Community papers have value

The minister of Canadian Heritage has told me that my business model is broken. She indicated I should be partnering with both Facebook and Google to deliver the news of our community.
I guess that after more than 120 years of publishing the stories about the lives and businesses of the people of Rainy River district, such information is of no value to the minister.
Nor are the stories published in more than 700 community newspapers across Canada in more than one language of any importance. The minister must believe that Facebook and Google cover all happenings in Canada.
The minister contacted all newspapers in Canada to give advance notice of her impending speech so it would be covered across Canada and the thoughts of her speech would be distributed by Canadian print media.
She also streamed her speech on Facebook. Then she unloaded her bombshell.
The federal government, at the turn of the 21st century, used to spend 17 percent of its advertising budget with community newspapers across Canada. Today, less than one percent is still spent but the Liberal government feels it is necessary to spend $13.7 million with U.S. social media.
I guess that is where the Liberals expect to reap their benefits.
Spending that $13.7 million across Canada in small-market newspapers greatly would enhance the abilities of community newspapers to cover the events and people in their communities.
A study commissioned by AdCanada Media stated: “As far as regular weekly media is concerned, traditional media was still dominant amongst respondents in communities under 5,000 population.”
As for newspapers being dead, a study conducted by News Media Canada found newspapers reach nine out of 10 adults each week.
I guess we are not dying.
I don’t see Google or Facebook sending out reporters to cover school events, minor sports, community theatre performances, council, or boards of education that is normally found in the 700 community newspapers published across Canada.
All of community happenings, including births and deaths, fires, accidents, and business openings and closings are recorded by newspapers. Community newspapers are the historical archives of much of the history of Canada.
Yet the minister does not appear to understand the role community newspapers play in the lives of Canadians.
Newspapers were asking for support, just as television received $100 million and Netflix is going to receive huge grants to produce features in Canada.
The Washington Post added a new phrase this year to its masthead: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” With shrinking newsrooms in the large Canadian metropolitan newspapers, fewer journalists are monitoring all three levels of government.
Squeezing out community newspapers in rural Ontario also makes councils and boards of education less accountable to the electorate.
Maybe the minister would really not want to be recorded by news media in the future.
I hope our Liberal member of Parliament will let her know the value of the community papers in his riding.

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