Editorial: The world has moved past print – It’s time we did too

A 2016 Pew Research Center report indicated that 62 per cent of American adults get their news on social media and 18 per cent do so frequently. Those numbers were up from the 49 per cent who did so in 2012, only four years earlier.

Since opening the Morinville News on June 11, 2010, we have seen a shift in how those who follow community news get their community news. MorinvilleNews.com was something unique back then, offering news online daily to a town of then about 8000 residents. Five months later, we released the first issue of Monday Morning News, a small format magazine that captured what we had published the week before for those who did not go online or those passing through the local coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Seven years later, Monday Morning News evolved into a conventional print edition version of our Morinville News website, mailed to more than 4800 homes. Over the last seven years, we changed size and format a couple of times to better serve our readers and our advertisers.

It served its purpose in informing our community over the past better part of a decade, and when we reduced our frequency to bi-weekly in January of this year, we saw an increase in our daily traffic on MorinvilleNews.com and even more followers on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MorinvilleNews.

That increase was not the least bit surprising because we know those who want to be informed about what is happening in their community want to be informed now, not next week when the news has made the rounds of everyone’s newsfeeds.

When we began this journey, our motto was Get The News While It Is Still News. That is still our commitment.

Seven years later, we live in a world where anyone can live broadcast anything in the moment on social media. Indeed, the victory speech of Sturgeon-River Parkland was live-streamed on Facebook Oct. 23, and we were able to – at the click of a button – share that moment on our own Facebook page and embed it in our story on the election a short time later.

During the election, we were able to film the under-attended Candidate’s Forum and provide Facebook and website viewers the candidates in their own words and facial expressions the same evening. We could have live streamed it but did not want to reduce physical attendance by providing a reason to stay home.

Digital, whether prose, video or photos is a more efficient and timely way to provide Morinville and area with the news as it happens or very close to when it happens.

And so we come to the decision, after seven years in print, to suspend publication of the Morinville News print edition with our Nov. 15 issue, which coincides with our first issue of Monday Morning News in 2010.

It is a bittersweet decision, but it is the right one at the right time for two reasons.
One: Eliminating print as one of the many ways we deliver news to our community will allow us to focus purely on providing you what you need to know when you need to know it. It also allows us to further provide our advertisers with effective, creative, and even more affordable opportunities to promote their businesses.

Two: On a personal level, at 55 years of age, it is time for me to wind down some. After seven years of being chef, line cook, and dishwasher in the news business, it is time for me to spend a little more time serving my community in other ways.

Little will change as we wind down the print side of Morinville News other than you can expect to see more video content online, a couple of new websites to serve the community in the new year, my running shoes on the trails of this great town a little more often, and even more photos of the stuff I’ve cooked on Facebook.

My sincerest thanks to our advertisers for supporting community news, my wife Bonnie for putting up with the demands of the news business for all these years, my freelancers Lucie, Tristan, Jennifer, and Colin for getting the news and getting it right, and to Ron Cust and Paul Smith for convincing me seven years ago that Morinville needed a community-focused print edition.

See you all online.

Stephen Dafoe

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