OPINION: Speaking on how local news matters

Local Matters, a new focus on local businesses that support community newspapers

Box Cox, Winnipeg Free Press

The same day that the Winnipeg Free Press carried news of Franklin Roosevelt’s death, its advertising included a local store offering bologna for 21 cents a pound. As I look at that April 1945 edition, I often wonder which information readers found more valuable – the death of a world leader or a bargain at a local meat shop. Chances are it was the bologna. Readers have always trusted their local newspapers for information relevant to their lives. Much of that information is contained in ads from local retailers.

The classic definition of a good newspaper is “a community in conversation with itself.” Smart local advertisers have always known they want to be in on that conversation. Those of us involved in publishing newspapers have always been proud of our relationships with local advertisers – relationships that make our communities stronger.

That is why we are now running our own ads to show our pride and encourage readers to show their support for their communities by shopping locally.

Local businesses are the heart of communities across Canada. Most residents choose to “Buy Local” when given the choice. When a consumer supports local business owners there are advantages and benefits for everyone. Local businesses enhance communities, connect and support residents socially and enhance employment and the economy by circulating dollars between businesses. Significantly more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally owned businesses thanks to the ripple effect that contributes to the health of our Canadian communities.

Local newspapers are supporting the “Buy Local” movement with a new program that recognizes proud advertisers throughout the paper and on our websites with “Local Matters” ads.

Local businesses are being encouraged to show their support for local by displaying Proud Advertiser stickers in store windows.

Together we can boost our local economies by supporting the local businesses that support the local newspaper – and that’s no baloney.

Bob Cox is the chair of the board of News Media Canada and publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press.

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