By SUSAN LEGGE
A little over a year ago when I started at Beach Metro News my plan was to bring in new voices and look for creative ways to save money. Our non-profit community newspaper was in dire need of some tweaks to its business model to keep it afloat.
We accomplished this goal by creating student reporter internship opportunities through the Journalism program at Centennial College in East York, retaining local freelance journalists and photographers, making the role of publisher a voluntary position, and recruiting a new editor, Alan Shackleton.
During these changes, the team at BMN went the extra mile and continues to be resilient. Today, thanks to them, our loyal readers, advertisers and much-loved columnists, we’re in the black.
“Things are going smoothly and the paper has stabilized. For the first time in a while we’re moving in a positive direction,” said Debbie Visconti, who just completed two terms as president of the BMN board. “Our financial losses are way down compared to last year.”
At a board meeting earlier this month, it was determined that we would reach out to the community as we have done in the past and ask our readers to consider a voluntary subscription to Beach Metro News.
To do this, please go to beachmetro.com or mail us the form on page 31 with your donation. To be clear, you will continue to receive the newspaper whether you subscribe or not, and you can continue to pick us up at all the same places — this is a voluntary subscription request only.
Since 1972, Beach Metro News has counted on a strong group of volunteers to help us get the newspaper to your doorstep. Thanks to you, we reach more than 25,000 locations throughout the Beach and east Toronto area. If you’re not receiving the paper, please let us know — and if you, or someone you know, is willing to take on a route please give us a call.
Local media is an important and much-needed institution. In the months ahead, watch for special election coverage of the candidates running in your area. We’re also planning a town hall candidates meeting in September.
I want to thank past-president Debbie Visconti for trusting us with the changes we’ve implemented over the last year. I also want to thank Tim Doyle, the Professor and Programs Co-ordinator for the Centennial College Journalism program and the faculty who worked with us, and of course, the students themselves. They have been doing a terrific job covering the news in our community.
Moving forward, we’re happy to announce we’re working on some new initiatives, including a soon-to-be-launched digital newsletter. Sign up now at beachmetro.com using your email address and we’ll send the latest Beach Metro News headlines right to your inbox.
In my first column in May of last year I said that no other media has the ability to engage with its residents and keep local democracy alive like a community newspaper.
Let’s keep this one going for the generations to come.
Susan Legge is volunteer publisher of Beach Metro Community News.