EDITORIAL: Toddling Along At Six Months Old
It’s been six months since we launched the Rossland Telegraph. A long time? Yes. A short time? That too: for us how long it’s been depends on how close we are to our Thursday put-out-the-latest-issue deadline. From our perspective, though, things couldn’t have gone any better than they have so far. In fact, it’s been a blast.
The three of us decided to start the Telegraph with a couple of goals in mind. First and foremost, we felt that Rossland, being the engaged, active, tight-knit community it is, needed a paper that properly reflected the character of the people who live, work, and play in the Golden City (or Mountain Kingdom: take your pick). Not a corporate puppet paper with little to no editorial content, not a sour, one-sided rag: we felt Rossland deserved something vital and varied and local. In our first editorial we stated that all views would be represented in the Telegraph and we can proudly report that every view we’ve ever come across has been given space
Second, we wanted to help ‘facilitate communication’ here in town. A wonky way of putting it, but we feel very strongly that communities work best when as many voices as possible can be heard: city hall works better, development works better, the local committee works better, the dance at the Miner’s Hall works better: it all does. And it’s all one thing.
Third, we wanted to get involved. And get involved we did. We’ve covered pretty much everything that’s gone on here in town during the last six months, from the local elections, through cake bingos and dramas over development, to trivia nights, dog feces, and the opening of new sweet shops. And it’s been great. Working on the Telegraph has made us a bunch of new friends and shown us a thousand exciting, heartwarming new things about the town where we have chosen to live.
And Rossland has responded warmly to us. After only six months of operation, we boast over 1300 regular readers and over 400 subscribers. A typical local news story in the Telegraph is read by around 500 people. That, even if we do say so ourselves, is an impressively high figure: close to one out of every four adult Rosslanders. Additionally, each month, we get over 20 000 page views. In short, there are a lot of eyes reading a lot of words.
Why blow our own horn in this way? Well, online papers are still fairly new and people are still getting used to them. One of the weirdest things about an online paper is that you never see it lying around anywhere. A ‘paper’ paper you see, even if it’s only as you drop it onto the pile in one of the large grey recycling bins at the post office. It’s possible to print a thousand copies of a publication or document and have five or six people sit down and read it. We, on the other hand, exist in cyberspace. In our case, each and every one of those 20 000 hits per month is a conscious choice on the part of a Rosslander to sit down and read a story. That’s why the stats are important: they tell us that we’re getting the job done even as our numbers keep on growing.
In our first six months we’ve added local writers, columnists, and a very popular locally-produced comic strip about a far away place called Rosslandia. We’ve received engagement and support from our loyal advertisers (seek them out and buy their wares), from city council, from myriad public groups, and from countless readers who’ve taken the time to comment, write letters and emails, or just stop us on the street and offer feedback.
We thank you all for your support and look forward to serving you in the months and years ahead. And don’t forget: this is your paper. This is your community platform, too. Wade in. Get wet.
On a warm spring day in the Kootenays at the tail end of a long, long winter, the weather’s fine.