Small town newspapers are the soul of their communities

Some news organizations are thriving in the new environment. Others are struggling

Last Friday your editor finished judging for Ontario Community Newspapers Association‘s general excellence competition. The judging was for the smallest circulation class (under 2,000) and so the newspapers were similar in size to the Times.

The next step will be for OCNA to combine my scores with another editor’s scores. We then will have a conference call to decide who the eventual winners will be.

Looking through the entries (there were seven this year), I was struck by how diverse they were but also by how much they had in common.

All were tabloids, but their sizes ranged from 12 pages to 36.

Being small circulation newspapers, they all were essentially one-person newsrooms, although a few might have one or two reporters to help out.

One editor wrote well but her photography and page organization were weak. Another was very strong on photography and page organization, but the writing was mediocre.

Each newspaper submitted two issues, one from June of last year, the other from September.

One newspaper seemed to have a hard time finding enough news to fill its September entry. For its June entry, however, there was a flood to cover, and it did an excellent job.

We are going through a time of transition in the newspaper industry.

Some news organizations are thriving in the new environment. Others are struggling.

The big city papers were hit first, but now the trend is reaching down into the small community newspapers.

The internet, social media, and just how people live their lives are all affecting circulation and advertising revenues everywhere.

Looking through those small town newspapers from Ontario was a privilege. It was a reminder of how important good, responsible journalism can be to a small community.

The Clearwater-North Thompson Times has been the newspaper of record for the upper North Thompson Valley since 1964.

Through good news and bad, we have tried to let you, our readers, know what is going on in your own communities.

 

Last year we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We look forward to serving you for at least another 50 more.