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Executive Directorâ€™s Report
Newspapers drive purchase decisions, research shows QCNA 2014 Gala in Saint-Sauveur
Member donated pages help everyone Q-News; Inside the QCNA Industry News APF in Whitehorse, Montreal CCNA Report
QCNA moves! Your Local Journal on Facebook. QCT ready for 250
The Quebec Community Newspapers Association Newsletter Connecting the English community press in Quebec for 33 years
REPORT FROM THE PRESIDENT
CCNA revamps, resets for the challenges Steve Bonspiel, President, QCNA
he first official meeting of the new-look Canadian Community Newspapers Association got off to a great start. After the move to downsize the board was made official at the CCNA convention in May, I became the sole QCNA representative on the CCNA board. I attended on behalf of the QCNA at the first ‘compact’ meeting July 18. The smaller board – 11 as opposed to 22 – made for lively discussion around the table in Winnipeg and a number of issues were presented. The top of that list was revenue generation for members themselves. How can the national association increase the revenue of its members? How do we stop the bleeding after the federal government continues to pull back on spending, and generate revenue in new and innovative ways? They’re great questions that affect every association across the country and they have been difficult to answer. The CCNA board responded in Winnipeg by revamping existing committees to examine – and, most importantly, to take action on – many important issues, including ways to boost the bottom line across the board. The new format allowed for more feedback, directly and more quickly, a huge improvement from the way the board previously functioned. CCNA president Greg Nesbitt’s report pointed out a common question asked by CCNA members: what is the CCNA doing September 2013
for its regional associations? It was a difficult one to answer. Financially, there is not much being done, directors in attendance agreed. Another significant issue members are facing is the severe reduction of federal government advertising revenue, which seems to be irreversible – to date. Nesbitt made suggestions as to whom he would like to see as members of an ad hoc committee, to explore that issues, as well as the current governance structure of the CCNA. A report from the governance committee will be delivered to the board by the end of 2013 and by-law amendments to be proposed during the 2014 AGM. Other committees were re-jigged, including:
BOARD OF DIRECTORS STEVE BONSPIEL President, CCNA representative MARC LALONDE Vice President GEORGE BAKOYANNIS Secretary-Treasurer FRED RYAN Director MICHAEL SOCHACZEVSKI Director NIKKI MANTELL Director LILY RYAN Director
HEATHER DICKSON Past President QCNA STAFF
RICHARD TARDIF Executive Director CAROLYN KITZANUK Administrative Assistant MARNIE OWSTON Advertising Coordinator & Bookkeeper
Member Revenue Committee, which will focus initially on federal government advertising, but eventually be transferable to provincial and municipal advertising as well. Public Affairs Committee, which will focus on advocacy with a target audience of regulators, policymakers and legislators. The issues it will handle are recycling, press councils, copyright, Canada Post, Canada Periodical Fund, anti-spam legislation, municipal advertising and notices, and any other legislation that may arise that impacts the community newspaper industry.
Continued on page 4 -2-
QCNA MISSION STATEMENT
The Quebec Community Newspapers Association is dedicated to the professional and economic development of English community newspapers and their enterprises serving minority communities in Quebec.
