Local matters

Call it a revitalization revolution. Newspapers from communities across the country are engaging in a campaign to make the point, again, that local matters.

The merits of shopping locally and supporting local business is not a new concept. Healthy livable communities require a strong local economy and often at the heart of that effort is a strong community newspaper.

A friend in the business who is publisher at the Winnipeg Free Press and president of the Canadian News Media Association summed it up best, when he reminded colleagues the classic definition of a good newspaper is “a community in conversation with itself.”

Smart local advertisers have always known they want to be in on that conversation. Those of us involved in publishing newspapers have always been proud of our relationships with local advertisers – relationships that make our communities stronger.

But this week, that point needs to be leveraged a step further, particularly for a newspaper like ours that is distributed free of charge each week. This local newspaper is possible because of the hundreds of advertisers who place ads and flyers with us each week.

When the chance presents itself, most of my conversations with customers end with thanks and appreciation for doing business with us. In a recent such exchange with possibly our largest customer the response was “one hand washes the other.” In other words, ours is a mutually beneficial relationship in which their enterprise is able to effectively promote itself and the newspaper is able to fulfill its mandate of providing critical local news for the people who live here.

Admittedly, the marketing landscape is full of options, particularly the deployment of online strategies, whether that be social media or e-commerce sites. When it comes down to it, right down to the street level, where residents play, live and work, has anyone got a nickel from Facebook, Google or Amazon? Sure, they’ll grab money from here and other communities across the country and spend it in their version of local. But as far as enhancing the quality of life for locals here, or enriching the functions of commerce that drive a strong local economy, to these entities residents are just data points worth pennies a click.

Fellow directors I’ve developed friendships with on provincial and national boards regularly suggest a degree of envy for what the Advertiser is able to do. As sure as those compliments fly, the response is that we are lucky to have such a great selection of business owners who care about keeping this county, and every community in it, strong and healthy.

We salute our advertisers who recognize local matters and our great readership base, over 80,000 strong, who recognize shopping local is good for everyone.