Editorial: News no more but not no more news

For ten years, Morinville News has been proud to be an active part of this community, serving you as an online daily news publication and giving back where we could to make community and community events better.

But now we’re done as an online daily news publication.

We could give you a bullshit story about our 10th anniversary being a good time to retire, but it would be just that – bullshit.

The simple reality is this. A news publications’ only source of revenue is advertising, and there is not enough advertising revenue to provide the level of news that we have consistently offered for ten years.

The majority of businesses that advertise with local media advertise with us, but most companies that advertise do so with Facebook.

We’re thankful for the 19 Morinville and area businesses that have supported us this past year. Many of those have been with us since day one. Our thanks to Alternatives and Options, Atlas Premium Homes, Bistro di Madre Piccola, Bumper to Bumper, Champion Petfoods, DQ Morinville, Dr. Darren Romanowski, Flower Stop, Garry’s Heating Services, Getz Realty, GB Homes, Home Hardware, Jiffy Lube, JM Turner Goldsmith, Karen Proulx – Northgate Chevrolet, Morinville Physical Therapy, Morinville Veterinary Clinic, Putnam & Lawson, Quinn’s Plumbing & Heating, RT Septic, Smith Music, Sobeys Morinville, Tirecraft, Town of Morinville.

They’ve understood that they were not just getting ad space in our publication, but marketing advice, graphic design work, and the sharing of their social media to our readers.

They also realized that the ad dollars helped fund another company’s desire to provide Morinville with the quality of news a growing community deserved.

For the past few years, this daily news publication has operated on an annual revenue that is less than what the average Albertan makes at their job—$63,828.81 last year, a drop of 19% from the year before.

We think we’ve done a great job on that small a budget.

But Morinville News was never about the money. It was about the mission: keeping the community informed, encouraging local shopping, and telling the stories of the people who were working behind the scenes to make Morinville a great place to live.

Morinville News began ten years ago after the demise of both the Morinville Mirror and the Sturgeon Light. That left Morinville with a community print weekly paper that was not very good. I felt Morinville deserved better and decided to start an online daily.

We’ve done nearly 10,000 stories in 10 years and probably 10 times that many social media posts to keep people informed.

We’re damned proud of that.

It would not be possible without many people who shared the mission. That includes past contributors Calli Stromer, Ashley James, Tristan Turner, Robert Jump, Joe Morinville, and current contributors Colin Smith, who covers Council and the province. There is also local photographer Don Boutilier who sends us some awesome nature photos.

But we would not have covered half of what we covered without the quiet dedication to this community, this region, and this publication that Lucie Roy brings to the table.

She is such a familiar presence in this town with her camera and her listening ears.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told her not to cover a photo op, story or event only to find it on Facebook later because she knew it was the right thing to do. And without exception, it was the right thing to do.

No amount of thanks is sufficient for what she has done for Morinville News and keeping this community informed.

I’d be remiss if I did not thank Ron Cust and Paul Smith, early partners in our print edition days, and men who have always been there for advice-requested or not-and as a sounding board for the many directional changes we’ve made over the last decade.

News is a 24/7 gig, even when it isn’t.

You attend community events through a camera lens, and your phone is always at your side in case something happens.

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You spend your Saturday nights texting the coach so you can share game results period by period, and there’s always someone who thinks messaging you at 1 a.m. with a story pitch is a good idea.

Some publications are content to show you three-week-old event photos and call six or eight news stories a week a newspaper. That was never our scene. We felt you deserved more.

The nature of news publications has changed over 10 years and the brutal reality is there is simply no longer sufficient revenue to provide daily news coverage.

We wish it were different, but it isn’t.

Yes, this is Morinville News’ last day as an online daily news publication; however, it is not the last day of keeping you informed.

Over 10 years, we’ve developed a solid understanding of what stories people look at and what stories they don’t look at.

Newspapers, even community newspapers, have to or at least should try to cover all the bases.

Community News Magazines don’t. As such, we believe they can be even more relevant to their communities.

Later this summer, we will start providing some community news, information, event listings and some entertainment in familiar and different ways as an online community news magazine, one of several content sites run by my company Pawn Marketing & Publishing Inc.

Until then, we’re going to take some much-needed time off to celebrate the past ten years of keeping Morinville informed and to tend to other facets of the business that have taken a backseat to our production of community news.

MorinvilleNews.com will remain online as an archive of our past ten years of articles. Our Facebook page will also continue to serve the community as it has for ten years.

Stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram accounts for details.

-SD

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you for everything you have done and will no doubt continue to do in some aspect.
    As I have personally have gotten to know you, this community will be at a loss without this.
    Thanks again, enjoy your you time.

  2. Henry hopes to keep seeing both you and Lucy around town! He always loves the chance to talk and pose for the camera and will miss it.

  3. You should be so very proud of what you have accomplished over the last 10 years. I will miss reading the Morinville News 😞
    Thank you Stephen and Lucy for everything you have done over the years. I for one greatly appreciated everything the Morinville News has done for this community! ❤️

  4. I remember you coming into Town Of Morinville’s offices to pitch ads in your newspaper. Looking back, the Town made a wise decision in working with you. I look back fondly to our discussions, first determining which hat you wore. Good luck with your future projects…I know they will be successful!

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