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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!

A Process for Reader Complaints

Published on February 10, 2016, by in Uncategorized.


The BC and Yukon Community Newspapers Association requires its members join the National NewsMedia Council and display the organization’s logo prominently.

The National NewsMedia Council is a voluntary, self-regulatory body for the news media industry in Canada. It was established in 2015 with two main aims: to promote ethical practices within the news media industry and to serve as a forum for complaints against its members.

The Council represents the public and the media in matters concerning the democratic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media. The Council deals with matters concerning fairness of coverage, relevance, balance and accuracy.

For more information on the NNC, go to their website or call toll-free at 1-844-877-1163.

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Who Gets it Right? – In 2015, I Visited a Lot of Successful Papers

Published on February 3, 2016, by in Uncategorized.

By Kevin Slimp, The News Guru 




I’ve been training and advising newspapers for 21 years, ever since Larry Smith asked me to come look over his operation in LaFollette, Tennessee back in 1994. I worked with more than 100 papers in my travels this year, not counting the thousands of papers that attended conferences and training events I led.

That’s a lot of years and a lot of papers, and in that time I’ve come to recognize the traits that correlate with success. I don’t have to spend very long at a newspaper office to tell you how they’re doing in terms of circulation, readership, ad sales and profits. No one has to tell me. There are qualities that lead to successful newspapers, and without them it’s a good bet that there are some problems in one or more of those four areas.

I could have listed fifty newspapers in this column, because I ran into a lot of papers that are doing things right in 2015. And it’s showing in their numbers. Due to space limitations, here are a few that stood out in my memory:

The Community News & The Wellington Advertiser: Fergus, Ontario.

I spent two days with the staff of this community paper located 45 minutes from Toronto. It didn’t take me long to realize that this group does a lot right.

Dave Adsett is one of my heroes. Cutting isn’t in his vocabulary, and while other papers in his area have cut pages and staff, leading to decreasing circulation, Dave’s papers have done the opposite, with the opposite results.

Here’s what Dave told me: “We make a good living and are interested in the long game, rather than managing by a month or quarter. We have also continued to hire staff and grow our business, as opposed to making cuts to achieve bottom line results.”

The Standard Banner: Jefferson City, Tennessee

“The work ethic of our staff and their dedication to excellence are the two keys to our success,” Dale Gentry told me, as we discussed the secrets to his newspaper’s success. “We work hard to cover, and serve, our community well – whether it’s in the quality of our writing and photography, the effectiveness of our ads, the excellence of our final printed product, or the service we provide to readers and customers.”

The Piedmont Shopper: Danville, Virginia

I got to know the folks in Danville after receiving a frantic call about ads printing wrong. It took a little geographic magic, but I made the six-hour journey to Danville on my way to Minneapolis, where I was speaking the next day at a convention. Kathy Crumpton is the publisher of The Piedmont Shopper. She explains their success like this: “Over the past 15 years, we’ve been blessed to establish relationships with our readers and advertisers that go beyond newsprint. That relationship with our community led us to see the need for our other publications: a monthly paper delivered to all public and private schools, free to the students and staff, and Red Bird Times, which serves the other end of our readership spectrum, and is enjoyed by seniors 50 and ‘wiser’. No matter which of our publications you pick up, you’ll find the same commitment to serving our community.”

Hmm. I’m starting to notice a trend among successful newspapers with that serving community thing.

Sauk Centre Herald: Sauk Centre, Minnesota

I considered several newspapers in Minnesota for this column, but limited myself to two. One is the Sauk Centre Herald. You might remember the column I wrote about my experience with Dave’s staff while visiting in November.

Dave had this to say about the Herald: “Respect is a key word for us: Respect for readers, advertisers, staff and competitors. We’ve always embraced technology and innovation. We try to tell the human drama, which can be many things from tragic deaths to losing the state high school basketball game to funny stories from an old timer or a hog that escaped the meat packing plant and ran down Main Street.”