We face some challenges - we’re up to it
Richard Tardif Executive Director, QCNA
ur newspapers are feeling the effects linked to the Federal government’s recent advertising practices of turning to the Internet and social media to promote their services. In the past, government was depending on community newspapers to reach their constituents, but today it seems there is a deliberate rebranding of their communications towards the Internet. What are we to do about advertising? Our members are feeling the pinch of federal advertising cutbacks, and they are questioning where the government stands on this matter, and also the QCNA is being asked where are all the ads? Believe me when I say, it is a question we continue to send towards Public Works and Government Services Canada, the branch of government responsible for advertising distribution, and we have yet to have an answer. What better way to reach English-speaking constituents in Quebec than to adver-
members of the Association de la Presse Francophone (APF) our sister organization representing francophone newspapers outside of Quebec. From the point of view of both organizations, the numbers we recorded in 2011-2012, combined, was less than half of what was allotted. This is where the question rests. We are not waiting for the phone to ring. In April the QCNA went to Ottawa and met with Mr. Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) as well as two members of his caucus: Mr. Pierre Nantel, Heritage Critic, and Tyron Benskin, Deputy Critic for Official Languages. The question we hope Mr. Mulcair and his Caucus will ask is can the OL satisfy its own criteria primarily placing advertising in large urban media areas in Quebec primarily. The QCNA says no because by ignoring large and vital segments of Quebec’s OL communities, it runs the risk of abandoning large segments of Quebec’s contributing society. The QCNA has also created a Advertising is our moneymaker and we do Sales sub-committee and Marexpect fluctuations from time to time, yet keting committee. We cannot we must question what is happening today, wait for ads to simply roll in. and act on it. Strategy meetings are planned for September. tise in our community newspapers? Yet, As a former editor at a weekly newspathe government in 2011-2012 spent over per I feel what our member newspapers $1.5 million in official language media, are feeling. Advertsing is our moneywith $901,000 going to minority print maker and we do expect fluctuations from media. Now minority print media is the Continued on next page 34 members of the QCNA, and the 21 September 2013
The Quebec Community Newspapers Association is as unique as the members it serves. Our English and bilingual publications distribute weekly, monthly, biweekly and daily to some 800,000 readers across the province. These publications serve an exclusive English and bilingual readership in their communities through their focus on relevant local news and high editorial-to-advertising ratio. The results from ComBase, Canada’s most comprehensive media study, show that QCNA newspapers are embraced by Quebec’s unique population more than any other medium in every market they serve.
Quebec Community Newspapers Association 189 Hymus Blvd, Suite 207 Pointe-Claire, Quebec Tel. 514-697-6330 Fax 514-697-6331 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.qcna.org
QCNA acknowledges the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage
ing the ads in 2009 took some action, but that number steadily declined in 2010 and 2011, and by April 2012 only about seven per cent of people who said they saw the ads did something as a result. There are signs that the advertising is returning.
Member Services/Communications Committee, which I am part of. It will focus on all aspects of CCNA’s member services with the exception of CMCA. The target audience will be members and external audiences. Tasks will consist of engagement with the target audience through all communication methods (print, electronic, CCNA board) to raise awareness of CCNA programs and services, guiding the image of community newspapers to the target audience and perform committee work in conjunction with an accepted strategic plan. CMCA Committee, which will serve as a policy body for the Canadian Media Circulation Audit program. Governance Committee, which will explore the future governance structure of the CCNA. If we can work diligently on our own associations we can make a stronger CCNA, but we face many obstacles. I welcome any ideas from our members on any issue that may interest you.
time to time, yet we must question what is happening today, and act on it. The Conservative government went allin on a $52.3 million, four-year television advertising campaign, mostly those Economic Action Plan ads the Harper government has been drumming at The question we hope Mr. Mulcair and his for the last four years as the reces- Caucus will ask is can the OL satisfy its own sion-fighting plan of the budget of criteria primarily placing advertising in large January 2009. urban media areas in Quebec primarily. Under federal policy, departments must conduct surveys after ad campaigns to ensure taxpayer dollars are It appears the government was late on setwell spent. Eight surveys, commissioned from four polling firms have asked the ting out its advertising strategy. QCNA has same core questions of random samples of received the agency listings, and we expect some developments. This does not mean 1,000 people contacted by telephone. The early surveys show as many as a we will sit back. The QCNA will continue to be vigilant. quarter of those who remembered see-
Email me directly at email@example.com.
