The Journal Pioneer is asking the community it has served for 152 years to Open Up and share thoughts on the future of local media.
The Open Up Project was launched earlier this year by the newspaper’s parent company, Saltwire Network, with a goal of starting a conversation about the future of the Prince County-based publication. Similar initiatives are underway for the other publications in the network.
As part of that effort, the Journal Pioneer held a special event Thursday evening with about 80 community stakeholders in attendance.
Saltwire’s president and chief executive officer, Mark Lever, welcomed those in attendance and invited them to participate in the future of local media.
“We understand that local media is more important today – not less. Obviously there is disruption and there’s social media, but we think in a post-truth world, that it’s really important in the era of Donald Trump, that there are recognized brands that are tied into the communities that they serve,” said Lever.
“So we’re totally focused on rebuilding the stature of these brands that are such important parts of the histories of the communities that they’re in.”
Lever invited those at the gathering to record their commentary and share their thoughts through various mediums.
The Open Up Project will be ongoing for at least the next few years, he said.
Readers can also participate by leaving their comments online at www.openupproject.ca.
One of those in attendance Thursday evening was recently retired West Prince doctor and former politician, Herb Dickieson.
Liking what he heard from Lever, Dickieson said, he’s hopeful the Journal Pioneer and its Charlottetown-based sister paper The Guardian can chart a future in the changing, and challenging, media landscape.
Fortunately, both papers are respected local institutations, so they already have that advantage, he added.
“I think the secret to their success, and I think they know this, is that they have to maintain a tradition of good coverage of local issues that are important to all the communities of P.E.I. Also, they have to be futuristic and innovative in the way that they approach stories,” said Dickieson.
“So I think if they stay on the leading edge, both in terms of keeping up with the communities of the Island and also staying on the leading edge of technology, I think both newspapers have a bright future.”