Local newspapers: Part of your community

This piece was written by Daniel Bushman, publisher of The Watrous Manitou and Lanigan Advisor in Saskatchewan. Member newspapers are granted permission to run this piece with credit or to use for inspiration.  Download a zip file including Daniel’s photo by clicking here. 

Despite what some may think or even perceive, newspapers remain a valuable part of our everyday lives.

It is not just because of the importance of in-depth and credible journalism that newspapers can provide. It is not just because of the value a local newspaper has when it comes to getting your message across as an advertiser. It is not just because a local newspaper strives to eliminate ‘fake news.’ And it is not just because a newspaper, your local newspaper, can provide positive stories on local people, local events, and local happenings.

No, newspapers truly are an integral part of people’s everyday lives because they support their communities. They support the local advertisers who place their trust in us to get their message out. Newspapers support the local bake sale held at a seniors’ centre. Newspapers help support a new business opening up down the street by writing a story on them. Newspapers support events, fundraisers, or the local sports team on its way to a championship. You see, local newspapers are more than just something to flip through each day, week, or month; they are part of a community. Part of your community.

Like other local businesses, newspapers have been around during the good times and the bad. Once the current COVID-19 pandemic ends, they will hopefully continue to be there to help keep Canadians informed. However, while many newspapers across Canada continue to push forward despite these trying times, like so many others, they have been tremendously impacted.

Because of the pandemic, newspapers have lost substantial advertising revenues. In fact, according to a Nanos survey, some outlets saw those revenues fall by as much as 60 percent in just the first two weeks of the COVID-19 shutdown. The same can be said for businesses who have watched revenues drop while the pandemic swept across the country.

Trying to keep going, newspapers and businesses need your help to thrive before it is too late. As a publisher of two small-town weekly newspapers, having parents and grandparents who own and who have owned a business of their own, I understand the value of supporting local.

Supporting local was how my grandparents made a living. It is how my parents are making a living, and it is how my wife and I are trying to make a living. Perhaps it will be how our own kids will make a living. But it is not just a one-way street. While we rely on the support from our communities, we, in turn, try to give back. We give back because we care for our communities and the people who live in them. We care about how our neighbours are doing, and we want to see our local businesses excel.

So why shop local where you live? Because it is not just good for the country, it is good for business. It is good for local business, and it is good for the local economy.