Most importantly, a journalist knows words, for it is through the conveyance of language that messages are transmitted and received. Through words, the journalist takes complex subjects and breaks them down into more digestible parts. In this, the age of convergence, a journalist must be able to comport those word skills to a variety of mediums -- print, broadcast and digital. The messages within these mediums are shaped by space, time and other factors. Paul McGrath Assistant Editor, Houston Chronicle
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189 Boulevard Hymus, Suite 207, Pointe Claire, Qc, H9R 1E9 tel: 514-697-6330 fax: 514-697-6331 September 2013
One Order, One Bill
700,000 readers each week 25 English newspapers across Quebec
Art Mantell – lifelong newsman knew starting paper sure way to get last word By Nikki Mantell
Art Mantell was a life-long newsman. He would never use the word “journalist.” He didn’t go to journalism school. He got his first job in 1955 by mouthing off, as he regularly did, to a collection of Brandon Sun reporters lunching at his father’s popular cafe of the same town. Serving coffee from behind the counter, he told one of them he got the story all wrong. The response was along the lines of: “Oh yeah, Mantell? Why don’t you give it a try?” He started as a reporter, moved up the ranks and eventually got his own daily column. He was fired a couple of years later, a fact he was quite proud of, when he mentioned that the crown prosecutor in a criminal trial had “coached the witness.” The prosecutor and the paper’s publisher were both high-ranking members of the reigning Conservative party. And there’s the fact that Art was also at the top of the pay scale. His next job again found him when a reporter buddy put him on to an opening at the Ottawa Journal. By that time, Art had a wife, Kitty, and a daughter, Alexis, and they packed up and headed east. At the Journal, he covered the kind of stories he loved: crashes, bridge collapses and anything with human drama. Perhaps his favourite was his story on the Beacon Hotel fire. While other reporters swarmed like bees to catch the firefighters and take photos of the raging flames, Art noticed a lone man making his way down from the third-storey on a ladder, unnoticed
by the rest. On the ground, Art managed to get a heart-pounding first-person interview, but before he got his name, the man dropped dead on the spot. No name meant no story. Art dug into a pocket and found the man’s wallet and ID, a technique not taught in Journalism school. His first editor said he had crossed the line; colleagues considered the story to be in bad taste. But it ran front page and the man’s family later wrote the Journal a letter to say how much they loved the piece because the reporter had caught their relative’s personality so accurately (“It sounded just like him, that’s just how he talked”). With a family to support, and a mortgage on a five-acre property in Chelsea (one of the area’s quaint garage-converted-to-cottageconverted-to-house types) Art took a better paying government job with the National Research Council as a media relations specialist. But newspapering remained his first love, and so after five years of being, in his own words, “terminally bored” in the civil service, he started his own newspaper. Opening such a business in the Gatineau Hills in 1973 made no sense. There were no real businesses to speak of, residents were hidden away in the forest, and Art’s only mode of communication was Bell’s shared party line. But Art was never about practicality or spreadsheets. He convinced Kitty, a parliamentary librarian with an innate talent for writing,
to start “The Low Down to Hull and Back News” with him. When he thought up that pun, one of many to follow on his pages, Art laughed so hard he nearly drove off the road. The News, as it was called then, was a Mom and Pop operation with Kitty as Publisher, Art as Editor and elder daughter, Alexis, as Circulation Manager delivering papers to the 10 or so stores, which were convinced to sell it. They put out the first edition on the kitchen table using Lettraset to make headlines letter by letter, and typed out copy on an IBM electric typewriter. Kitty worked the phones, gathering news tips and writing stories from Chelsea to Kaz. They developed photos in their tiny bathroom; baby Nikki’s job was to ruin every second set by opening the door. The Worst Joke of the Week has run on every front page since that first edition. “It was handcrafted and it showed it,” Art wrote once. Kitty squealed with joy when she saw someone had actually paid the 15 cents and came out of the Kirk’s Ferry general store, copy in hand. The newspaper was a great adventure, and a combination of Art’s main loves: news, entrepreneurial ventures, and his family. He and Kitty agreed they would throw $2,000 into the paper, and when that ran out they’d shut it down. It never made much money, but it allowed him to quit his NRC job after another few years. Art loved writing about all the colourful characters that populated the Gatineau Hills, and he, himself, grew to be one of them. Art liked to use his land, and his family, to launch various business schemes: he raised chickens, which he then sold, live, at the Byward Market; he and Kitty bred and sold Bouvier des Flandres puppies; and later on down the road, he launched Man with the Axe tree-felling service with Alcove’s Jeb Anderson; fancying himself an impresario, he brought much-lauded comedy duo, Bowser and Blue, to Wakefield; and his joke book, “Worst Jokes of the Millennium” is still available for purchase. Sadly, other projects like “Rent-a-Duck” proved not to have wings. Newspapering kept him busy. He and Kitty were founding members of what is now known as the Quebec Community Newspaper Association. In the 1980s, he launched three other newspapers in those
Continued on page 9 www.qcna.org
QQ-NEWS Inside the QCNA
Changes to QCNA website
You can now also find Your Local Journal on Facebook.
