November 27, 2014
Newspapers Atlantic encourages members to start combing through their best work of the year and preparing their submissions for the upcoming 2015 Better Newspapers Competition. Member newspapers are invited to compete in the prestigious awards celebrating excellence in community media across Atlantic Canada.
Categories and criteria have been overhauled and revamped for 2015. New categories this year include Outstanding Online Innovation and Outstanding Community Engagement.
All standing finalists in the 2015 Better Newspapers Competition will receive one free night’s accommodation and ticket to the event.
The awards will be handed out on Saturday, April 25 in Halifax at the new Hilton Hotel. Start preparing your entries now!
The deadline for entering the 2015 Better Newspapers Competition is Friday, January 30, 2015.
Download 2015 BNC Criteria PDF
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November 19, 2014
For the last 45 years, my family has had the privilege of owning and operating Lighthouse Publishing. What began as an investment for my parents, Marg and Ralph Hennigar, in 1968 quickly turned into a labour of love. Growing up in the newspaper industry, there was no question this was where I wanted to be. Not just in this industry, but in the industry here, where I wanted to live, work and commit to making a difference.
In the past week, 86 per cent of Canadian adults have read a newspaper in print or on-line via desktop or mobile device.* That strong readership may be why all of us in the industry have been slow to recognize the impact of the Internet and social media on our business models. Canadian newspaper websites are accessed more often than TV, radio or magazines sites,** and yet there is still no business solution for a declining rate of subscriptions and advertising. No company has blazed the trail for the rest of us to follow.
So, last year around this time, it became clear to us at Lighthouse Media Group that if we were to survive blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and everything yet to come, we needed to figure out where we fit in this new media landscape and build our own path into the future. The status quo simply wasn’t an option.
It was also obvious that, as the president of the company, I was not equipped to find this path on my own. Our survival depended on the whole Lighthouse team collectively figuring out our next steps. While change is not new to the newspaper industry, the recent pace of change means there is no such thing as a long-term plan. However, we believe there is a purpose and a direction in which to go.
Back in the spring, for the first time in our history, the Lighthouse team got together on a Saturday to look into our future. We spent the day talking about where we were as a company and where we could or should go. Some people say a company is only as good as its people, and that’s certainly true for us. I left that meeting secure in the knowledge that our team would work together to build an exciting, innovative and long-lasting future for Lighthouse.
Over the months that followed, much has changed. We’ve worked hard to make improvements to our newspapers and have been working on many new digital initiatives. We created a large to-do list and have dug into the work.
Newspapers are unique businesses. We have two distinct customers – readers and advertisers – each dependent on the other for the newspaper to succeed. Additionally, we believe we have a broader responsibility to the communities we serve.
In our transition work, the most important piece for us was the “who are we” component. We articulated that a significant part of our responsibility as a community newspaper is to contribute to the community. The measure of our success isn’t simply profit; it also takes into account providing a positive return to society. This social entrepreneurship focus certainly isn’t true across our whole industry, but we believe it is essential to who we are at Lighthouse.
I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Lighthouse family that has continued to work together toward a company milestone next week. Their sacrifices and hard work have produced dramatic changes, and on November 26, you will see the results.
Next week is a new beginning for us – we will launch our new name, our new website and our new suite of products. We will present the refresh of our signature publications, the Progress Bulletin and the Log. We believe this rebrand and expansion of our product lines better reflects who we are as community supporters and as a vital source of local information and connection.
But this is just the beginning of great things to come. We are committed to the communities we serve and to continuing our evolution. Lighthouse isn’t going anywhere. We believe our long-time readers and new arrivals will appreciate our changes and want to be part of the future we are all building together.
Lighthouse intends to continue to be a leader, an employer and a valued part of the community. Check us out next week; we hope you love the “new” us as much as we do.
At the same time, your feedback is always welcome.
“In cities & towns where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper.”- Warren Buffett
* Newspapers Canada undertaken by Totum Research; Canadians 18+, any week, Nov. 2013
~ Lynn Hennigar
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November 12, 2014
TC•Media is launching Valley Now, a free weekly publication, on Nov. 12. Valley Now will offer even more community news to our readers.
“Valley Now features a number of community columnists who will provide insight on a wide range of topics of interest to our readers, “ says Jennifer Vardy Little, managing editor of the Western Nova Scotia news group. “It’s something completely different from what we offer in the Hants Journal, the Kings County Advertiser and Register and the Annapolis Spectator.”
While the regular weekly papers will continue to offer a wide range of coverage of news, sports and feature stories written by TC•Media journalists, Valley Now will give a voice to the community. Columns will include information on what’s happening with the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, tips from local firefighters and the local Regional Emergency Measures Organization, updates from the Kings Citizens’ Coalition, a bloom report from the Historic Gardens and tips on nutrition and gluten-free eating from Howard Selig with Flax Flour.
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