By: Paul MacNeill, Publisher, Island Press Limited, Montague, PEI
COVID-19 is more than a daily spreadsheet of virus and death totals for a community newspaper. It cuts more profoundly and personally for us. It’s a story about the local trucker delivering goods to ensure food security, or the teenager bagging groceries to meet the challenge of online shopping, or the nurse attending to our parent in a senior’s home. It’s about teachers adapting to ensure our children receive some semblance of a normal education and tourism operators pivoting in the face of economic catastrophe.
We’ve told these stories, and more, with words, photos, and video during the past year because they matter to you. They are faces you know.
Every week community newspapers shine an unfiltered light on their community. Ours is the only media in the world solely dedicated to telling your stories. We reflect the community back to you, warts and all.
This means attending meetings, often being the only reporter in the room. It means prodding public officials with difficult questions. It means celebrating our achievements and sharing sorrow.
It means being there and being relevant.
During the height of the pandemic, as Main Streets closed and advertising dried up, we were still there, more relevant than ever as residents craved a trusted, local source of news and information. For many, COVID is the wake-up call to the power and importance of community.
It’s easy to click a button and buy something, but it provides no benefit to the community. We’ve learned the power of one.
When we lose one job, any job, the broad negative trickledown is felt at our rinks and soccer fields, in senior supports and service clubs, and in fundraisers and sponsorships.
This is especially true for community newspapers.
Without the support of the local business community, we are unable to tell the stories that matter. The power of a local ad is just as important as the power of a local job. It helps build the foundation of community vibrancy.
If anyone needed a reason why advertising in the local paper matters, take a look at the stories told over the last year. Look at the local paper’s effort into supporting all local businesses, whether open or closed, because of the pandemic.
Now think about how your community’s COVID response would be different without the steady, trusted support the paper delivers week in and week out.
Whether in print or online, advertising in a community newspaper is a tried and true way to generate and grow business. It may not be as sexy as some platforms, but the results are second to none, and the impact far greater than a simple business transaction. It is a partnership to grow the community and invest in those who live, work and play there.
Buy a local ad. It’s an investment that will pay dividends far and wide.