In the last issue of The Connector we wrote about a QCNA website update. It’s here.
QCT welcomes staff, turning 250!
The homepage of the QCNA site now displays a slideshow of member photographs, our advertising, and special events. For us it is another way to reach our members, advertise the benefits of advertising with us, and information for new members. The update also offers us a way to continue to evolve and display the benefits of the QCNA.
QCNA, APF to meet in Montreal After meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon, at the AGM last July, l’Association de la presse francophone, and the Quebec
Community Newspapers Association met in Montreal on September 11. The two assciations, representing minority newspapers across Canada will discuss mutually beneficial revenue generation, federal advertising and future relations.
The QCT welcomed two new writers this summer. Bill Cox, a QCT correspondent for many years, has officially joined the writing team. Additionally,
Quebec City native Cassandra Kerwin will be providing a local’s youthful perspective on our historic city. In other news, the QCT’s General Manager, Taylor Ireland, recently received a prestigious award from the Quebec City Junior Chamber of Commerce. Ireland was named Young Business Personality in the category of Administration and Management. With predecessor publications dating back to 1764, the QCT is the oldest newspaper publishing in North America, and one of the oldest English-language publications in the world. QCT is looking forward to our 250th year in print in 2014. Special events and publications are planned and fellow commu-
nity newspapers are invited to join in the celebrations. Congratulatory notices and other types of ads, along with special material, will be accepted throughout the anniversary year. Feel free to contact QCT in advance to discuss the possibilities. In response to the devastation of so many of Lac-Megantic’s community resources, the QCT sought an appropriate way to contribute to recovery efforts. In partnership with the Quebec City Women’s Club, the QCT will be donating a considerable shipment of English-langauge books to the community’s library reconstruction campaign. Accompanying the donation will be a subscription to the QCT, thereby offering an ongoing connection between both communities. The QCT would like to thank this year’s jury for the many awards it received for 2012 publications and are deeply honoured to have been recognized by its peers in this way.
L’Association de la presse francophone in Whitehorse
At the last General Meeting of members, in Whitehorse, Yukpon the APF made changes to its bylaws by distinguishing two types of memberships. Provincial newspapers called territorial, which must have a minimum content of 90% in French and regional newspapers should be written primarily in French.
We’re on Facebook and Twitter. How do I find QCNA on Facebook? If you’re already set up with a Facebook account, simply head to our Facebook page, click the ‘like’ button to become a fan of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association and, if you like, leave us a comment on the wall. Make sure you check back to the page often, as we’ll be posting news about our newspapers, events and industry news.
Want to follow us on Twitter visit @QCNA. If you have an account already, all you need to do is follow us by clicking the ‘follow’ button. If you don’t have an account, they’re free and quick to set up; just visit Twitter’s website and follow the instructions. You’ll be tweeting to us in no time.
