Welcome to the March issue of the Cooperator. As we head toward the anniversary of our 5th year of publishing, we would like to thank everyone who has helped us along the way—our readers, our writers and photographers, and the advertisers whose support has sustained the publication.
At the national level, the newspaper business has been in trouble for years, as owners whittle away at news staff or just plain go out of business.
In the face of worsening conditions at big city papers, we knew five years ago that getting a good community paper up and running on the Eastern Shore would be a challenge—and that it would take a long-term commitment to build up a reputation as a reliable and trusted source of news and information.
But we knew the Eastern Shore was a very special place, and that a community paper could make the Shore a better place to live for everyone by bringing the Shore’s widely separated communities together.
Rural communities are struggling everywhere in Canada. But the people of the Eastern Shore face a problem found almost no where else in Canada: we live in a rural area, but because of the forced amalgamation of 1996, the federal government classifies us as “urban,” cutting us off from all of the federal programs designed to benefit rural areas.
And it’s no surprise that the majority of HRM Councillors, who can walk the boundaries of their urban districts in a few hours, ignore our almost entirely rural district sprawling along some 150km of shoreline.
The Cooperator brings the Shore together with news about the problems we face, and the people and organizations working hard every day to make the Shore a better place to live.
And the Cooperator consistently highlights the cultural riches of the Shore, starting with the creativity and ingenuity of the artists and craftspeople who have chosen the Shore as their home. And we share stories about our history, like our report on the impact of the Halifax Explosion of 1917 on the Eastern Shore.
In order to do a better job in the years to come, we are planning to increase the size of the paper and the number of stories that we can bring to you every month, both in print and on the Internet.
March 1 will be a special day in the growth of the Cooperator. We will be releasing a short video online that sums up what we have accomplished thus far. Several of our advertisers appear to explain why they’ve been buying ad space in the Cooperator, month after month, year after year.
And we’ll be launching our new website (www.easternshorecooperator.ca) on March 1, complete with a full e-commerce section so that advertisers can order and pay for their ads online. The website will also have a new Classified section to make it easy for people to reach the 14,000 households that we mail to.
You can help us make the Cooperator better. If you’re running a business, give us a call (902-414-7942) and our ad manager will explain why advertising in a publication that people actually read produces better results than a plain business directory.
If you’re a loyal reader, you can share your ideas and suggestions about stories we should cover (902-889-2331, or [email protected]). And you can ask the businesses you frequent to advertise with the Cooperator as a way of demonstrating their commitment to the communities of the Eastern Shore.
Again, thank you to everyone who has played a role in the Cooperator’s first four years of publication. With your help, we look forward to serving the readers and businesses of the Eastern Shore for many years to come.