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From Ottawa with Love by Larry Peckford

Hello from Ottawa!

I am happy the editor of the Wreckhouse Weekly has given me the opportunity to write in this space. When visiting my house in the Codroy Valley over the summer I was delighted to see the paper in local stores. With the loss of the Gulf News it takes some guts to start up an independently owned newspaper. It seems the southwest coast region has embraced the Weekly with carriers making home delivery. I hope that local business will get on board using the paper to advertise local products and services.

The media landscape has changed mightily in the last decade with the internet and social media taking over as a place for news and information sharing. Internet web sites and news bundling from various sources make publishing a newspaper a challenge. Google and Facebook, for instance, literally steal from the mainline media by posting stories that previously came by way of the newspaper or local radio. For now, these entities virtually pay nothing for it and the news source pays the freight by way of salaries for its news people and production costs.

I recall the personalities on the former CFCB station in Port aux Basques. These guys (few women then) were household names and the radio dial was tuned to the local station all day long. If you wanted to talk to the DJ or newsreader, you likely would meet them at the post office! No problem telling them what music you liked.

The print media is gone digital with home delivery and newsstands much less prominent. You can get your local news on the smart phone or laptop and read it when and where you like. One opportunity that newspapers have tapped in to is the need for a paid subscription if you want to get all that they publish. The Weekly is doing this too so I paid my online subscription to get it all….not just the headlines. The large national newspapers are fighting back too as online subscriptions are yielding more and more revenue. Without it, they cannot survive.

In a similar way, our TV viewing has changed, as over the air reception (roof antennas and rabbit ears) is a thing of the past. Pick the channels you like and go to it. For me living in Ontario I get my news fix by paying subscriptions to those news sources I like. I just recently paid to view Newfoundland’s NTV channel so I can get their excellent supper hour news package.

So, Kudos to the folks at the Weekly for their bravery in starting up this venture. I will bring my perspective on things from time to time. A Newfie living in Ontario is not a strange thing even though on times I wish I could bury the accent and go incognito when doing business or exchanging with the locals. Newfoundlanders have a habit of finding each other too as I almost regularly find out. Anyway, we’ll talk again! Stay safe.

Larry Peckford and his wife, Dianne (née LeRiche), who hails originally from Port aux Basques, have lived in Ottawa for the past 10 years but still have a seasonal residence in the Codroy Valley. Larry is a former Newfoundland public servant and community volunteer who blogs occasionally. You can reach by e-mail at: larrypeckford@outlook.com.

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