Thursday, June 09, 2016
COPA Digital Media Spotlight- Community News content (Part 1) - Print, TV and Radio digital convergence
The little siblings of major urban news media are the ones that cater to smaller communities and cultural groups. This COPA Digital Media Spotlight will show what is evolving in the Community News space as we see television, radio and newspapers crossing over each other with similar content.

This segment of the media industry has been hit hard by the digital age as print distribution changed to weekly, and they needed to adapt or perish. Let's start in Western Canada to see how they address this challenge as the publishers look for new sources of revenue and to engage the reader to stay a little longer per visit.


Burnaby Now offers a standard mix of traditional content, including News, Sports, Opinion, Entertainment, Business and Community News/photos that is seen in print. The site’s content also has Real Estate, Store Flyers and a unique section called Standout that is used for sponsored content that they have been very successful with in populating. Readers can also subscribe to an email newsletter.


Small community newspapers like the Jasper Fitzhugh in Alberta, are trying to reinvent themselves to replace lost print classified and employment ad revenue taken away by their digital competitors, who give it away for free. This tourist town website has a content mix of News, Sports & Life, Arts & Culture, Events and a Tour of Alberta section. This publication is leveraging the use of digital editions for the newspaper and local telephone directories for new sources of revenue online.


The Prairie Post with its base in Swift Current provides News, Sports, Opinion and Entertainment on their website with content that includes local news in Saskatchewan and Alberta. This small town paper provides similar content that is available in print with broader geographical coverage on the website with sports video highlights. The sports video highlights are for the Swift Current Broncos games, a Jr. A team in the CHL, providing a TV style coverage that is local.


The digital age has not only affected the local community newspaper; it has impacted local TV stations as well in communities like Peterborough. CHEX TV station’s website is a News Magazine format with lifestyle content. The core content of News, Weather, Sports and Community are there but its mix includes Entertainment, Science & Tech, Health, Business, Politics, Autos. CHEX Daily TV newscasts and station community shows can also be viewed on the website. It also has a really unique piece of content, a Police Blotter that reports local crime activity and Police PSAs. Who would of thought 10 years ago a local TV station will be a Community News website.


Serving the rural communities in Quebec’s Laurentions is the English language Main St, based in Lachute. This community news site has a website and digital edition of their weekly newspaper that has lots of ads in it (It looks like print is still strong in this market). The content mix includes the standard fare of Local news, Entertainment, Business Directories and Real Estate listings that you would expect. The unique content on the site are information on health care and schools in English. They also offer an email newsletter.


The next place of digital convergence is local radio stations as they face the same pressure as print and TV. This radio station in Grand Falls, NB – K93FM, a top 40 hits format has a content mix that includes music and contests—standard fare for a radio station, plus, news, events, a community Instagram feed and a discount coupon service for local retailers to advertise in. This station is part of the Bell Media family and the discount coupon program is through their program that they use with their network of radio stations, where are shopper can purchase a discounted gift certificate online.

In the Community News space the print, tv and radio mediums are truly colliding as each have similar core content that makes them a community news website, but each have unique characteristics.

The COPAs this year are recognizing the “Best Community Website” to give them a higher profile in the COPA Awards program.  that closes on July 11 for entries, as you cans see there is good work being done out there. Next up Cultural Media websites, this is a natural since Canada is a multi-cultural nation as cultural sites are also considered “Community News”.
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

Martin Seto is the producer of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAS) with 30 years of life expereince in technology, advertising, media and creative exploration. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at) or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

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Lorene Shyba says:
Full of terrific information, Thanks!...
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