Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/10/2018 (511 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The week of Oct. 1 to 7 is National Newspaper Week in Canada, an initiative of News Media Canada to promote and point out the validity of national, regional and local news publications in communities from coast to coast to coast.
This year’s theme is Now More than Ever, a reference to the notion that the information age has practically become the "disinformation age," given the proliferation of misleading statements, utter falsehoods and opinion masquerading as fact on unmediated online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, WhatsApp and others.
Yes — you’ve read all this before and, if you’re reading this column in one of the six Canstar Community News weeklies, or online at canstarnews.com, you likely understand how important local journalism is to your communities.
However, we in the news business are our own worst enemies when it comes to spreading the word about what we do. We are skeptics by nature, suspicious of anything that smacks of self-promotion and tend to believe that our work should speak for itself.
Clearly that’s no longer enough. In a never-ending media cycle of noise, we have to start shouting from rooftops that the work we do is vital. We have to tell people that, even as the business of news gathering and distribution is in transition, it is imperative that it is supported and sustained.
So, here goes…
Every Wednesday, the six Canstar papers — The Headliner, The Herald, The Lance, The Metro, The Sou’wester and The Times — publish and distribute, for free, over 200,000 newspapers to households throughout Winnipeg, Headingley, Portage la Prairie and the rural municipalities of Cartier, Macdonald, Rosser and St. François Xavier. No other news publication has the same collective reach.
Our news stories and photographs — often more than can fit into the print editions — are also published at canstarnews.com, which is visited over one million times a year.
Our mandate is to dig deep into our coverage areas, to tell the stories that aren’t told anywhere else.
Which is why our papers and our website are the only places where you could read about — to offer examples from just the past couple of weeks — things such as the history of the North Kildonan Old Timers Hockey League; a home-haircutting business called Doorstep Barbers; the huge demand on the Salvation Army food bank in Portage; or south Winnipeg twins who recently reached their 90th birthday.
These stories were certainly worth covering. Only by learning about and telling people about the things they do with, to and for each other can we come to a greater understanding of the communities we live in and the issues they face.
That’s what we do. And what we will continue to do. Now more than ever.
Learn more about and pledge your support for Canadian newspapers at newspapersmatter.ca
John Kendle is managing editor of the six weekly newspapers published by Canstar Community News. He is also a director of the Manitoba Community Newspapers Association.
Managing editor, Canstar Community News
John Kendle is managing editor of Canstar Community News.