CFN – One of the biggest obstacles in growing our humble independent media outlet is the bizarre boycott of CFN by government agencies.
While some could argue that the City of Cornwall has some sort of reason (they don’t really and were disrespecting CFN before the War started) what reason does the Province of Ontario?
Our province has refused to advertise or post information on CFN even when some of our competition trash them; calling the Liberal governments under Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne MacFiberals.
While I’m a Free Market and choice supporter when it comes to the public purse and tax dollars there should always be a fiduciary responsibility.
For example in 2012 the City of Cornwall according to their budget spend an astonishing $281K in advertising. Not one dollar went to CFN yet we were the largest supplier of web traffic to the Choose Cornwall website, again according to the city.
The Province blames its ad agency Zenith Media. They cite a hands off approach, but that too reeks.
An example was this excerpt from an exchange with Darren Dalgliesh of Upper Canada Village; ie Parks Canada in Ontario.
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I was waiting for our Ministry Vendor of Record to provide a marketing impact assessment for our product on your Website. This VOR (Zenith Media) is the clearing house for all of our marketing and advertising activity and we take their advice on where to place our limited marketing dollars and they pay the providers for us. Below is their assessment.
“We have gone through all the key sources for digital audience/reach stats to get info on the cornwallfreenews.com and so far have come up empty. It is not measured by any of the recognized industry sources such as ComScore, Alexa or Google Ad Planner (way too small). “
We pressed for further investigation as this seemed inconsistent with what you had told me….and received the note below:
“Hi – just wanted to give you a final confirmation that none of the sources that track web measurement have anything for the Cornwall Free Press.”
Based on this Jamie, we have decided to continue with our current marketing platform where we feel it best suits our needs.
Alexa is a fine tool for web measurement. It’s not perfect, but that being said we have not only consistently been the number one ranked of the local media, we still are, so that argument is mute. Btw, did you catch that interesting switch which of course would not show any rankings? www.Cornwallfreepress.com instead of our actual id, www.Cornwallfreenews.com? Pretty clever huh? Or grounds for someone at the Province’s agency to be fired.
Again these are tax dollars being spent. Millions of tax dollars being spent when you add it all up.
Why on earth would any government agency pay more for less value when spending the public’s monies? Does that make any sense?
CAS, Cornwall Community Hospital, the Bridge Authority, Raisin River Institute, the School Boards, Seaway Tourism, the local library, city funded art gallery, and museum, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit who were refusing to send the largest media outlet in its city health alerts as well! The Champlain LHIN, Eastern Ontario Training Board, St.Lawrence College (who refuse to send us journalism interns as well) the United Counties of SD&G and many more. We’re not talking weak sister or not reflection, but zero, nada.
Heck even our Premier’s office was contacted with no results.
How are we supposed to grow and hire more people and contract more services? As it is Seawaytv.com is on the shelf because of these boycotts. A city of 45,000 people should have a local newscast, shouldn’t it?
Kinda nuts, huh? Some in our circle suggest some kind of conspiracy. Some point to some groups just being lazy and buying ads via chain for multiple cities.
But as CFN approaches its 5th birthday in February it surely raises questions and red flags.
When the public decides where they wish to congregate online surely any taxpayer based spending should reflect that, at least to some degree.
The questions are why these agencies are playing politics instead of serving their mandates? And is there really some prejudice against the only locally owned media corporation in the city of Cornwall and area?
Should these agencies have to reflect the numbers of viewers and demographics in their ad buys?
What do you think dear viewers of CFN? You can post your comments below.