Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/1/2017 (1838 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Fake news is easy. Real journalism is hard.
And thanks to subscriptions from readers like you, we can afford to do journalism like this in 2016.
Newspapers’ bottom lines generated a lot of headlines over the past year.
There were stories about newspapers closing their doors. There was a seemingly endless newsfeed on falling advertising revenues hitting papers both big and small. And there was the start of a conversation on Parliament Hill about how to preserve the role newspapers play in the life of this country from coast to coast to coast.
But here at 1355 Mountain Ave., 2016 will be remembered as a turning point in our 145-year history as revenue from readers finally overtook that from advertising.
The significance of this milestone can’t be overstated as newspapers everywhere struggle to deal with the reality that high-margin print advertising — long the bedrock of the business — is on a downward slide unlikely to ever be reversed. While the Free Press has never lost money, past success isn’t enough to protect our bottom line given how quickly our industry is shifting.
We needed to adapt, and so we did. The change we made in the summer of 2015 to introduce a fully paid model for our growing audience, whether they read us online or in print, has now become the positive core trend line for our business.
Every single day, our journalism leads to more paying readers. And every single day, those readers are providing more revenue to help fund the journalism this community deserves.
Our forecast for 2017 expects that trend line to grow by 28 per cent — well above the industry average — as we target $1.2 million in revenue from digital readers
What challenges will 2017 present to the Free Press but also the role a free press plays in a world that has seen the rise of fake news, confirmation–bias bubbles and a president–elect that trumps press conferences with all–cap tweets? The only certainty is that we will, to paraphrase the Chinese proverb, be publishing in interesting times.
Make no mistake, this growing success story at the Free Press doesn’t mean we have escaped the financial pressures bearing down on newspapers across North America. But having readers on our side gives us an advantage other newspapers lack.
What challenges will 2017 present to the Free Press but also the role a free press plays in a world that has seen the rise of fake news, confirmation-bias bubbles and a president-elect that trumps press conferences with all-cap tweets? The only certainty is that we will, to paraphrase the Chinese proverb, be publishing in interesting times.
We leave 2016 with Oxford Dictionaries having declared post-truth as its word of the year. The term, which saw a spike in usage during the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s unprecedented presidential run, is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’’
The fact post-truth found its linguistic footing this year says a lot about the world we live in and our political and social discourse. The only way to ensure the term doesn’t become a defining word of our time is for newsrooms to work harder at pursuing the facts and truthful reporting.
But as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently admitted in response to fake news on his global platform, "identifying the truth is complicated.’’
Fortunately for the Free Press, readers such as you are helping us take on that complicated job that’s part of our core commitment to this community.
We need you even more in 2017.
And the fact you are reading means you need us, too.
Happy New Year!
-Free Press Editor Paul Samyn
While we thought inviting our readers for an insiders tour of the Free Press might be a good idea, we never expected we would be hosting sold-out event after sold-out event.
But the early run of these behind-the-scene tours of our newsroom has convinced us we need to do more to meet the demand. So every month, we will be offering two of these subscriber-only events that give you a truly insider’s look at the Free Press and how the we deliver the news to you.
Led by Editor Paul Samyn, the tours explain what we do and why we do it, right down to the moment the paper gets run off of our presses.
As part of this tour, you will get to meet our reporters and editors and also join in our morning news meetings. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided.
Note: The tour is mostly accessible, with a few steps in one area. Car parking is available on site.
We have a lot of exciting things planned for you, our Insiders, in 2017, and I’m excited to share a sneak peek at some of them now.
Following a string of sold-out events in late 2016, we have decided to bring Sunday Brunch Collective back for a limited run in 2017.
We are always looking for ways to reward you, our valued Insiders, which is why we have partnered with Entertainment Book to offer you a free digital copy of their savings book ($35 retail value)!
Not only does this book contain thousands of dollars in local coupons for entertainment, restaurants, services, hotels, car rentals and more, but you will have complete access to over 365,000 coupons from all over North America.
Your free copy of their digital coupon book will be available soon at winnipegfreepress.com/insider. Keep checking the Insider page for more updates and information as they become available.
Whether you’re looking for the latest breaking news or something on the lighter side, you will find it all in our upcoming Newsbreak app.
Featuring a curated collection of stories throughout the day, this app is sure to keep you informed about everything you need to know from around Manitoba and the world!
This app, available soon, will be free for Insiders like you. Keep your eyes on the pages of our paper for more information in the coming weeks.