ISWNE conference comes to Canada

This June, the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE) is bringing its annual conference to Toronto and you’re all invited.

Organized by NMC members Lisha Van Nieuwenhove of the Uxbridge Cosmos, Alicia McCutcheon of the Manitoulin Expositor and Ontario Community Newspapers Association executive director Gordon Cameron, we have put together an itinerary that will not only showcase the best of Canadian community journalism, but also the best that Toronto, Ontario and Canada has to offer.

We begin with a preconference trip to Niagara Falls on Tuesday, June 18 (limited to 48 participants). The day will include a Voyage to the Falls boat tour, a trip to the Mackenzie Printery Museum and dinner and a tasting at one of Niagara’s world-famous wineries.

The conference starts in earnest on Wednesday, June 19 with lunch in Toronto Metropolitan University’s International Living/Learning Centre’s International Room.

All on campus meals, sessions, receptions and galas will take place in this room, which is conveniently located in the same building where we’ll be sleeping. The afternoon sessions will highlight Canadian journalism success stories, including hearing from the first community newspaper journalist to with a Michener Award and from NMC member Helen Murphy of the Guysborough Journal who launched a successful rural podcast.

That evening, attendees will have the option to purchase tickets to either go see the Toronto Blue Jays play the Boston Red Sox or the musical Wicked.

Thursday is a day on the town. After breakfast, we’ll take the subway to the Royal Ontario Museum for a morning of exploring its world-famous exhibits. In the early afternoon, you’ll have a choice of four activities: a trip to explore Kensington Market, one of Toronto’s distinctive multicultural neighbourhoods full of eclectic shops and cafés; a tour of Queen’s Park; more time at the museum or an afternoon to create your own Toronto adventure. That evening, OCNA will be playing host at a marquee event that will celebrate the best journalism the province has to offer. The OCNA reception will give newspaper people who aren’t able to attend the conference a chance to come out and meet and mingle with ISWNE members and learn from community newspaper editors and publishers from the United States, Europe and beyond. Also, any OCNA member who would like to receive their BNC awards in-person in front of an industry audience, this is your chance.

Friday, it’s back to the International Room for two sets of sessions: the morning will be geared to ISWNE’s non-Canadian members as we teach them all be about Journalism in Canada. However, in the afternoon we will have sessions on how to get the most out of your interns and the benefits and pitfalls of AI for small publishers.

Saturday is a big day starting with the editorial critique sessions hosted at TMU’s J-school. These small group sessions bring together editors, retired editors and dedicated readers to review and offer constructive criticism on the editorial pages of participating newspapers. These sessions have led to many positive changes in opinion pages around the world.

Be sure to register at: to ensure your place. It’s a bit of business after lunch with ISWNE’s AGM followed by a Hotline Live round table session moderated by NMC member Heather Wright of the Independent – Serving Petrolia and Central Lambton and the Herald – Serving Thamesville, Dresden and Bothwell. That session will run until we’re tired of talking or we all need to go and get changed for the gala. The gala is a chance to celebrate the best of ISWNE’s membership including the presentation of awards and the installation of its new president.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Ontario Community Newspapers Foundation, one OCNA member will receive a free, full conference registration which includes four days of sessions and events, four nights accommodation and all meals. If you are interested in entering this draw, please contact Karen Shardlow at by May 17.

If you win and have already registered for the full conference, your ticket cost will be refunded. Our members will also be eligible for discounted tickets to the OCNA reception and can purchase day passes if there are any topics that particularly catch you eye. We would also like to thank News Media Canada for its sponsorship of the conference.

To register for the ISWNE conference you’ll need to do so online at: All figures are in Canadian dollars and are subject to HST.

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, please feel free to contact Gordon at