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COLUMN: When local journalism thrives, so does your city

A welcome note from Village Media’s Editor-in-Chief

If I had to summarize local journalism in one sentence, this would be it: We put people in the paper. (Or in our case, on the website.)

That may sound simplistic, even surprising. Isn’t journalism all about digging for truth? Holding power to account? Shining a spotlight on important, sometimes uncomfortable issues that deserve our immediate attention? Absolutely — and at Village Media, we do that crucial work everyday in cities all across the province.

But in our constant pursuit of the next breaking story, we never forget the angle that matters most: people. As a proudly independent local news company, our primary mission is to strengthen and connect our community — and be a reflection of it. So every time we tell a person’s unique story, every time we feature a new name and face on our hometown website, we reinforce that sense of community a little bit more.

To me, that is the magic of local journalism. It reminds us, one headline at a time, that we share things in common. That we are in this together. That we all belong.

Launched this morning, BurlingtonToday is exactly that: a place where everyone belongs. Free of charge and easy to navigate, our digital-first content is available to anyone looking for hyperlocal news coverage that is trusted, accurate and up-to-the-minute. In a world so chaotic, so full of spin and misinformation, the stories we tell in our own neighbourhoods have never been more essential.

Research has shown, again and again, that vibrant local journalism has a positive impact on our day-to-day lives. City councils are more transparent, voter turnout is higher, corruption has no place to hide, and facts have a fighting chance. Simply put, a local news outlet like ours is a beacon, a place to turn when you need to know what’s really going on: the good, the bad, and everything in between.

BurlingtonToday is Village Media’s 19th owned and operated local news website in Ontario, joining nearby newsrooms such as HaltonHillsToday, GuelphToday and ThoroldToday. While so many other Canadian media outlets are downsizing and disappearing, we are doubling down — convinced that the best in community journalism is yet to come.

Our editor at BurlingtonToday is Brenda Jefferies, a talented, award-winning journalist who has worked in local newsrooms for nearly two decades. Joining her on the team is Tania Theriault, who recently returned to Canada after years spent reporting overseas, including stints at BBC Radio and the Jersey Evening Post

For me, this particular site launch is a little extra special. Born and raised in Hamilton, I grew up next door to Burlington, where many friends and relatives now live. Like you, I’ve enjoyed the bars and restaurants downtown, strolled through city parks — and sat in traffic on the QEW. I understand what makes Burlington such a unique and interesting place, and why you are proud to call it home.

And like you, I know there’s an endless amount of compelling local stories that deserve a lot more attention. More breaking news. More in-depth features. More Burlington.

And of course, more “people in the paper.”

Michael Friscolanti is Editor-In-Chief of Village Media. Have a news tip? Be sure to reach out at [email protected].

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Michael Friscolanti

About the Author: Michael Friscolanti

Michael Friscolanti is Editor-In-Chief of Village Media, which owns and operates 19 local news websites across Ontario, including this one
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