Empty but not silent: The Low Down News shines a light on the importance of community newspapers by publishing blank edition

The Low Down to Hull and Back News, a feisty community newspaper covering the Gatineau Hills for 50 years, is taking an unconventional approach to highlight the indispensable role of community journalism by publishing a special edition entirely devoid of content.

Scheduled for publication on Wednesday, July 19th, the “Blank Edition” of the Low Down seeks to provoke reflection on the impact and importance of community journalism. By presenting an absence of news, stories, opinions and local features, the newspaper’s pages will serve as a visual representation of the void that would be left if community newspapers cease to exist.

“The Low Down has been an integral part of the fabric of our community for 50 years. We believe it is vital for our residents to understand the tremendous value community newspapers bring to our everyday lives,” said Nikki Mantell, Publisher of The Low Down. “By publishing the blank edition, we aim to spark a conversation about the indispensable role community newspapers play in fostering informed communities and upholding the principles of democracy.”

As technology and digital platforms have rapidly transformed the media landscape, local newspapers have faced numerous challenges, including declining readership and advertising revenue. Consequently, many community newspapers across Canada have been forced to shut down, leaving communities without a reliable source of local news and information.

The Low Down’s bold initiative underscores the vital role community newspapers play in providing credible, in-depth reporting, investigative journalism, local events coverage, and human interest stories that connect residents with their neighbourhoods. It aims to remind readers of the critical role community newspapers have in amplifying community voices, holding local authorities accountable, and fostering a sense of belonging and togetherness.

“We hope that by presenting an empty newspaper, we can emphasize the immense impact of community journalism and encourage our readers to actively support The Low Down,” added Mantell. “Our commitment to providing accurate, community-centric reporting has never wavered, and we urge our community members to stand with us in preserving the invaluable tradition of community journalism.”

The “Blank Edition” of The Low Down to Hull and Back News will be available at all regular distribution points including in-mailbox delivery, local stores and online on Wednesday, July 19th.

The publication is also happy to conduct interviews to discuss the ‘Blank Edition’ marketing campaign and more!  

Jessica Valentini – Director of Marketing (July 17-18) on the “Blank Edition” marketing campaign.

Nikki Mantell – Publisher (starting July 18th) to discuss the importance of community journalism and industry challenges.

Trevor Greenway – Editor (starting July 19th) to discuss the importance of community journalism and industry challenges.