How is the Bulletin doing?
As 2019 comes to a close, and Christmas gatherings allow for more casual conversation, one main topic keeps coming back. “How is the Bulletin doing?” is that question.
Last autumn, the Bulletin was struggling like the rest of the country’s newspapers. In fact, a fundraising effort called “Love the Bulletin” ran throughout the fall to help the paper get through a difficult season. Aylmer responded, thank you! The idea was that since the paper is delivered free in the PubliSac to every home – an expensive way to deliver a newspaper – we could change to a subscription model in the face of financial difficulty. While more honestly reflective of the work carried out by the Bulletin team, I was very much opposed to the idea.
The Bulletin is a newspaper for the people. This works, as reflected in the number of letters to the editor received. And delivering the paper to every home has been a foundation of the paper for so long that many readers actually consider it to be ‘their’ paper. It isn’t; it is a private newspaper and an expensive one to run because of the high printing and delivery costs.
Cutting the free distribution went counter to everything the Bulletin stands for. But for the purposes of a fundraiser last year, the Bulletin asked the public to buy “symbolic subscriptions”. They paid as if they were subscribing to get it delivered at home by Canada Post, yet had no change to service (therefore a pure ‘profit’ for the paper). At the time we needed it, Aylmer helped.
In 2019, we did no such fundraiser. The team is very pleased to report that with sound financial management, changes to the advertising consultant team and some help from the federal government to help pay the costs of a journalism intern, the Bulletin d’Aylmer is closing 2019 in a strong position. The city of Gatineau has used the paper with paid advertising to inform residents about city affairs, to the great appreciation of the Bulletin and residents.
Newspapers are needed more than ever in this era of fake news. There is plenty of real news to report! The newsroom has not quieted down one bit in terms of news tips. So the team knows they are valued by the community.
The other element to the success of both the community and the newspaper is the business climate. Advertisers are getting a return on their advertising investments in the Bulletin. In plain words, this means advertising in the paper works. In the aftermath of the rush towards online ads that don’t work well enough on their own, advertisers are making use of their local paper.
It all comes down to the readers, and we thank Bulletin readers. Thank you for shopping with our advertisers. Thank you for writing letters to the editor and thank you for sending in news tips.
There is one more edition of the Bulletin this year. A paper will be delivered on Christmas Day, our gift to readers. In the new year, Aylmer will find the Aylmer Business Directory in the PubliSac. This is a shop-local guide produced by the team at the Bulletin. Everyone hopes Aylmer makes use of it all year long, as with the upcoming 50 editions of the Bulletin. Happy reading!