BCYCNA President’s note: This majority of this column by Vernon Morning Star editor Glenn Mitchell appeared in his paper for its 26th anniversary. Glenn is a long-time community newspaper editor and a respected person in our industry. I felt his comments here were relevant to our industry and our membership. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. I would also love to hear your feedback on this column or any issue you feel is important to our association.
Read All About It
By Glenn Mitchell
Morning Star Editor
On this occasion of The Morning Star’s 26th anniversary I have to share a story of how much has changed in the newspaper industry.
Actually I’m going to go way back to when I was a youngster in Vernon and delivering The Vancouver Sun on my green Mustang bike to the 25 or 30 people spread out over East Hill and the BX.
You see The Sun was an afternoon paper in Vancouver in the ‘70s (basically no such thing as an afternoon paper anymore) and then it was trucked up to the Interior where it became a morning paper, as in the next day’s paper. So, I got up early every day, six days a week, to deliver yesterday’s news to my customers (which meant I had to deliver on holidays like Christmas because it was the Christmas Eve paper etc.).
Although daily newspapers were bigger then and sometimes the only source of national and international news, can you imagine people paying for that service today? When if it isn’t on the Web in 15 minutes or less it’s no longer considered ‘breaking news.’ I might be exaggerating slightly.
My point is, thanks to technology, everything’s a lot faster these days and the expectations on most industries aren’t far behind and we do our best to fulfill our duties online and in print best we can.
We still get the news to the community, we just do it in a variety of ways, from newsprint to the Web, to Twitter to Facebook to…..
And thanks to digital technology we can do that better, and faster of course, than ever before. I remember when The Morning Star started, the only way we could publish colour photos in the paper was to get separations done in Kelowna, which was at least a two-day turnaround, and which also meant front page photos were planned and not exactly timely or newsworthy.
However, what hasn’t changed around here are some of the talented people who still work very hard to bring an award-winning newspaper to our North Okanagan readers three times a week. I still like the paper product the best and I know I’m not alone (check any bulletin board at a school or orthodontist office near you, or even your favourite coffee shop) – long live newspapers.
Creative consultant Deb Moore and I just celebrated 25 years with Black Press and senior reporter Richard Rolke and marketing consultant Lynnaya Filbrandt are on the verge of their silver anniversaries here at The Morning Star.
It’s dedication and experience like this, and represented by so many others here at the paper and the press plant, that helps us to keep on top of things around these parts and brings our readers a community newspaper that we hope everyone appreciates.
Some think that newspapers will one day be the victims of the Internet, kind of like video rental outlets or record stores, but the comparisons are not valid for various reasons (and, personally I’m cheering on the recent revival of the vinyl record as I still have all mine from my youth and play them regularly, and get this, my 19-year-old son is buying them and playing them too).
No. 1, the community newspaper gets delivered to your door, often for free, along with your favourite retail outlet’s weekly flyer, in a nice, neat package that’s portable, transferable to everyone in the house, and entirely recyclable (no batteries or plug-in required).
How great a deal is that? What comes to your door these days, for free? The mail, you say, not for long.
Certainly the Web has had a profound impact on newspapers, especially dailies, and is an important component, as is Facebook and Twitter and whatever else comes down the pike in the future, in communicating with our readers and offering value to our advertisers.
They say the printing press was the most important invention of the last millennium, and it’s very likely the Internet (in some shape or form) will have a similar impact on this one.
And guess what? We get to utilize these two modern miracles on a daily basis as we reach out and communicate with our communities and tell their stories via print, photographs, videos, Website, Facebook…..
How cool is that? The best of the old and the best of the new combined into one vital vehicle that’s here to record history on the run as well as help lead our respective communities into the ever-changing future.
So thanks to all the readers and advertisers for their incredible support over the years and here’s to enjoying whatever the future, technologically and otherwise, may bring our way in the North Okanagan and throughout British Columbia.