This week marks National Newspaper Week in Canada (Oct. 6-12) and we at the RMO think it is auspicious timing to take a moment to recognize what that means for us.
Fortunate because this week's Rocky Mountain Outlook print edition is a whopping 120 pages in size. That is a significant number, and is the largest page count, as far as we can recall, the RMO has reached.
But we cannot do this alone, and perhaps it is apropos that this paper is this large as a result of our Best of the Bow reader's choice awards special section, on top of what would be an 88-page regular newspaper.
Best of the Bow is something we have produced for 10 years, and it provides us an opportunity to engage with our readers through asking them to vote in the various categories for each community. It also gives us a chance to highlight the breadth and depth of local businesses that call this valley home.
Because without our readers, and without our advertisers – there would be no Rocky Mountain Outlook.
Started in 2001 by founding editor Carol Picard, publisher Bob Schott and Larry Marshall, the Outlook was a pipe dream and an audacious undertaking by all involved.
A mere 10 days after Sept. 11, 2001 and the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Centre south of the border, the world was on the brink of a sea change in many ways. So many things are different now – from e-commerce, social media, online news platforms, and the slow march of the debate over climate change.
Over the past 18 years, the Canadian newspaper industry has seen upheaval and major changes as well. From the rise of citizen journalists and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to the concentration of media ownership and the slow and steady shuttering of small town papers and loss of local journalists as a result.
And yet, we persist. Here at the Outlook we are succeeding in an industry beset by systemic problems. All is not lost, though, if we can do it here, it can be done anywhere.
Time has afforded us the ability to reflect on why the Outlook has managed to stem the tide and it comes down to one major factor – original, engaging and well-written journalism that is relevant to our readers.
The quality and consistency of the journalism we aim to deliver means residents of the Bow Valley and beyond pick up the paper, or go online and read it from our website, and they are informed as a result.
That means our readers become an audience that businesses would like to reach with their messages, in terms of marketing and advertising.
Businesses in the Bow Valley understand the value of advertising in the Outlook and we hope they realize that it not only provides them an opportunity to reach our readers, but they are also supporting journalism and this community newspaper as a result.
Our readers benefit, our community thrives and is healthy through being informed and engaged.
We know our model works and have seen some accolades as a result. This year the Outlook won best overall newspaper in its circulation class at the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, among other recognitions. With a seven person newsroom, that now rivals the staffing levels of some of the bigger dailies in this province, it is clear that community journalism in the Bow Valley is thriving.
We couldn't do it without you – our readers and the local business community that invests in journalism every single week.
On this, of all the weeks in the year, we tip our hats to all of you.