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Village Media Bulletin: October Update

All posts 04 Oct 2022

It's scary season, Villagers 🎃

But there will be no tricks in our newsletter this month - just treats! Including a highlight of uplifting community initiatives, new job opportunities and platform update rollouts.

What's New?

SooToday staffer Riley, delivering cookies to the local Soup Kitchen
The SooToday Cares team drops off Smile Cookies to the local Soup Kitchen

SooToday readers help buy 1,000 Smile Cookies for local Soup Kitchen

The Cares team helped share a lot of smiles to Sault Ste. Marie residents this week with a SooToday campaign where we bought a Smile Cookie on behalf of every reader who entered our Smile Cookie contest!

Thanks to our reader participation we were able to purchase 1,000 Smile Cookies (with proceeds going directly to ARCH Hospice and The Twinkie Foundation) and donate them to the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre. The Soup Kitchen staff and volunteers were thrilled to see how many boxes (dozens!) of cookies we had for them to give to community members who rely on their organization each day.

Platform update rollouts

Our outbound project is now complete, which handles all of our content publishing to social media without requiring a third-party tool. It updates social channels immediately, allows us to moderate Facebook comments from within the platform and provides the ability to promote Facebook comments to the bottom of articles on the site. It is live on SooToday now and will be rolled out in all markets in the coming weeks.

On the horizon is our business onboarding project, which after several months is now in the final stages of testing and quality assurance. This improves business onboarding, the business dashboard and self-serve reporting in a significant update.

Our developers are also continuing work on the notifications project, which will allow our readers to follow reporters, categories of content or even classified categories and get notified by push notifications on their menu bar or by email.

AlimoshoToday hosts Leaders of Tomorrow event

A full theatre of students

In September, our community-minded team at held a conference in Lagos, Nigeria, for hundreds of graduating high school students to speak with them about the path to success.

The Leaders of Tomorrow conference featured speakers from various backgrounds, providing the students with helpful insights about post-secondary education and career choices. Speaking via video, one of those leaders was our very own Jeff Elgie!

Learning to live

If there was ever an example of how impactful local news can be to an individual, community and movement, it is the story of Noah Irvine.

At five years old, Noah’s mother died by suicide. When he was 15, his father died from a prescription drug overdose. Noah wanted to see change and advocate for better support for people living with mental health and addiction issues. He wrote to every MP in Canada to discuss this issue and how improvements could be made, but very few replied. That is where Village Media’s Kenneth Armstrong comes in. He connected with Noah and shared his story and efforts to advocate for change. The GuelphToday story went viral within hours of being published and by 7 a.m. the next morning, the Prime Minister’s Office was working hard to get a hold of Noah.

Now 22 years old, Noah is a University of Guelph student who has written a book, Learning to Live, about his journey so far. Proceeds from the book go toward a scholarship fund Noah set up for other orphans who wish to go to university, college or trade school.

Noah’s book features a chapter, titled ‘Thanks Ken’, that recounts how his life took a surprising turn after the GuelphToday story caught fire, catapulting him from a shy high school student to a national advocate for mental health literally overnight.

An excerpt from the chapter drives that fact home:

“In exactly one month following that first article by Ken, I had been recognized in both the House of Commons and the Ontario Legislative Assembly. I had met with countless politicians and made my parents’ story one that would not be easily forgotten, It was all because one journalist at a small local paper believed that my story was worth sharing. Had it not been for Ken, my story would not have been elevated to the highest levels of our democratic institutions.”

Noah’s story is a testament to the vital work our editorial teams are doing each day to amplify meaningful stories in the communities we serve.

Local election pages are live

Make your vote count! Find the latest municipal election coverage here.

Have you checked out the new election pages? They are now live on all of our sites. Just look for the above graphic on the homepage to visit the new section, which offers a centralized spot for everything you need to know about the upcoming municipal elections — from candidates to the big issues to where you can vote.

Local News Collective is off to a strong start

Local News Collective

The Local News Collective is currently being introduced to agencies and large buyers with the goal of continuing to drive programmatic rates and revenue with the first-of-its-kind Canadian network of local news publishers. The early progress with introducing the network has been excellent with strong interest from agencies.

Our Village is growing

As we prepare to expand to two new Ontario communities, Burlington and Milton, we have a number of new job opportunities open. If you know anyone who would be a fit for an editorial or sales position in those two cities, be sure to send them the details!

Community support

It was another busy month for Village event sponsorships in our communities!

Some of the events and non-profit organizations we sponsored in September include:

VR Pro Race Series, Parkinson Canada SuperWalk

Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition

Resources for Seniors Broomfield - Car show & golf tournament

Pedal for Portage

Taste of Guelph St Joseph's Foundation,The Elliot Community's Great Escape

Georgetown Agricultural Society Fall Fair

VR Pro Race Series

Latino Chamber of Commerce - Latino Business Week

Indigenous Arts & Culture Week

Prevention of Elder Abuse York Region

Habitat For Humanity Sault Burger, Kidney Foundation 2022 Kidney Walk

Dragon Boat Festival, Stratford Kiwanis Club, One Care's Grand Parade Walkathon
Cinefest, Valley East Days

Timmins Agricultural Society - Fall Fair

Well-deserved accolades for Zack!

Zack Trunzo

A big congratulations to our own Zack Trunzo, who won the Alternative Film Festival’s Short Category: Best Cinematography award for his work on the short film Deano’s at Three.

Great job, Zack! 👏

Pawesome Villagers of the month🐾

Two dogs, Hudson and Bruce, standing on the shore of Lake Superior

You know them, you love them:

It's the dynamic duo of Bruce, the 140-pound Leonberger, and Hudson the friendly Golden Retriever. These two commute 56km each way to the office every day. Commitment!

(proud parent: Jake Cormier)

Fun fact of the month:

Did you know?

Orillia was the second place in the world to get daylight saving time!

Despite the controversy around pushing the clocks forward at the start of the 20th century, Orillia moved forward with doing just that in June 1912. This put them down in the history books as the second location in the world to do so, after Thunder Bay implemented it a few years earlier.

The experiment only lasted for two weeks as many workers in the town refused to acknowledge the time change, leaving factories running on two different time zones.

The daylight saving measure didn’t catch on more widely until a couple of years later with the start of the First World War, in an effort to increase war production. The more you know 🙂

That's a wrap!