Dave’s staff is larger than many daily papers I visit, and the payoff is seen in their success. Large readership base, quality journalism and success in the bottom line. That seems to be another quality that correlates with success at newspapers: Rather than cutting staff to the bone, they seem to maintain their staffs, leading to greater readership and ad sales.

Hood County News: Granbury, Texas

Every so often, I’m invited to visit Granbury, Texas, a town of roughly 10,000 folks located just southwest of Fort Worth. It was in Granbury that I trained the first newspapers outside of Tennessee to use the PDF method to print their pages 20 years ago.

It’s no surprise that newspapers like Hood County News are successful. As you walk throughout the building, you sense the pride the staff takes in putting out a good newspaper. It’s local. All local.

Publisher Jerry Tidwell has always believed in quality, and brings in trainers and experts on a regular basis. It shows. Unlike some papers, the building isn’t near-empty. There’s a lot going on. And it all starts with the publisher.

Interesting. That’s another quality that seems to correlate with successful papers: An engaged publisher who knows and cares about his/her community and staff.


Kanabec County Times: Mora, Minnesota

I’ve liked Wade Weber, publisher, since I first met him years ago, when he invited me to train the staffs of his papers in Central Minnesota. Since then, his papers have grown, and so have his staffs. In addition to his paper in Mora, Wade has publications in Pine City, Cambridge, White Bear Lake and Grantsburg, as well as the Amery Free Press in Northwestern Wisconsin.

There’s no feel of “centralization” in Wade’s papers. He told me, “Even though we are a group of newspapers, each location focuses on its own community. We are very focused on being local, in both advertising and in news content.”

Hmm. There’s that “local” thing again. I’m starting to believe that really does make a difference.

I could have mentioned so many other papers. The Akron (Iowa) Hometowner, for example, or the Cresco (Iowa) Shopper. I wouldn’t normally mention a pure shopper in my list, but Peggy and John Loveless keep a real community focus to their publication. As John told me about a major national newspaper group that offered him a tidy sum for his paper, I was so inspired when he said, “I didn’t want it to lose the community feel.”

I was also inspired in 2015 by a new generation of publishers and newspapers. Mark Fortune comes to mind, starting a successful new weekly in Ohio. There’s Michelle Van Hee, who publishes the newspaper in Madelia, Minnesota. The list could go on.

There are a lot of newspapers out there doing things right. Due to space limitations, I’ll stop there. But believe me, this list could go on for several pages.

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Community News in Today’s Digital World

Published on February 3, 2016, by in Uncategorized.



Community newspapers will always have a role in the media landscape due to their dedication to producing original content, according to Frank Bucholtz – the recently retired, but long-time editor of the Langley Times.

Small dailies close up shop all the time, but community newspaper content remains in high demand. Why? Because countless online outlets rely on them for story ideas.

Journalists who work for networks that also post stories to their websites or online-only publications – like Buzz Feed and The Huffington Post – often find themselves aggregating content mined from community newspapers.

“There is no substitute for old-fashioned digging,” Bucholtz writes on his blog, “Frankly Speaking”. “That’s why I’ve long felt that locally-focused community newspapers will still have a role to play in gathering news and getting information out.”

Stories that appear in community newspapers come from original research and interviews done by dedicated journalists who genuinely care about sharing information with their readers.

If community newspapers cease to exist, many web-based publications that rely on their content would too. Or, they would need to start writing a lot more original stories.

But Bucholtz says he can’t see that happening any time soon.

“Community newspapers offer reliable information, gathered by talented reporters, editors and photographers, which people can use,” he says. “The information they publish is about our own backyards, our neighbourhoods and our cities. This information has always been valuable, and I can’t see Google, Facebook, YouTube, the Huffington Post or Vice bothering to gather it.”

Unlike their daily relatives, community newspapers also have a diversified and more stable economic model that doesn’t rely as heavily on circulation revenue. This allows them to stay afloat despite declining subscriptions, according to Bucholtz.

He says that while these newspapers might never be as profitable as they were a decade ago, they will always have a place in society.

“People want information more than ever,” Bucholtz says.

