July 1st. Canada Day. 151st marking of confederation. Historical reflections.
July 1st will mark another historical moment of sorts. It might be viewed as significantly small by many. To my hometown of New Glasgow and the surrounding communities it’s six day a week newspaper will print the same as competitor The Pictou Advocate as a weekly print publication.
Bob Dylan’s timeless lyric “The Times They Are a Changin” is a weighted line of words that ring true now, and will ring louder as history continues to write its’ expanding volumes. People are consuming content more digitally than ever. The number of seniors in 1st world countries with smartphones is growing. The need to embrace technology and its’ benefits far outweighs any frustration of fumbling fingers. People who might not otherwise embrace technology are deconverting from their self-imposed semi-Amish lifestyles.
The “News” started out in 1911 as The Evening News. It has a rich publication history as most small-town publications do. It was the newspaper that always appeared in our house and the homes of neighbours, friends and relatives. The odd time we would see a copy of the Pictou Advocate because we knew people who worked for it. I read the funny page and the TV listings before I could understand what the hell the rest of it meant. For just over a year my brother and I worked a partial route in our community of Pictou Landing. This was a hard and sometimes harsh lesson in math, money and dealing with a few mean people.
Reading the newspaper was an early lesson in writing. When I noticed that my Dad and other people I knew could get their letters to the editor published, it sounded like a great thing to be proud of. So when I was a wise ass early teen I sent a few letters in, getting the odd one printed about whatever may have been on my mind. This continued into my adult years. One letter I wrote expressing support for the sale of the Trenton Municipal Airport to grocery giant Sobeys drew considerable fire from my Dad. We verbally sparred for a couple of days while I aggressively defended the sale of the airport in order for the town to obtain badly needed revenue for infrastructure repair.
As the newsprint demand continues to decrease, it’s almost more than likely only a few will remain across the country and indeed the world. Even pristine copies of certain news publications are appearing on eBay for potential collectors to snap up. Some at the price of way more than a monthly or even yearly subscription would even cost.
Readers want instant delivery of information. The owners of newsprint publications are recognizing that and having to adapt their business model accordingly. I sincerely hope that journalists from The News who have a genuine talent can move on to something still in their field and keep working. More than ever, content needs the best and brightest. To separate the rubbish from the real and keep the best qualities of newsprint publications alive in electronic form.