THE LAST NAIL IN THE COFFIN of the community newspaper industry has a name — COVID-19. Or, the virus might prove to be its salvation. It could go either way.
Several newspapers have put their survival in the hands of readers. On Wednesday, Kamloops This Week sent out a call for public donations. The previous Friday, the Sun Peaks Independent News did the same. According to both, the response has been encouraging.
The objective is to save their print editions, that old-fashioned style of newspapers that land on your doorstep or group mail box instead of your email in-basket. They’re swimming against a tide of shutdowns that’s accelerated along with the spread of the coronavirus.
Online editions and websites were once viewed as an add-on to publishing on newsprint; now, for many papers, they’re a last-gasp option for trying to remain viable. Unfortunately, they’ve never proven to be reliable money-makers.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.