January was a tough month for journalism.
First, Postmedia “merged” a bunch of newsrooms across the country, laying off hundreds of reporters in the process, a move that will inevitably lead to less local news and features in the cities where Postmedia owned two separate papers that used to have two separate staffs.
Can the eventual closure of one paper in each city, or a full-out merger be far behind? Stay tuned.
Then, closer to home, the Nanaimo Daily News closed its doors last Friday.
The Daily News, originally the Free Press, had been in business for 140 years.
Since then we’ve fielded a lot of questions about the Citizen and how we’re doing.
We are owned, after all, by Black Press, the same company that owned the Daily News.
We assure our readers and advertisers that we are in no danger of closing our doors.
Daily newspapers are a different beast, and have faced distinct challenges in the last decade.
Community newspapers such as the Citizen have faced the challenges of tough economic times as well, but we’ve been able to weather the storm.
We are very optimistic about our continued future — and a lot of that has to do with you, our readers and advertisers, along with our dedicated staff.
At community newspapers we concentrate on bringing our readers the news about what’s happening right here in our communities. This is news that you can’t just go to Internet and find on any number of sites, covered by the Canadian Press or Reuters.
This is the stuff like the Municipality of North Cowichan budget, the family struggling to raise funds to afford a life-saving kidney transplant, and the play you can go and see on Saturday night.
We let you know whether or not there’s going to be a bus strike, but also dig deep into the challenges faced by special needs students in a cash-strapped school district.
We let our readers voice their opinions to the community in our letters section, and learn about our past from long-time columnist T.W. Paterson.
The Cowichan Valley is a place where people care about their neighbours and want to know what’s going on, and that’s what we at the Citizen are determined to do. We’re passionate about local issues and proud of our residents’ accomplishments.
Local news is vital to our community economically, politically, and socially.
It’s how we change things we don’t like, and support things that we do. Information is power, and newspapers empower the people.
We look forward to being part of this amazing community for years to come.