In a blindingly short time, the world’s a very different place.
The global onslaught of COVID-19 has tilted, turned and tangled virtually every aspect of everyday existence, tearing into economic stability, dismantling normal social interaction, and unsettling the stoutest of hearts.
It is a time to which few can attach any threads of reference or solace.
Yet, holding strong in this bewildering new landscape is enduring trust in family, and confidence in Canada’s top-notch medical health care system, and all of the remarkable front-line professionals who work so diligently within it.
That Canadian determination and devotion will see us all into brighter days ahead, as it has in the past.
What has also remained unchanged in these uncertain days is the public’s need and unquenchable desire for relevant, accurate and timely information.
At Black Press Media and Oak Bay News, we know this to be an undeniable fact, proven by the monumental increases in visitors to our websites over the past several weeks. You, our readers, consistently generated more than one million page views per day on our sites for many consecutive days.
That tells us Oak Bay News has your confidence as a trusted news source in your communities, and we are deeply honoured to continue that service.
Black Press Media multimedia journalists are among the very best in Western Canada, earning accolades for their high-quality, insightful and compelling news coverage and story-telling.
I have had the immense privilege of working with hundreds of these fine professionals over a 40-year-plus journalism career. I can say there are no other more dedicated, more focused and more community-minded individuals in the media industry.
But with great angst, I must report that the damage that COVID-19 is inflicting on businesses is dramatically thinning our ranks. The community news media industry is not in any way being spared the chilling, catastrophic drops in revenues seen across all sectors of the business world.
The economic survival solutions are very few. They most certainly include layoffs, and those include journalists, who are the very individuals upon whom you depend to accurately report on these world-altering days.
To call it ironic would not do the situation justice, yet I find no better word.
When our communities need the very best of journalism, some of their very best journalists and editors, and the companies that employ them, are highly vulnerable themselves.
This request is one I would never have made until now.
Journalists pride themselves in being fiercely independent of government, social biases, advertiser influence – of anything that might compromise their neutrality and ability to responsibly reflect the world around them. Those who stay unconditionally committed to this now do what they do because they believe in it. And I stand with them, with my breath and soul.
The delivery of news has changed in the past 20 years, from a time when newspaper subscriptions were a primary source of revenue for the business. No longer. News is primarily available for free, in our print products, and online.
In this digital age, all manner of information is free – but only a small portion can claim to be generated by highly trained, responsible journalists and the media companies for which they work.
Now is the time when the importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before. In order for all of us to move beyond COVID-19 – and we will – you need to know as much as possible about this virus; the effectiveness of all efforts to defeat it, and the impact it is having on the world around you.
All the while, you also need to know that life in our communities strongly goes on, despite this immense challenge. There are still many brave hearts, acts of kindness, light moments and triumphs, and countless examples of Canadians rising to a great challenge.
So, we now respectfully ask you – the consumers of the vital information we collect, examine, interpret and present in the most balanced and factual way possible – to consider the value of what we do.
Should you agree that the news we deliver, in print and online, is critical to maintaining an informed perspective of how the world is changing in these times, and how it might look tomorrow, we ask for your contribution to Oak Bay News.
We wish to be with you tomorrow, and in better days ahead, doing what we do with dedication and pride.
As much as you, we want to turn away from writing about COVID-19 and, hopefully soon, its ultimate demise, and return to telling meaningful stories that reflect all facets of the communities in which we work, live and support.
In order to do that, our business must survive. We intend to do that, and here is how you can help. By making a one-time or ongoing donation to Oak Bay News you can help ensure that your community continues to enjoy the benefits that come with a local community newspaper. Click here to help.
Western Canada Editorial Director, Black Press Media