It’s no secret that print media is in decline in a world gone digital. Large newspapers such as the Toronto Star are watching their net worth plummet, and others like them are being forced to slash operating budgets.
York Region Chair and long time Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Wayne Emmerson made mention of the changing times on the local print media scene a few months back while honouring long time Stouffville newspaper legend Jim Mason. He noted how the Town’s weekly newspaper publication the Sun-Tribune had of necessity broadened its approach far beyond the confines of the Stouffville community it was once solely committed to. Gone is the day when that paper’s Downtown Stouffville newspaper office was a fixture on Main Street. It has simply become too much of a financial burden to maintain such a high profile facility for either a weekly paper or the three monthlies here in Town.
Thankfully, for a grass roots monthly paper like the Stouffville Free Press it still remains possible to continue to do exactly what we set out to do when we started out back in 2005. It was thought by the 10 original residents who banded together to found, and fund, the Free Press start up that the paper could serve the vital purpose of providing Whitchurch-Stouffville residents with an all-local paper that could contain stories of interest and local relevance while providing an opportunity for Town organizations and volunteer initiatives to have a format in which they could inform people as to what they are about.
Eleven plus years later we are still providing this service to Whitchurch-Stouffville residents, with a print run that has increased from 9,500 to 15,500 delivered by Canada Post to a town has grown at an unprecedented rate. The paper continues to be viable mainly because of the myriad of citizens who contribute stories, reports and other useful local information, either at no cost or for far less than they might otherwise be charging. Free Press stories both past and present can be accessed at stouffville.com, and in recent months Laura Volpe, daughter of Free Press writer Hannelore Volpe, has taken it upon herself to enhance the Free Press online presence by maximizing the use of social media avenues such as facebook.
We at the Free Press are grateful to the faithful advertisers who have ‘partnered’ with us through the last 11 years by showing faith in our paper’s ability to help promote their business. This has provided the financial support needed to enable us to continue to make our contribution to life here in Whitchurch-Stouffville. We also give thanks to the many Town residents who tell us they always enjoy reading our paper from cover to cover.
Despite the obstacles we face in these changing times, we hope we can continue to live up to your expectations for a while to come.