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Award Entries Flood Association Office

Ma Murray Awards copy

The BCYCNA has received almost 1,600 entries for this year’s Ma Murray Awards.

We are now busy sorting through your wonderful work and preparing it for the judges.

Finalists will be announced during the first week of March, so stay tuned for more exciting information!

We can’t wait to see you at the gala on Saturday, May 7.


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How to Ooze Credibility

Published on February 3, 2016, by in Uncategorized.

By John Foust,
Raleigh NC

John Foust Column

Perry is the marketing manager for a real estate company. I had an interesting conversation with him about his experiences in dealing with different media sales people. “My all-time favorite is Brenda, who works with our local paper,” he said. “She oozes credibility.”

Perry went on to say that the strategy of most advertising sales people is to dump a bucket of data on him. “I’ve met with them all,” he said, “broadcast, print, online, outdoor, you name it. They come in here with their spreadsheets and their slick brochures. And they give their canned sales pitches on how their company is the best place in the world to advertise. Their pitches are pretty much the same.”

Brenda is not like the others, he explained. “She is a walking encyclopedia of advertising. She knows as much about her competitors’ products as she knows about her own. When we talk, I don’t feel like she is trying to make a sale. She’s just addressing my current concerns with information on how to use available resources. I trust her judgment completely.”

Brenda is like veteran sportswriters who collect details about games and athletes. Even if they don’t cover football, they can tell you who won last year’s championships. They can tell you who won back-to-back World Series in 1992-93. They can tell you the differences in the playing fields in the NFL and CFL. And they can tell how many majors Jack Nicklaus won in his career. That’s credibility.

It’s also a sign of credibility to know where to find answers. If those sportswriters don’t know an answer, they know where to look.

Perry trusts Brenda, because she “oozes credibility.” Isn’t that what advertising sales should be about? If you want to sell something, you first have to win trust. And a good way to build trust is to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Learn your company’s product. Of course, it’s important to learn all you can about your product. But don’t let it become your only topic of conversation. You don’t want the Perrys in your market to complain that you are dumping buckets of data on them.

2. Learn advertising in general. What are your prospect’s primary media choices? What are the implications of total market coverage? What is the importance of reach and frequency? What is pay-per-click advertising? By percentage breakdown, where do different age groups get their news? What is search engine optimization? What is native advertising? What benefits are your competitors selling? How does co-op advertising work?

3. Learn industry specifics. What types of campaigns work best in your client’s specific industry? Are they impacted by the thin market? Who are the marketing superstars in their industry – and why are they so highly regarded? What were the results from your client’s previous marketing efforts? How did your paper figure into those results?

Learning is the key to credibility. And credibility is a cornerstone in selling.

(c) Copyright 2016 by John Foust. All rights reserved.

John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. E-mail for information:


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Calling All Sponsors

Published on December 21, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

Calling all sponsors


We’ve been working to secure sponsors for several months and would like to thank returning presenting sponsors BCLC, Catalyst, Glacier Media, and TD Bank Group as well as our brand new presenting sponsor Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

We’d also like to thank our award sponsors: BC Care Providers Association, the Black Family, Eclipse Awards, HUB International, Kamloops This Week, New Car Dealers Association of BC, Port Metro Vancouver, River Rock Casino Resort, SafeCare BC, TELUS, Thompson Rivers University, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC.

Many organizations are still confirming their sponsorship. The BCYCNA also welcomes suggestions for new sponsors that could benefit from a relationship with the association or by attending the gala.

Please contact the BCYCNA office if you have any ideas. We appreciate your help!

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Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association in Search of Judges

Published on December 21, 2015, by in Uncategorized.


Please find a message from our friends at the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association below; they are looking for judges for their Better Newspapers Competition. If you are interested, please contact them directly.


The Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association is currently seeking judges for our 2016 Better Newspaper Competition.

Judging contributions are invaluable to our awards program. We would appreciate your consideration in being a judge for one or more of the below categories.

I hope to have the entries sent out by mid-January and to have them back by mid February 2016.

