Opinion: Support community newspapers or they will dissapear

The importance of community newspapers cannot be underestimated, in this week’s column

By Emily Jaycox for the Rimbey Review

Would you be surprised to hear that a study done by a media research company found that 88 per cent of adults in western Canada read a newspaper each week?

Whether it is on a smartphone, desktop computer or a print edition, baby boomers, millennials and families continue to read local news on various platforms.

A recent study conducted by Totum Research of Western Canadian readers found that newspapers – regardless of platforms — continue to be a vital part of a person’s day.

I became a journalist because I believe in telling stories of the residents who live in my community, creating an accurate record and providing communities with access to information.

Just this week, the Town of Rimbey, however, raised some concerns with its arguably ambiguous wording on a proposed advertising bylaw.

Under the Municipal Government Act, municipalities are required to advertise certain bylaws, public hearings etc. in a newspaper ad.

Municipalities, however, have the ability to introduce new bylaws to make changes to these rules so, for example, they don’t have to advertise in newspaper.

The town is considering posting the notices on its website and in the administration office. Officials believe this is enough to reach residents.

Nowhere in the proposed bylaw does it say that the town will continue to advertise in newspapers in addition to the town’s website and office.

On the contrary, it appears to be saying these two methods will replace the newspaper ad.

Although I have been assured by multiple sources from the town that they have no intention of discontinuing any of its current advertising, I remain concerned.

Concerned because this bylaw, no matter the current council’s intentions, seems to leave the possibility open to discontinue advertising with the paper in the future.

I’m also concerned because of the implications to newspapers everywhere in Alberta.

Pulling ads from newspapers amounts to less advertising revenue to those newspapers.

Newspapers are a business and run mostly on ad revenue and subscriptions.

That revenue pays for the salaries of editors and reporters who live and work in our community. They are boots on the ground who gather local news and provide the information to their communities, which residents need to make everyday decisions. It also pays for everyone from the mail carrier, the person who answers the phones to the drivers who deliver the papers.

In short, ad revenue keeps the lights on.

Advertising in newspapers remains a solid, efficient way to reach an audience.

With a circulation of over 5,700, you can trust the Rimbey Review to get your advertising message and news to a wide audience.

If we don’t support our community papers, they will disappear and think that would be a shame and a disservice to the public.

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