New community newspapers launching in Ottawa this week

Residents in Ottawa's west and south ends will soon find a new community paper waiting in their mailbox. Four newspapers will be launching this month under the banner of Your Community Voice.

Papers will be delivered to more than 85,000 homes and businesses

Four community newspapers will be launching in Ottawa this month under the banner of Your Community Voice. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Residents in Ottawa's west and south ends will soon find a new community paper waiting in their mailbox.

Four newspapers will be launching this month under the banner of Your Community Voice:

  • The Alta Vista Canterbury Community Voice
  • The Hunt Club Riverside Park Community Voice
  • The Greenboro South Keys Community Voice
  • The Kanata Stittsville Community Voice

The first editions of the papers covering the south end of the city will be distributed Thursday, while the Kanata Stittsville edition will start being delivered next Thursday.

Patrick Uguccioni, editor of Your Community Voice, said the content will be similar to what readers found in the previous Metroland newspapers serving their area.

"Our philosophy is in the name of the newspaper," Uggucionni said. "We're going to be a reflection of the community, covering what's important to them."

Filling the void left by Metroland

Last November, Postmedia and Torstar announced plans to swap and shutter 24 community newspapers, including the Metroland chain of papers.

At the time, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey said the newspaper industry is a shrinking business without enough ad revenue to go around.

That's when publisher Mike Wollock decided to step in.

Your Community Voice publisher Mike Wollock says he's confident his biweekly delivery plan will get advertisers on board. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

"I got angry," he recalled. "I said, 'This is going to really hurt the community. It's going to hurt local businesses.'"

While there's an abundance of national and international news online, Wollock said, Your Community Voice will cover neighbourhood issues that readers can't always find online.

"We focus on what's happening in your backyard — what's happening in a 30-block radius around your home," he said.

Delivery every 2 weeks

The papers will be delivered every two weeks to more than 85,000 homes and businesses across the city, Wollock said.

"By coming out every second week, we halve the cost, and also it reduces the advertiser fatigue," he said. "You're not going back to the same people week after week after week."

Some criticized the Metroland chain of newspapers as little more than vehicles for advertising, with too little editorial content.

Last November, Postmedia announced it would shut down the free commuter daily newspaper Metro Ottawa after acquiring it from Torstar. (Laura Beaulne-Stuebing/CBC)

Roughly 70 per cent of the new papers will be devoted to advertising, Wollock said, adding that's in line with the standards of the Ontario and Canadian Community Newspaper Associations.

As for what readers can expect in terms of content, Uguccioni said the paper will focus on what's happening around the neighbourhood, at local schools and down at the hockey rinks.

"We're covering the communities," he said. "We're their voice."

Online edition coming soon

Wollock has focused on getting the print edition of the newspapers up and running, but he said he expects to launch an online version within the next two weeks.

It's too soon to tell whether the operation could expand to cover other neighbourhoods, he said.

"Will we move into other areas? Possibly — but I would like to get this up and running first," Wollock said.