What's this you're reading?

Posted 01.31.15

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Most local people seem happy Aylmer has its own newspaper. Thanks in part to the Bulletin, the Aylmer sector is considered fortunate across Gatineau. Aylmer residents seem more active at city council and at other exchanges. Officials agree that Aylmer residents are aware of the issues of the day and are more willing to speak up about them.

The Bulletin receives more letters from its readers than most other weeklies in Quebec, and as much as many daily papers. Every news item and every letter is vetted and edited -- checks that aren't in the on-line world where anyone can post anything, true or not.

How many of us know what makes a newspaper work? We have reporters who go out and get the news. This news is edited, laid out, printed up, and delivered, right? And that makes a newspaper?

Before Christmas I passed one of our team who had been on the phone for over an hour discussing the price of information inserts from the city. They were going back and forth about pennies! So many grams of weight, so many copies, to be delivered in some areas, but not all, etc. -- pennies add up.

Another lady, in charge of deliveries, is filling out forms for our delivery audit, so we can prove that the Bulletin reaches the people and families we claim. This takes hours. She confers with our delivery man, calls the post office on a detail, and she references the ad-bag delivery zones. All while fielding calls from the public and people who walk in with requests.

In the production room there are several full-time designers producing the ads, including our graphics chief who has won several province-wide ad design awards. Besides their screens, they are consulting the ad orders, the page-dummy sheets, publishing calendar, specs from advertising houses, and so on.

Then there are the advertising-sales -- the heart of the Bulletin. To make the paper work -- to afford to distribute it free to every home in town and pay our staff, our ads are crucial, and ads must be sold. Business owners have to be shown the statistics – and all the advertising options. No ads, no free newspaper. These reps require a manager -- there's a super-busy position -- all keeping the ads straight.

By the time I reach the journalist office, I've passed most of our large staff, all local people. The editor is dealing with free-lancers, columnists, photographers, tips and requests, and politicians. I spend days every week just editing articles and letters. We have proof-readers, the classifieds ads section, plus the crucial accounts people who deal with sales tax issues, credit card payments, invoicing and updating accounts, and creating projections. The manager over all these people and tasks deserves a Nobel Prize.

All to say, a newspaper is more than just gathering the news. And important to say, it's all done here in Aylmer by local people who also live around us, shop here, send their kids to our schools -- this newspaper is a dynamic member of our community!


Copyright © 2015 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/01.15