The Swan Valley Star and Times: Celebrate your newspaper and ensure its future

For National Newspaper Week in Swan Valley, MB, the Star and Times published a feature page for their readers using the resources from the News Media Canada online toolkit. The feature included the program logo, the national ad, an op-ed by publisher Brian Gilroy, and excerpts from previous program material reminding us to be a champion for the truth in a world of fake news.

Read Gilroy’s message to readers below:

Celebrate your newspaper and ensure its future

If there’s one thing we, as newspaper companies, don’t do very well, it’s that we don’t toot our own horn enough. In a world where it seems to be the norm to boast on social media just how great our life is, why we don’t pat ourselves on the back can likely be blamed on being modest as near as I can tell.

We know the responsibility we carry in the communities we serve. It’s heavy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, during what is National Newspaper Week here in Canada – between October 1-7 for those keeping track at home – maybe it’s as good a time as any to remind our readers, and even those that only occasionally pick up a copy of the Star and Times, just why you might want to be happy we still exist, in what is an ever-changing world.

First off, are you aware the Swan River Valley has had a local community newspaper since the year 1900? Again, for the benefit of those keeping track at home, that’s an incredible 123 year run we’re on.

While there are days I likely feel that old, thankfully I still have some gas left in the tank. I hope anyway.

Throughout the decades, there have been countless changes in the world that was most certainly going to kill newspapers existence. Radio, television all came in to play, and eventually the big, bad internet.

Somehow, we’ve all found ways to coexist. Simply put, every person is different and how they consume their information differs from one person to the next.

Then, along came social media, namely Facebook. That was it. For sure the world would end for so many community newspapers.

There’s always been a glaring problem with that though. Two words, reliability and accountability, quickly come to mind.

It’s not to say social platforms are not to be trusted, but there is certainly no way of holding someone accountable in terms of spreading fake news – not to mention all out lies and conspiracy theories that run rampant – and do nothing other than end friendships and cold wars amongst family and friends.

When it comes to history in, for instance, our Valley, there really is literally only ONE place where the happenings are documented weekly, and available to view – and that’s right here at your hometown newspaper.

I’d be willing to bet many of you aren’t even aware we have hard copies of nearly every single edition of this newspaper right here in our building. Short of a few years from the 1930’s that went missing decades ago, much of the Valley’s history can still be found in our office.

And, God willing, there will still be copies of newspapers available for historical purposes 50 years from now when you might need to search out relevant happenings going on right now in our Valley.

Like most smaller communities and areas, the local newspaper is the number one hub of information.

  • Need to know what stores are offering sales? If it’s relevant enough, you’ll get the details in the Star and Times.
  • Want to know what your local councils are dealing with? Chances are you’ll read about it in the Star and Times.
  • Major fundraiser going on in the area? Of course you’ll find all the information you’ll need right here in these pages.
  • Want to follow along with the local sports scene? The Star and Times has as many as eight pages each week highlighting what our local athletes are up to.
  • And, we can’t leave out some of the great feature stories on local, and former residents, sharing their stories of great accomplishments and life stories.

You won’t find these anywhere else. So please excuse us while we pat ourselves on the back. Feel free to join us.