‘We struggle from issue-to-issue’: Edmonton community newspaper empathizes after Vue Weekly closure
After Vue Weekly, Edmonton’s alternative newspaper, announced it would be shutting down at the end of November, another community paper is making a plea for support as it empathizes with diminishing resources.
The Rat Creek Press (RCP) serves seven communities in north central Edmonton: Alberta Avenue, Delton, Eastwood, Elmwood Park, Parkdale, Cromdale, Spruce Avenue and Westwood.
In a Facebook post by the Alberta Avenue Community Centre announcing the paper’s Annual General Meeting, the plea for the public to attend was strong.
“Save an endangered species!” the post read. “The only way papers like ours will survive is if we, as a community, make it happen.”
Like Vue Weekly, RCP is also experiencing diminishing resources due to declining advertisement revenue.
“Having everything free online has a cost,” said Karen Mykeitka, RCP’s publisher. “We’re losing a lot of things because of that. People have to be willing to support and contribute to media and publications because they’re never free.
“Someone’s paying somewhere along the line.”
With declining revenues, the newspaper has recently had to create new ways to generate income.
“With advertising down this past year, we’ve had to look at other sources of funding,” Mykeitka said. “We’ve turned to our readers.”
A program called Friends of RCP involves readers buying a membership with a $10 or more donation, which offers perks like discounts on advertising online and in print.
Despite this, the paper struggles to stay afloat.
“We all struggle from issue-to-issue and year-to-year to make sure we stay in the black,” said Mykeitka.
She said the paper’s circulation is vital to its seven communities near 118 Avenue to connect people and promote a positive image.
“This community newspaper goes hand in hand with the revitalization of the neighbourhood,” Mykeitka said.
Some of the communities RCP serves can’t afford newsletters but rely on it for announcements, Mykeitka said. At the paper’s meeting — at Parkdale Community League Centre on Wednesday at 7 p.m. — it hopes to strengthen bonds with the communities it caters to.
“We’re working to develop stronger relationships with all our seven neighbourhoods,” Mykeitka said.
“We’re working with them more closely to make sure we’re covering the issues and the news that are important to them.”
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