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You’ve got to be Kidding


I don’t know about you, but every week, around Wednesday or Thursday, I get excited to pick up my copy of our local newspaper. Once a month, I have the same excitement when our local magazine arrives in my post. It is a feeling of delight, which I just don’t get from reading Flipbook, Quora or any other on-line publication.

I understand how valuable time has become and the ability to read leisurely every communication that comes across your desk is next to impossible, but sitting down with a local paper is a luxury we have to embrace, otherwise community newspapers will go the way of the VHS recorder. Like most of you, I subscribe to the big papers on-line, magazines and on my iPad, news briefs to my in-box. Like most of you, if I read everything out there, I would sit in a chair, with my phone or tablet on perma-charge 24/7.

Why do I look forward to receiving our community newspapers every week? That is simple to answer; it brings me up to speed on all the news of the community I live in. Where else can I find out what exciting events are coming up that I can take advantage of, what local politicians are spending their time (and our money) on or, what did Mabel and Ken have for their 50th anniversary dinner?

I cringe when I hear people complain about the quality of writing, the class of photography and the odd typo in our local rags, but can you appreciate what these dispatchers of information are up against? The papers are free; the only money paid to reporters, photographers, editors and publishers comes from advertising, and yet people complain. I remember not that long ago; we had two papers per week, from two different publishers. They used to cost a dollar (give or take), and then they dropped to one delivery a week, now they are free. Think where we would be without the information in local newspapers and magazines. How would you know what new things are happening, how would you know who to call in case you need a handy person? Are you going to call the funeral home to get the weekly obituaries?

Next time you have an issue with something written in the local press, instead of complaining; why not send a letter to the editor, or a thumbs down, with your opinion… as long as it’s not about my column. Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, published author, award winning photographer and keynote speaker. Watch his new show ‘ The Jonathan van Bilsen Show’ on Rogers TV, the Standard online and YouTube.

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