Next week, October 1 to October 8, is National Newspaper Week. Newspapers, and the existential threat to independent news in Canada has never been greater than it is now.
In recent weeks at The Leader, we have written about the demise or contraction of newspapers in our region. The closure of the Glengarry News, the termination of the print editions of 70 Metroland weekly newspapers including the Kemptville Advance, Smiths Falls Record-News, and the Perth Courier, all have occurred since September 1. Since January, hundreds of jobs from major TV networks to community newspapers have been eliminated. This is not a new occurrence. Since the 2008 recession, media in Canada and globally have been undergoing a transformative change which has seen consolidation, job losses, and the proliferation of news deserts. Again, this has been written about in our pages recently. With these facts in mind, it is difficult to celebrate National Newspaper Week, yet we must do so – because it is fundamentally important to our community.
Community newspapers like The Leader, our friends at the Chesterville Record, and those who remain news organizations across the region are vital to our communities. We live in an age where misinformation seeps into the conversation from all directions. Social media platforms have made the sharing of truth more difficult and fiction easier than ever. Having credible news organizations that research, fact check, and investigate help hold back the tidewater of misinformation.
Newspapers not only hold those in power accountable, we record what is seen and happening in your communities. We are there when the junior hockey team opens their season with an unbeaten record, and when kids score their first soccer goal. Newspapers uncover the reasons why council decisions are made, when the former dental plant is sold, and why the community’s largest employer expands, or downsizes. Most importantly, we tell people’s stories, the community’s stories.
According to News Media Canada, which represents hundreds of print and digital newspapers across the country, including The Leader, almost 30 million newspapers are delivered across Canada. Four-out-of-five Canadians (83 per cent) read newspaper content each week, and trust the content they read. Those numbers have remained unchanged for the last 10 years. Despite all the options out there, trusted news sources like The Leader are still the first choice for Canadian readers.
While we join with others in the industry to celebrate the value to local communities for newspapers this coming National Newspaper Week, and every week, there is something readers can also do – join in.
Newspapers like The Leader cannot exist without the support of readers and advertisers. Buy a subscription for yourself or a loved-one; shop at one of the advertisers in this newspaper and tell that retailer you saw their ad in The Leader. Share the news, our news, your community’s news, with those around you – and thank you for reading!