Every day, we at The Commentator and other newspapers get press releases about upcoming events.
And of course we are often asked to cover the same events.
Some press releases and requests come from business enterprises which stand to financially profit from the events they are asking media to cover. We’ve had a couple of these come up recently.
Another situation arises when well-known businesses ask The Commentator to do a story – but choose to advertise on radio.
We need advertising dollars to sustain our business and when organizations or local businesses have an advertising budget but refuse to spend any of it with us, we cannot reasonably be expected to spend our time and resources to provide the coverage that sometimes is requested. Who is paying for that?
There is no such thing as a free ride in this world but some expect one from media outlets which have been struggling with revenue streams, in large part as we’ve written about often, because businesses – and even government – are using social media platforms to get their messages across.
Do Facebook staff cover press events or meetings here?
The answer is a resounding “no.” While American media giants rake in millions of dollars, Canada’s local media outlets, with diminishing news staff, are asked to cover events even though we aren’t being financially supported.
This is particularly offensive when those asking for coverage do have advertising budgets but won’t use the newspaper to help them get their message across to the public.
And the newspaper is the best forum for getting news out – people can read stories in the paper version at their leisure or on the online version at any time, as well.
With The Commentator, you don’t have to tune into a newscast on radio or television at a certain time – and hope the story you’re interested in will be featured. If it is, given the nature of those outlets, the story will be brief, unlike in a newspaper where we have the space to expand upon stories and provide more detail than any other media outlet.
We hear the mantra “shop local” often and again, that mantra applies to us in newspapers. We try to do the best job we can covering our community but that takes financial support from advertisers.
If events or businesses are going to make a profit on stories they want covered, we justifiably can expect them to support us to some degree by advertising with us.
We aren’t a charity – we’re a business and that business model is based upon advertising dollars.
When companies and event organizers who want our support but aren’t willing to pay for it are advertising elsewhere that suggests our media outlet has no value to them.
Perhaps then their event or business has no consequence to our audience whose financial support would be of value to them.
Just as the community wants support – and deserves it from us in our news coverage – we deserve support as well. Shop local, once again, applies to newpapers as well.