Member donated pages helps the bottom line for everyone
In order to keep member cash output and membership fees to a minimum, members participate in the member donated ad space program up to a maximum of four donated pages per year. As the executive director of the QCNA it isn’t always easy to decide on using member donated space. On one hand advertising revenue, all advertsing, is important to our member newspapers - I certainly do not want to take away from the vitality of our members. Then there is that other hand! The QCNA keeps its membership fees low, and to help with expenses (Annual General Meetings, Better Newspapers Competition, workshops, administration, and yes, salaries) from time to time the QCNA will inject some funds into its bank, by using the donated space. The trick is not to overdo it. Four pages for each member can be used easily. I must decide on whether or not to use some donated space, and this is based on two financial reason-
ings - did we already use a member’s donated space, and what is the present situation with the QCNA’s finances? It is my job to keep up on the expenses and see where we are at with our budget, and it is also my job to understand our member’s situation. I balance the two, and make my decision. What I do know is that revenue generated by the QCNA through various means, incuding member’s donated space, returns to the members via the activities mentioned earlier. The QCNA will be asking for more understanding in the next three months when it comes to member’s donated space. As our marketing and sales committees explore new avenues of revenue generation, the QCNA will contunue its pressure on the federal government, and ramp up its blanket classifieds. Richard Tardif Executive Director, QCNA
You can still find us at our fabulous website
Y R T S U ND N
Former Eastern Door intern never had a slow day by Adam Kovac
Canada Post announces changes to Publications Mail and Unaddressed Admail
Canada Post has announced price and service changes to Publications Mail and Unaddressed Admail effective January 13, 2014. Newspapers Canada has assessed the impact of the new price sheets on member newspapers. It has found that although a number of controlled-circulation newspapers may see a slight savings, the majority of both paid and controlled circulation newspapers will experience increases, with smaller paid-circulation publications in rural areas seeing the largest increases. The association has expressed its concern to Canada Post
about the inequity of the new price sheets and will be pursuing the matter further. All customers should have received written notice of the changes, and details are also available online at canadapost. ca/notice. Members with questions or concerns should contact Tina Ongkeko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I started at The Gazette on June 10, 2013. During one of my first days, an editor remarked to me that I might get assigned some boring pieces, as summer tends to be slow, news-wise. A week later, the mayor was in jail. A little over three weeks after that, an unmanned train derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic and exploded, killing 47. The term “slow news day” was not uttered very much in the office this summer. I remember driving up to LacMegantic two days after the explosion. I remember thinking that this would be the ultimate
test – either I’d know that daily journalism was not for me, or it would be the only thing I want to do. Three days later, I had myanswer – it was the latter. That’s what an internship at a newspaper is great for. Sure, you learn from the other reporters’ experience, but you find out how you handle the stress of writing to deadline every day, on stories that matter, that people are hungry for information about. You also learn how to be versatile – the shrinking of news rooms means that every reporter must be comfortable on several beats. One day you’re covering a political speech, the next you might be talking to cops and family members about a murder, and the day after that you’re investigating city infrastructure. There’s also the bottom line – while there is currently controversy over unpaid internships, whether it’s paid or unpaid, they will lead to more work once your time is done.
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Partners with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association
Continued from page 5 monthlies. Put bluntly, he hated Aylmer, loved the Hills, and eventually sold all but The Low Down. Over the years, Art had his fans and his enemies. In fact, making enemies was part of newspapering, he thought. As he told me during my years as publisher, “If
