Cornwall Ontario – In the olden days…way back in the 90’s, there were three main streams of revenue for newspapers.
Subscriptions, where people paid for home delivery. Then there were classified ads, and finally advertising. All three were pillars that allowed media to cover the news as best as they could.
Certain pressures could not be applied politically because there were three streams of cash.
Then the internet hit and sites like Craigslist and Kijiji wiped out classified advertising. Then the web allowed for digital newspapers like this one that you’re reading which made subscription rates plummet. It’s much easier to read the news on our phones or watch on our 70 inch tv’s than turn pages.
And lastly there is traditional advertising, but that’s changed too as advertisers feel that they should have more clout in what is written editorially, which they really should never have, and is only inflamed as that last pillar is essentially what most media have to live off of now.
That has decimated the journalism industry. Award winning journalists are no longer working. Some who still are are fearful to write certain stories that they would in the past for fear of losing their jobs. Now social media’s push into advertising has eaten away at that bottom line too.
But what’s happened is that the public has become less and less enamoured of traditional media. They don’t trust what they read and terms like “fake news” are becoming popular.
This media outlet has endured bullying of some of our clients, usually connected to City Hall, that has led a boycott based on utter lies that were spread in Council via a report authored by Economic Development guy Bob Peters.
A review of local news websites show that only two allow anonymous posts: the Standard-Freeholder and the Cornwall Free News. Both sites have some moderation of comments, but a review of activity over the past several months have led staff to concur with the generalized assessment of the practice by the American Journalism Review: “Comment sections are often packed with profanity, and vicious personal attacks.”
While not a lie per se, calling the Freeholder and CFN local news websites than simply newspapers is really misleading, especially to backward silly types. Mr. Peters at the time of writing was 100% aware that CFN is fully moderated. That’s a categoric lie. There was never a quote discovered by the AJR as mentioned by Mr. Peters and anyone who’s read CFN knows that our comment section is not full of profanity nor vicious personal attacks.
Yet, the city still, now under its third clerk since I’ve requested what is my right as a citizen of Cornwall, to present information to council to rebut Mr. Peter’s vexatious lie.
So how is a newspaper to survive? We added google ads which I swore we never would do as our focus is local.
That’s helps a bit, but it hurts the local economy by the largest newspaper flooding its pages with outside ads. I’d be happy to remove them if more businesses locally stepped up and purchased ads.
We’ve slashed our ad rates, but every time we get a new sales rep they seem to get intimidated by certain bullies in the community and eventually resign.
And we’re not the only newspaper to struggle in this new media age even if we do have a few more obstacles than most.
What many media are doing now is simply putting out a donate button. Some are putting out firewalls which mean that you can’t read the story unless you’re a paid subscriber. Currently we’re looking at a version of that, but I personally would rather not do that.
In our latest published numbers (we actually publish real raw numbers rather than mystic percentages or extrapolated voodoo ratings books) we’ve upped our traffic for the third straight month, year over year, which I’m grateful to all of our viewers for, but again, we need resources and staff and we can’t improve without our viewers pulling their weight.
In March we had over 90,000 unique visitors which translates to over 125,000 adults. If each donated $10 per year that would employ eight emerging long term media jobs in this market which would be huge. It also would mean that we’d have even more viewers which means we’d be able to grow, and maybe even reignite our Seaway TV plan.
Is ten dollars per year really that much for you dear viewer?
Because of the injustice system judicially in this community, and the City Hall led boycott, this has dramatically impacted us financially.
We’re asking for a one time infusion of support from our viewers and a commitment of $10 per year from as many of you as possible because frankly if one full year isn’t worth about one month of netflix to our regulars then journalism in this community is really dead.
It’s in your hands, and as easy as clicking the donate button below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or dialing 855 444 1133. All donations are private of course. We can’t help you the public without the resources to be effective.
The donate snip is at the bottom of each page and all of our columnists have them too. They deserve a “tip” from our viewers too!
When people work together great things can happen.