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COLUMN: When local journalism thrives, so does your town

A welcome note from Village Media’s Editor-in-Chief
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Village Media headquarters at 298 Queen St. E. in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

If I had to summarize local journalism in one sentence, this would be it: We put people in the paper. (Or in our case, on the website.)

That may sound simplistic, even surprising. Isn’t journalism all about digging for truth? Holding power to account? Shining a spotlight on important, sometimes uncomfortable issues that deserve our immediate attention? Absolutely — and at Village Media, we do that crucial work everyday in cities and towns across the province.

But in our constant pursuit of the next breaking story, we never forget the angle that matters most: people. As a proudly independent local news company, our primary mission is to strengthen and connect our community — and be a reflection of it. So every time we tell a person’s unique story, every time we feature a new name and face on our hometown website, we reinforce that sense of community a little bit more.

To me, that is the magic of local journalism. It reminds us, one headline at a time, that we share things in common. That we are in this together. That we all belong.

Relaunched this morning in partnership with Village Media, is exactly that: a place where everyone belongs. Free of charge and easy to navigate, our digital-first content is available to anyone looking for hyperlocal news coverage that is trusted, accurate and up-to-the-minute.

Research has shown, again and again, that vibrant local journalism has a positive impact on our day-to-day lives. City councils are more transparent, voter turnout is higher, corruption has no place to hide, and facts have a fighting chance. Simply put, a local news outlet like ours is a beacon, a place to turn when you need to know what’s really going on: the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Today's announcement is a bit of a twist for Village Media, a digital-only company that owns and operates 19 hyperlocal news websites in Ontario. For the first time ever, we are partnering with a local newspaper to run a website that already exists.

Why? Because we believe that by working together, there is no limit to the quality local journalism we can produce.

For those readers who still savour that unmistakable feel of a printed page, The Niagara-on-the-Lake Local will continue to be delivered to your door every Wednesday, a labour of love for owners Penny Coles and Karen Skeoch, and their dedicated staff.

During the rest of the week, will be your go-to source for breaking news, features and other important information that readers throughout Ontario have come to rely on from Village Media.

To quote Jeff Elgie, the CEO of Village: "A marriage of print and digital? We propose this could be the best of both worlds: our team heavily focused on digital while helping to offset some of the costs of printing a newspaper. You'll get a better digital product and a longer life for the printed paper. Everyone wins!"

Especially the people of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Our exciting new partnership will mean more stories that matter: the ones right in your neighbourhood. More breaking news. More in-depth features. More transparency. More local, on-the-ground reporting.

And of course, more “people in the paper.”

Michael Friscolanti is Editor-In-Chief at Village Media. To sign up for's email newsletter, click HERE.


Michael Friscolanti

About the Author: Michael Friscolanti

Michael Friscolanti is Editor-In-Chief of Village Media, which owns and operates 19 local news websites across Ontario, including this one
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