they’re mad at you, you’re doing your job. It means they’re reading you.” He hated the moniker “community paper.” He ran a big city daily that just happened to be a small rural weekly. The bake sales were covered, but just because the mayor was your neighbour, didn’t mean she she didn’t get grilled. (Actually, in Judy Grant’s case, she was the neighbour who became a Low Down reporter, then editor, then quit to join the competition and eventually later became mayor of Chelsea. She routinely told The Low Down to “F-off.”) In 1998, after 25 years of putting out his labour of love, Art retired and sold the paper to me (although he remained involved right until the very end). That transition year marked the paper’s biggest news coup to date: the infamous visit from Art’s all-time favourite enemy: a female officer of the Office de la langue francaise OLF). ( We photographed her measuring the size of English signage next door to our office – she demanded we turn over those photos “or else.” It was so beautiful. Together we crowed how this story was manna from newspaper heaven – so clearly a David vs. Goliath story. It was so black and white, and it would be read all over. Of course, we thumbed our noses at the OLF for three weeks on our front pages, garnering support from all over. Art fielded non-stop calls from reporters as far away September 2013
as Japan – I did the interviews. Never has a father-and-daughter news team had so much fun. Art injected fun and humour into The Low Down wherever possible. Headlines such as “You can’t take a leek in Gatineau Park,” has been stolen by many a national newspaper. The more recent “Is that a Cannon or are you just glad to see me” above a photo of a warm meeting between politicians Hillary Clinton and Lawrence Cannon was also his, and nearly won a national award. Art had a knack for finding great pleasure in the small, every day things around him. King of his five-acre riverside property, he roamed it on summer days in nothing but his lava-lava wrap he bought in Hawaii where he had eloped with Kitty in 1961. He devised his own family traditions such as “Leaf Catching Day,” when every fall he challenged his kids to catch one midair – the specific one he pointed out – at 25 cents a leaf. The lawn was uneven and strewn with logs and dog poop. The ensuing falls were hugely entertaining for him, somewhat profitable for us. He once wrote a comedy routine starring his two big toes. Art was fiercely proud of his daughters and loved them unreservedly. He thought Kitty a talented writer and broadcaster, and he relied on her as a full, committed partner in business and in life. Arguing was his favourite sport and a few years ago he got great pleasure from a tight band of coffee club buddies – Martti Lahtinen and the late Don Chartrand. They met thrice weekly for some verbal thrust and parry. Art read three newspapers a day, every day. He was still writing editorials for us until the last month of his life. Three days before Art died, he and Alexis were oneupping the National Post, rewriting its headlines from his hospital bed. If he were still around, he’d probably tell us we got the story all wrong on this piece too. Art died peacefully at the Wakefield Hospital of natural causes at the age of 81. He was surrounded by his family. - 9-
QQ-NEWS Are you saving your ‘best 2013 work’ with SCRAPBOOKS? A handy free feature at the ‘betternewspapercontest’ website - http://betternewspapercontest.com/ Just click on ‘Access Your Scrapbooks’ (right-hand side) to log in and create and manage your own scrapbook account. Simply follow the instructions/prompts. With this new tool you create and manage your own Scrapbooks, or cloud-based storage folders, where you can save contestworthy material throughout the year. Both attachments and URL web addresses can be saved in Scrapbooks, and contestants can access their Scrapbooks during the entry process. Stay ahead of the game by saving your best articles / photos / ads throughout the year for QCNA’s Better Newspapers Competition 2014! Feel free to contact the QCNA office if you have any questions – 514-697-6330.
TRY S U D NEW IN
Canadians rank traditional media as top source for investment news and information A recent study released by BMO InvestorLine shows that the majority of Canadians continue to rely on traditional news media for investing information and advice. More than 50 percent of the survey respondents indicated that they turn to newspapers or magazines as a primary resource for investment news and education, with 30 percent favouring print editions and 24 percent referencing online editions. In comparison, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs were far less likely to be considered a trustworthy source of investment information.
Newspapers drive purchase decisions, research shows
Newspapers Canada has just launched new research that demonstrates the impressive power of newspapers in the purchasing process. Newspapers are the number one source of information for Canadians prior to making purchasing decisions. In addition, the study shows that newspapers hold considerable sway across the purchasing continuum: beginning with absorbing, moving into planning and then obtaining. Results are remarkably strong and consistent across target groups and by category.
Research undertaken with 1,000 Canadians online by Totum Research on behalf of Newspapers Canada to understand newspaper (print + digital) impact vs. other media on purchase decisions - June 2013
34th Annual Better Newspapers Awards & Gala 2014
June 5-6, 2014 246 Chemin du Lac-Millette St-Sauveur, QC J0R 1R3 (450) 227-1811
June 6 - Annual General Meeting 10 -12 Noon - Cocktails 6-7 p.m. Banquet and Awards Gala 7-10 p.m.
Quebec Community Newspapers Association L’Association des journaux régionaux du Québec
June 2013 2013 September
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