Editorial: Full disclosure

To our readers and the public:

We have had an advertising contract with the Town of Morinville for five of our six years of publication. For the past three years that contract has become a matter of public record due to my role on Council, as it should.
That means that the contract, normally approved by Town Management, must receive Council approval, and that the owner of this publication must leave the room, taking no part in the discussion or vote.

The Morinville News was granted a contract in 2015 of up to $33,000 in advertising between online and print, a number pretty much identical to the other newspaper in town.

This year’s request was for two proposals — one for a single page and one for the two pages used in the past. The proposal that was to be presented to Council Jan. 12 was the single page option, following up on the Morinville News’ recommendation that A/ Better utilization of design space, and B/ our new taller format could result in monetary savings for the Town. That proposal, which is shown above, is for $22,920 — $9,283 less than the $32,203 contract we received last year.

Last year, the Town’s contract was a little higher than previous years because of a decision to commit only to six months instead of a year. This was due to a communications study then underway. The conclusion of that study showed that the Morinville News was the choice for 76% of survey respondents online and in print, compared to 55% for our competitor.

While $22,920 may seem like a large amount (and it certainly is) I assure you it is not going directly into my pocket. Newspapers – print or online – operate on narrow margins. Printing and mailing costs are high as are all the other costs associated with gathering, reporting and distributing the news in a timely fashion.

We continue to value all of our advertisers, including the Town of Morinville, and work hard to get their message out in print, online, on social media, and at the top of our lungs on the street if need be.

We are not required to disclose all the details of our contract, only the total amount. I’ve chosen to show it all once again this year in the interest of full disclosure.

Stephen Dafoe, Publisher The Morinville News

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