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Welcome to the official blog of the British Columbia and Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA).

We look forward to sharing stories from across our network of news providers, as well as articles, links, and announcements from industry friends everywhere. Be sure to check this space often for BCYCNA updates, and to offer your feedback on community newspapers!

BCYCNA Ma Murray Awards – Announcing the 2015 Finalists!

Published on February 23, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Ma-Murray-2015-finalist-announced-headerThis is such an exciting time of year in the BCYCNA office. Award entries poured in and were sent straight back out to judges… Then judges’ decisions poured in, and now the day has arrived that we can share their top picks with you!

So, let’s skip the small talk and take you straight to the good stuff. Click here to go straight to our updated awards page to see this year’s finalists. Congratulations to everyone!!

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Member Profile: Jim Coulter

Published on December 5, 2014, by in Uncategorized.


jim coulter cropped

Name:  Jim Coulter 

What’s your job: Publisher of Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows News 

Years in the newspaper business: 27 – first job in the business was in Kamloops in July of 1987 – not counting my paper route in the 1960′s.

What do you love about the newspaper business: I like the relationships you form with your clientele, the profile one enjoys in the community and the ability you have to affect positive change in the community you serve.

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What’s Going on in the Industry – December 2014

Published on December 5, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

BCYCNA Recognized for Environmental Contributions

This Fall, the BCYCNA was awarded an Environmental Recognition Award for our involvement and leadership in the RethinkitBC coalition. The coalition was formed to educate the public and businesses through various media about Extended Producer Responsibility Programs and their impact on our communities and our everyday life.

Peter Kvarnstrom of Glacier Media was on hand to accept the Terry Biggar Award from Corinne Atwood, Executive Director of the BC Bottle and Recycling Depot Association.

Peter K receiving award

Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association – February Symposium

Register now for the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association’s annual Newspaper Symposium, taking place Friday, February 13 and Saturday, February 14 at the Radisson Hotel Edmonton South

The cost to register is $175 plus GST. If you register five people, the sixth registration is FREE.  The registration fee includes all sessions – Friday and Saturday – Friday’s banquet; Saturday’s breakfast and coffee breaks.  Saturday’s lunch is extra (optional).

The line up of speakers are: Kevin Slimp, Amie Stein, John Hatcher and Lyle Aspinall.

For more information or to register, please contact Maurizia Hinse at or 780-434-8746 ext 225.


Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association – Seeking Judges for 2015 Better Newspaper Competition

Are you interested in serving as a judge for one of our sister associations’ Better Newspaper Competitions? If so, our friends in Saskatchewan could use your help.

The following categories need judges:

Best Special Section, Best Agriculture Coverage Single Story or Feature, Best Agriculture Coverage Series of Stories, Editorial Writing Excellence, Columnist of the Year, Best Business Writing, Best First Nations Coverage, Best Feature Story, Best Habitat Conservation Writing

Please contact Nicole Nater at the SWNA at or 306-649-1405 if you are interested.

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Upcoming Holiday Deadlines!

Published on December 5, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Attention Classifieds and Display departments:

Please note the following early deadlines for the holiday season!

Deadlines for ads running the week of December 22:

In Atlantic Canada: Monday, Dec.15 at 12:00 noon
In Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec: Tuesday, Dec.16 at 10:00am
In BC/Yukon: Tuesday, Dec.16 at 12:00 noon

Deadlines for ads running the week of December 29:

In Atlantic Canada: Monday, Dec.15 at 12:00 noon (ads will be combined with week of Dec.22 so don’t book both weeks)
In Ontario and Quebec: Tuesday, Dec.16 at 10:00am (ads will be combined with week of Dec.22)
In Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba: Thursday, Dec.18 at 10:00am
In BC/Yukon: Tuesday, Dec.16 at 12:00 noon (ads will be combined with week of Dec.22 so don’t book both weeks)

Deadlines for ads running the week of January 5:

In Atlantic Canada: Tuesday, Dec.16 at 12:00 noon
In Saskatchewan and Manitoba: Thursday, Dec.18 at 10:00am (ads will be combined with week of Dec.29 so don’t book both weeks)
In Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec: Monday, Dec.29 at 4:00pm
In BC/Yukon: Tuesday, Dec.30 at 12:00 noon

Deadlines for ads running the week of January 12:

All back to normal.

The BCYCNA office will be open as follows:

Monday, December 22: 9am-5pm
Tuesday, December 23: 9am-5pm
Wednesday, December 24: closed
Thursday, December 25: closed
Friday, December 26: closed
Monday, December 29: 9am-5pm
Tuesday, December 30: 9am-5pm
Wednesday, December 31: closed
Thursday, January 1: closed
Friday, January 2: closed

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Published on December 5, 2014, by in Uncategorized.


The 2015 Ma Murray Awards competition was launched last week and the online entry system is now open for entries!

Visit the contest website at to upload all your finest work from 2014.

If you’re not sure how the online system works, a step-by-step guide is available here.

The deadline for entries is Wednesday, January 14, 2015, and we will announce finalists in mid- to late-February.

If you are among the finalists, you will be treated to a free ticket to attend the event AND a free night’s stay at the River Rock so that you can accept your award in person.

