It was with much excitement and anticipation that we launched NewmarketToday.ca five years ago to fill the need for local news and information focused on our community.
It is no small thing to celebrate our success story as the media industry continues to face one merciless onslaught after another.
As a reporter and editor for more than three decades in York Region, I’m grateful to have been able to pursue my passion for excellence in community journalism, first with the once mighty Metroland at York Region Media Group and now with Village Media — whose mission to save local news and strengthen communities makes this journalist’s heart sing.
Village Media, born digital, is thriving with more than five million weekly readers and 78 local news sites. I’m proud we give back with our Random Acts of Kindness and Community Cares sponsorships and programs.
For the first time since we launched, Village Media has only now slowed the pace of expansion and investment in local news in more communities as a result of Bill C-18, which has meant that we, and our readers, can no longer share our content on Facebook and Instagram. Our inspiring CEO Jeff Elgie has been a clear-headed and outspoken critic of this federal legislation before it was even passed, predicting its — to use his word — “devastating” impact on an already embattled sector.
The success we’re celebrating at NewmarketToday is not only due to our hard-working, dedicated team, but to the community that has embraced the arrival of a news site devoted to Newmarket — our readers, community partners and advertisers.
I want to give a shout-out to our first reporter, Kim Champion, who helped me create a place where your voice can be heard, and who set the pace for the kind of journalism for which we have become known — compelling storytelling that celebrates our community and its people, and hard-hitting and probing articles that raise awareness about issues challenging our community like homelessness and poverty — all with the intent of strengthening our community.
Now, our reporter Joseph Quigley not only loves to dig deep on town hall coverage and other government-related issues in Newmarket and York Region, but he enjoys telling the stories of the people — and sometimes their animals, too — that connect our community. His What's Going Up series and articles on growth and development, including this feature on one of the last local farmers, are reader favourites.
Shining a light on challenges facing our community and possible solutions are highlighted in our When Ends Don't Meet series. And we wrap up every year with our Community Angels features that highlight the people and organizations that make our community a great place to live by giving back or pushing for change, like our Queen of Newmarket, 'sock lady' and inclusivity advocate.
Our newest team member, general assignment reporter Rob Paul, not only focuses on breaking news and crime stories, but shares the stories that hit home, like the woman relying on shelters to help her escape an abusive partner who had the courage to speak up about the faults of the system, and the "gentle giant" who has found purpose in volunteering to ensure the community fridge is a success.
Freelance photographer Greg King has captured breaking news events, as well as the faces of Newmarket in his regular event coverage since we first launched — including 'non-human' ones like the black bear that unexpectedly came to town, not to mention Newmarket's 'celebrity duck,' getting the local scoop on what became a global story.
Also with us from the beginning, is History Hound Richard MacLeod, who has been a highly popular weekly columnist, sharing both the stories of the recent past and the roots of the Newmarket that we know today in his Remember This columns.
Thank you, Newmarket, please join us for a celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Metropolis Mercantile at 185 Main St. South anytime from 10 a.m. to noon. The coffee is on us.
If you would like to support the Fill a Purse for a Sister Campaign when you drop by, please bring a gently used or new purse filled with personal care items. To find out more about the annual campaign that helps bring hope and dignity to local women in crisis in shelters and crisis centres, visit https://fillapurseforasistercampaign.ca/