You get a real measure of a community by how people come together to help.
In our May 30 edition, we at Beach Metro News put out a call for help, that our business model – like so many in the mainstream media before us – had been disrupted.
When you make an appeal like that, for the first time in more than four decades, you have no idea how it’s going to go over with your readers.
How much support do we really have? Will this alienate people?
Well, to put it bluntly, we’re overwhelmed.
You started filling out the voluntary subscription forms online and sending them in. Hundreds of you, in fact.
Then, a couple of days later, the postman arrived with a pile of envelopes. And those envelopes keep coming.
The total so far is well into the thousands of dollars.
What can we say? Let’s start with “Thank you!”
We always knew we had a passionate readership. A local clientele. It’s what attracts our advertisers.
We know we’re blessed with an army of volunteers who get the paper out every two weeks. And, of course, a staff dedicated to filling the Beach Metro News with the stories and features you enjoy.
But asking people to dig into their pockets is a whole new level of commitment.
What’s really boosted our staff has been the wonderful notes that have come with the contributions – readers encouraging us to “keep up the good work” and “stay calm and carry on”, letting us know that the “local focus” and “quality of our news coverage” is “essential to anyone in the Beach.”
“Beach Metro News is the community nexus for news and the conduit through which people learn about programs and services and community issues. Many people and organizations claim to have the pulse of the community but the Beach Metro News is its heart,” Bob wrote in a letter to the editor and comment on our website, calling us a “community treasure.”
But we’re also not sitting still hoping your help will be enough. On June 8, at our AGM, a new board of directors for Beach Metro was elected. Debbie Visconti takes over the president’s chair, while Desmond Brown is the new face on our board. Our wonderful treasurer Doug Black has been re-elected, while Bill Burrows moves to vice-president. We have also brought back longtime Beach Metro editor Carole Stimmell to join Paul Babich as a special advisor.
Our board is determined to keep working hard to find ways to make this paper viable for our neighbourhood for the long term.
We’ll be watching developments in Ottawa closely as Heritage Minister Melanie Joly examines recommendations a standing committee submitted to her recommending the Canada Periodical fund be expanded to include free community newspapers.
We anticipate we’re going to need your help going forward, too, and hope we can count on you to continue your voluntary subscriptions and support.
Rob Granatstein is past president of the Beach Metro News board of directors.