The 2015 BCYCNA Ma Murray Awards Gala is presented by Coast Capital Savings, and will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, BC.

Winners and runners-up will be announced in 45 award categories, and we’ll celebrate with dinner, drinks, entertainment, music, dancing, and one heck of a party.

Get all the details here. And if you have any questions, please contact the BCYCNA office:


T: 604-248-4207

Toll-free: 1-866-669-9222

Good luck!!

PS don’t forget that the deadline for the national CCNA competition is on Friday, January 30, so why not collect those entries at the same time! If you want more information about the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, click here.

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Turn Something Old Into Something New

Published on November 3, 2014, by in Uncategorized.


By John Foust
Raleigh, NC

Sometimes the best way to come up with a new idea is to look to the past. When I was in the ad agency business, I once did an ad for a construction equipment distributor to celebrate their 65 years in business. Since most anniversary ads are of the cookie cutter “congratulations to us” variety, I wanted to do something stronger – something that would be relevant to their audience.

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I’m Not Dead Yet!

Published on October 28, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 11.07.23 AM

Kelli Bultena, publisher of Tea (SD) Weekly, sent me a link to a column titled, “The Bad News About the News,” in the October 16, 2014 edition of The Brookings Essay. The essay was written by Robert G. Kaiser, former editor of The Washington Post.

Hank Bond, co-publisher of The Greenup Beacon (Russell KY), wrote last week to ask me a pointed question, “You keep writing about people saying that newspapers are dying. I don’t hear it. Who are they?”

Well, Hank, here’s another one to add to the list of about a dozen or so I sent you last week and those were off the top of my head. As Hank would probably attest, he finally said, “Enough,” after I’d rattled off the list in just a few seconds.

Mr. Kaiser wrote several things in his essay that caught my attention, but this sentence stood out: “One immediate effect of all these changes and cutbacks is that there’s no paper in America today that can offer the same coverage of its city, suburbs, and state that it provided 20 or even 10 years ago, and scores of city halls and state legislatures get virtually no coverage by any substantive news organizations.

I called Victor Parkins, publisher of the Milan (TN) Mirror-Exchange, just now and asked if that was true of his paper. “I think we cover it better. I would like for him to come to Milan, Tennessee, and see how we do it. I would love to let him go through my binders from ten years ago. Using digital technology gives us so many more contacts with our readers, and we use that as another tool in our arsenal.”

I feel quite certain I could have called a hundred other publishers and gotten similar quotes, but I’m guessing you get the point. Which leads me to my next question: Why would Mr. Kaiser write this essay in the first place?

If you’ve been reading my columns for very long, you know I don’t take much at face value. I like to dig a little. Because, as a good journalist learns over time, it’s in the digging that the truth comes out. And if you go all the way to the end of the column, which is quite lengthy in its attempt to add another scoop of dirt on print journalism’s grave, you pick up this kernel which goes a long way toward answering my question. I’ll quote it, so I don’t get it wrong: “He is the author or co-author of eight books, including The News About The News, American Journalism in Peril, written with Leonard Downie Jr.”

Remember what I wrote in a column last year about believing experts? It went something like this: “I don’t care if you’re watching a politician on TV, listening to your Sunday School teacher, or in the audience, listening to an expert speak at a newspaper convention, I want you to ask yourself this question: ‘What will this expert gain if I believe what he or she is saying?’”




Perhaps Mr. Kaiser will sell a few more books.

If I might borrow a musical term, that seems a natural segue to my next topic: the survey of 612 publishers completed in October 2014. In my last column, I shared interesting information concerning the use of social media in newspapers and the effect social media has on newspapers’ bottom lines.

Today I’d like to see what publishers have to say about Mr. Kaiser’s topic. Specifically, I’d like to know if there is “no paper in America today” that can offer the same coverage that it did 10 years ago.

Question 15 in the survey of North American publishers asked: “What changes have you made in recent years to keep your product(s) viable?”

Boy howdy, did we get answers. How about this response: 56 percent of respondents answered that there is more emphasis on hyperlocal/local news than a few years ago.

Hmmm. But Mr. Kaiser wrote, “no paper in America today…” I’m sorry. I’m digressing.

A whopping 60 percent report that they’ve invested in increased quality in production and design,47 percent have invested in improved photography and 36 percent report they have invested in printing improvements.

Finally, drum roll please, 14 percent have increased the size of their staff.

Hmmm. Yes, but.

One could argue that these are weekly papers. Obviously, Mr. Kaiser was writing about daily papers, though he never mentioned that in his column. Well, maybe. Maybe not. Thanks to technology, I can divide the survey responses by newspaper type. Guess what? 11 percent of daily newspapers reported that they’ve increased their staff size over the past few years.

People really should be more careful when they make broad pronouncements like that. It’s like the time the dean of that world-renowned journalism school told me he believed there would not be one newspaper in business in the United States by 2018. In all fairness, he still has a little over three years to prove me wrong about that one.

So there you have it: according to a survey of 612 (we quit accepting responses at 612) newspaper publishers, there seems to be at least one newspaper that isn’t fitting into Mr. Kaiser’s scenario.