Please let me know if you are able to help and which category/categories you would like.

Premier Awards
• Best Agricultural Coverage, Series of Stories
• Best Business Writing
• Best Tourism Story or Series of Stories
• Best First Nations Coverage
• Best Feature Story
• Best Health/Healthcare Coverage, Single Story or Feature
• Best Health/Healthcare Coverage, Series of Stories
• Best Habitat Conservation Writing

General Excellence Awards
• Class B – Circulation between 1,200 – 1,999
• Class C – Circulation between 2,000 – 3,499
• Class D – Circulation between – 3,500 – 6,499
• Class E – Circulation over 6,500

Please contact: Nicole Nater, SWNA, 306-649-1405 or for details.

Thank you for your consideration.

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OCNA Calls for Competition Judges

Published on December 21, 2015, by in Uncategorized.



We would like to remind BCYCNA members that the Ontario Community Newspaper Association is in need of judges for the 2015 Better Newspapers Competition.

Please see the below message from Karen Shardlow at the OCNA.


The Ontario Community Newspapers Association is currently seeking judges for our 2015 Better Newspapers Competition. If you are interested, please contact Karen Shardlow at or 905-639-8720 Ext 4432.

Judging contributions are invaluable to our awards program. Without judges, we would have no awards program!!

Please consider supporting weekly community newspapers in Ontario as they strive to be the best they can be!

The entry deadline for the 2015 awards is October 31st, 2015.
Judging will begin now and must be completed no later than January 22nd, 2016.
Finalists will be listed in alphabetical order on our website on February 14th, 2016.
Winners will be announced at our Awards Gala Dinner on Friday, April 22nd, 2016.

The following is a list of available categories:

General Excellence, Class 6 (circ 22,500 to 44,999)
Arts and Entertainment
Best Business & Finance Story
Best Feature/News Series, circ under 9,999
Columnist of the Year
Reporter of the Year
Best Vertical Product
Best Creative Ad
In House Promotion
Original Ad Idea
Salesperson of the Year
Best Community Website, circ over 10,000
Online Special Project/Event/Breaking News Coverage

General Excellence and Best Vertical Product will be couriered out to each judge.
Premier categories are judged online through our Better Newspaper Contest Website.
Complete instructions will be forwarded with the judging package.

We thank you for your consideration, and hope to work with you in the future.


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New National Press Council for Journalists and the Public

Published on December 21, 2015, by in Uncategorized.

New National Press Council

The BCYCNA would like to remind its members that The National NewsMedia Council is now up and running.

The new council represents the successful union of the Ontario Press Council, the Atlantic Press Council and the British Columbia Press Council and was constituted officially on September 1, 2015.

“Newspapers and magazines serve the public and it is the public, first and foremost, who need to have confidence that this industry-supported agency is working to protect its best interests,” said John Fraser, the organization’s inaugural President and CEO. “At the same time, the news media industry is in tremendous transition and we have an important role to play in assuring that this transition includes the very best standards of journalism.”

For more information about the new council, we encourage you to visit the organization’s website. You can also like the council on Facebook.

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Don’t Forget to Send Us your Ma Murray Entries

Published on December 21, 2015, by in Uncategorized.


Call for Entries

The BCYCNA started accepting entries for the 2016 Ma Murray Awards on December 9.

We can’t wait to see the wonderful work our members produced in 2015 and encourage everyone to submit their entries early.

The BCYCNA has hosted the awards for almost a century and will continue to recognize the accomplishments of the community newspaper industry through 45 different awards.

The submission process is done entirely online (with the exception of the Newspaper Excellence and Special Publications categories, which must also be submitted in hard copy form).

Award categories, contest rules, frequently asked questions, official entry forms, judging criteria, newspaper excellence circulation categories, as well as instructions on how to use the online system are available on the association’s website.

The deadline to submit entries is January 18, 2016 at 9:00pm, giving members an extra week to compile their work.

We will announce finalists in early March and present winners with their awards at the gala on May 7 at the River Rock Casino Resort.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing everyone at the gala!

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