­pa­per as you will find in any city or town in this coun­try. The di­ver­sity of West Van­cou­ver is cel­e­brated in the pages of The North Shore News.

All are ex­cep­tional pub­li­ca­tions built around a time­less and sim­ple prom­ise: De­liver rel­e­vant and trusted news to lo­cal res­i­dents. The for­mat, con­tent and de­sign may dif­fer for the 1,000+ com­mu­nity news­pa­pers across this coun­try, but the prom­ise is the same. In an era of ‘fake news’ and a 24-hour me­dia cy­cle, com­mu­nity news­pa­pers chart their own course rather than fol­low a me­dia pack or so­cial me­dia stream.

As my late fa­ther of­ten said, ‘The role of a com­mu­nity news­pa­per is to re­flect the com­mu­nity it serves, warts and all.’ This is per­haps more rel­e­vant to­day than it was when he started The East­ern Graphic in Mon­tague, PEI, in 1963.

Our read­ers trust our news. Our ad­ver­tis­ers know their ads reach en­gaged lo­cal con­sumers both in print and on­line.

Dur­ing Na­tional News­pa­per Week, we cel­e­brate the col­lec­tive strength of our in­dus­try and the vi­tal role it con­tin­ues to play in cham­pi­oning lo­cal democ­racy.

We are the watch­dog. The prod­der. The cham­pion of ideas. We cel­e­brate suc­cess and up­lift those in need. We build com­mu­nity. Of­ten we are the only source of lo­cal news.

We mat­ter.

And yet our in­dus­try is un­der at­tack. Nine in 10 Cana­di­ans read news­pa­per con­tent ev­ery week, but only five in 10 are will­ing to pay for it. Busi­ness and gov­ern­ment at all lev­els use for­eign-based so­cial me­dia for mes­sag­ing de­spite sur­veys that show news­pa­per ads, both dig­i­tal and print, are most trusted and boast mas­sive reach.

Face­book and Google have a his­tory of supporting hate, ho­mo­pho­bia, xeno­pho­bia, fall­ing prey to Rus­sian trolls and play­ing fast and loose with the pri­vacy of mil­lions of users. They gob­ble an ever-in­creas­ing share of the me­dia spend­ing pie (the two ac­count for 70 per cent of on­line spend­ing) but in­vest vir­tu­ally noth­ing to build Cana­dian com­mu­ni­ties. They do not col­lect HST that funds health care, ed­u­ca­tion and other gov­ern­ment ser­vices in your com­mu­nity.

So what me­dia truly has your best in­ter­est at heart?

Help us send a mes­sage to gov­ern­ment and busi­ness that news­pa­pers mat­ter, now more than ever.

Please pledge your sup­port at­pa­pers­mat­

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