And, just so you know, that survey is not for sale.

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Our Democracy and How it Functions

One of the benefits of your BCYCNA membership is all of the connections that it brings. Our friends over at Newspapers Atlantic forwarded us the following information to share with BCYCNA members.

The team at Lighthouse Media in Nova Scotia have put together an editorial package on Canada’s democracy, and how it functions. This is a well-researched and thought-provoking package that you can brand to your paper, and even sell ads in. With 20 pages of editorial, plus a quiz and answers, you can run this as a weekly feature or as a special section.

Buy the whole package for your paper for $550 (only $25 per page)!

For more information, please contact the Lighthouse Media Group at


Lighthouse Media Democracy Flyer



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Fall Webinar Series at Newspapers Canada


Did you know that as a member of BCYCNA, you are also automatically a member of Newspapers Canada? And did you know that Newspapers Canada offers an ongoing series of professional development webinars that are both valuable and relevant to community newspapers?

At one hour in length, these webinars cover a variety of subjects for all departments. Registration is done online and there is a nominal fee.

The current training season features seven brand new educational presentations covering a variety of subjects for all newspaper departments including management, editorial, marketing, advertising sales, circulation and more.

Two of the webinars have already taken place, but upcoming sessions focus specifically on newspaper promotion, youth engagement, news feature photography, and photo essays – all coming up over the next six weeks.

Newspapers and individuals can purchase a subscription package for the complete series or register for individual presentations at a cost of $25.00 per session.

Please visit for more information and to register. If you have specific questions, please contact Tina Ongkeko at



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Survey Responses Show Glimpse into the State of Newspapers

Published on October 8, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

Screen shot 2014-09-08 at 11.07.23 AM

This column is dedicated to anyone who publishes, writes, edits, designs, sells ads for, delivers or does anything else in the newspaper industry. You might remember that last month I mentioned a survey I’ve been doing of newspaper publishers in the United States and Canada. It’s been three weeks and, so far, more than 600 publishers have taken part in the survey. Requests to complete the survey were sent out by most newspaper associations in both countries. In addition, I sent out requests to publishers in areas where associations didn’t send out a request, so we could get an accurate idea of how things are going in our industry.

My guess, knowing that many publishers manage multiple titles, is that somewhere around 20 percent of the publishers in these countries completed the in-depth survey. That’s a pretty amazing response.

To assist in keeping the results valid, I set up the survey in such a way that only one submission would be accepted from a particular IP address. This meant that answers from only one respondent at each location would be accepted, keeping the results from being skewed.

We’re nowhere near ready to release the results, but later in this column, I’d like to share some interesting responses to the survey. I’ve gathered a group of industry and non-industry experts to sift through the results. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging through the responses to learn what is really going on in newspapers.

A little about the respondents:

• 17 percent report their primary product is a free paper

• Coincidentally, 17 percent of responses came from daily newspaper publishers and 83 percent from non-daily newspapers.

• Not surprisingly, since most newspapers are situated in small towns and rural communities, 63 percent of survey participants come from those areas. Most of the remaining respondents came from large and mid-size metro areas.

Over the next few weeks, our group will be sifting through the responses and making notes about answers we find particularly interesting or helpful. Once we’ve had a chance to go through the answers thoroughly, I will begin sharing the information in this column and at conferences. I’m already scheduled to speak on this topic at conventions throughout Canada and the U.S. in early 2015, so chances are I will be near you at some point.

Over the past two weeks, I was able to share a couple of findings from the survey at conferences in Arizona and Indiana. Audience members were enthusiastic about the information, and many caught me afterwards or wrote me later to discuss the survey.


Some findings related to income at newspapers are simple enough to report, since they came in the form of answers to multiple choice questions. Take this one:

“For those whose primary product is paid, what percentage of your total revenue is derived from your digital/online version(s) of your primary product (through subscriptions and advertising revenue)?”

While 21 percent of publishers answered “zero” to that question, another 49 percent answered “between one and five percent” of their revenue came from these sources. Most of the remaining respondents reported between five and ten percent of their total revenue came from digital sources.

That indicates that 70 percent of newspapers receive very little, if any, revenue from the digital side of things. Contrast that with the number of papers that invest in social and digital media, which is relatively high (86 percent), and you begin to notice some interesting phenomena.

In future columns, I hope to examine in detail responses to questions about how newspapers foresee the future. A quick glance at the survey tells me that 64 percent of publishers, when answering the question, “How true is the following statement of your newspaper: My newspaper is profitable and will be for years to come,” responded that the statement is true. Another 25 percent answered that their paper is profitable, but they can’t predict the future. Ten percent report that they are having a tough year this year.

Well, there you have it. My first column related to my survey of 600 plus newspaper publishers. To be honest, it’s a bit overwhelming to look over the all the responses, many of which were essay questions, and not feel a responsibility to get the information out as quickly as possible. Still, it’s going to take some time to sift through all the answers and learn what is really on the minds of our industry leaders.

I can’t wait to share comments from publishers who were given an open forum to share their thoughts about our industry and their advice for the future. This is going to be an interesting ride.

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