Editor’s note: The Chatham Voice usually runs only editorials of a local focus, ones penned by staff at this newspaper. This is an exception and it comes from News Media Canada.
Local newspapers play an essential role in keeping communities informed, engaged, and thriving by delivering credible, authentic news and information that cannot be found anywhere else. Newspapers are the glue that keeps communities connected and are crucial players in the local economies where they operate, providing an unparalleled ability to spark meaningful conversations.
Why does original, local content matter? It allows Canadians from all walks of life to tell their stories and feel heard, creating a sense of togetherness in communities from coast to coast to coast. Whether reporting on a local charity fundraiser, international conflict, or even a global pandemic, strong local journalism gives readers credible information when they need it. While many of us agree that the credible, independent reporting newspapers provide is an essential public service – something that has and should always be available – many of us forget that this level of reporting requires a significant investment of both time and resources.
The last few years have shown us the importance of supporting and investing in local communities. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business reported that upwards of 200,000 Canadian small businesses would be closing their doors directly due to the pandemic. Newspapers across the country worked tirelessly to provide these businesses with a voice to amplify their message, shining a light on their work and emphasizing the value of “supporting local”. While newspapers continue to play a vital role in supporting and standing up for small businesses during the pandemic, this is not something new or out of the ordinary. Community news media have always supported local economies by spotlighting local stores and entrepreneurs, supporting community initiatives, and providing local advertising options to speak directly to customers.
Local newspapers are also champions for democracy, providing Canadians with essential information to spark meaningful conversations about their community and country at large. The work of newspaper journalists, editors, fact-checkers, and more, provides readers with the tools they need to make informed decisions, empowering them to advocate for what they believe in. Newspapers allow communities to form their local identities by sharing stories and information that make a difference.
That is why each year, the news media industry and its readers are invited to celebrate National Newspaper Week – an ode to the work Canadian newspapers do each and every day to keep Canadians informed and connected.
This year National Newspaper Week takes place from Oct. 3-9. To celebrate and pay tribute to the industry, Canadian artist Ola Volo has created a limited-edition, signed print titled “Champions.” This custom artwork empowers Canadians to spark meaningful conversations about the critical importance of independent, local journalism.
To learn more about National Newspaper Week and purchase an item from this year’s Champion The Truth collection, visit nationalnewspaperweek.ca.