As part of National Newspaper Week, Oct. 1-7, the Campbell River Mirror reached out to local leaders – including prominent figures in entertainment, sports and social services, along with local politicians – for their reflections on why local news matters for Campbell River.
Their answers shed light on the vital role local media plays in the community.
“Local newspapers are windows into a community’s collective consciousness,” said Jim Kent, managing director of the Tidemark Theatre.
He added that local media are vital for getting the word out about cultural events.
“Printed media, as well as social media, allow us to reach as broad an audience as possible within our community.”
The newspaper also keeps hockey fans updated about the progress of Campbell River’s popular Junior B team, said Lee Stone, head coach and general manager of the Campbell River Storm.
“The Mirror is constantly providing Campbell River and surrounding areas up-to-date news on the Storm and their results and we can’t thank them enough,” said Stone.
Shelley Howard, executive director of the Campbell River Head Injury Support Society, said local news is especially important in the non-profit sector.
“Local news support can make a huge difference in the success of our fundraisers,” she said. “Local news is how we make a community stronger, more informed, and connected.”
Shelley Howard, executive director of the Campbell River Head Injury Support Society, reviewing the latest edition of the Mirror her office in Campbell River. David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
For Shaun Koopman, protective services coordinator for the Strathcona Regional District, local newspapers are trusted partners for circulating vital information about disaster preparedness.
He told the Mirror that local media are well-known among social scientists for transmitting crucial information from authorities during a crisis.
“Local print and broadcast media remain the most effective vehicles for the transmission of such disaster-based information to vulnerable communities, especially for those that have limited internet connectivity,” said Koopman.
And Stephen Watson, a spokesperson for BC Hydro, said that community newspapers help ensure the public receives key information about issues like power outages and major projects.
“It makes people and companies accountable,” Watson said.
Local politicians also weighed in about the value of local news, including Rachel Blaney, MP for the North Island-Powell River riding.
She noted that community reporting can trace the local impacts of activities that may be provincial, national or international in scope.
“It tells the stories of the community or communities in the region,” Blaney said.
Claire Trevena, North Island MLA and provincial minister of transport and infrastructure, formerly worked as a journalist.
She noted the importance of local reporting, and particularly stressed the value of investigative journalism for telling stories that otherwise go untold.
Locals who turn to the Mirror for their dose of local news include Mayor Andy Adams, shown here at his office at City Hall. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
“During National Newspaper Week, I applaud all journalists who try to shine a light in a dark place,” Trevena said.
Mayor Andy Adams, who is currently running unopposed for a second term in office, said he appreciates the presence of Mirror journalists at meetings of Campbell River city council and other events.
“For medium and rural-sized communities throughout British Columbia, the local newspapers and local media, whether it be radio or what have you, are really the connection to the community,” he said.
“It’s where people go to find out what’s going on.”