- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

For my 60th birthday I threw myself a birthday party up at Elsie's Diner (which is always celebrating the decade in which I was born). I invited guests to put their spare change into a jar, promising only that I would “do something good with it”.

That money was part of the purchase of OwenSoundHub.org eight years ago. I bought this online newspaper from its founders to keep it from being mothballed when Michael Den Tandt and Paul Lachine were sent off on their “Further Adventures of...”

I have been very grateful for the skill and hard work of Kelly Babcock and Jody Johnson Pettit who kept us on-line over these eight years. And it was a very happy day indeed when experienced photo-journalist David Galway walked through our door last year and joined the party.

Hundreds of other members of our community have contributed to the Owen Sound Hub over its ten years on-line, including letter writers, co-op students, and guest opinion columnists. Most notably, Cathy Hird has been writing her weekly Between Our Steps column since the very beginning.

Thousands of media releases and announcements, growing by the month, have been sent to us to be shared with our community. Dozens of requests come in every week for further information, clarification or investigation of issues in our community and region.

But the Hub is, in too many ways to be reasonable, a one-woman circus.

It is has been dangling on one foot on a technological ledge for some time, and occasionally slipped off for hours or even days. It was the one thing I told Michael I feared most when I sat with him at my kitchen table  – the Ghost of Technology Yet to Come.

Newspapers have depended for over a century on classified ads, obituaries and display ads, all of which have been replaced in large part by Facebook, Google, Kijiji and the websites of funeral parlours and real estate companies. Local businesses have other ways to reach their customers.

We have run through the money from our few generous advertisers because - although my work is pro bono - we do have people and bills to pay. I'm not complaining – these are just the facts.

The good news is that we have a strong, growing and engaged readership who constantly remind me that they want what we are working to provide – a local media outlet with a mandate to build community, seek solutions to our local concerns, and amplify the voices of those who are not passed the microphone often enough.

I have always imagined that the Hub would be most sustainable as a community-owned newspaper, although I have yet to find an example of a successful model for such an entity. Financing, governance, editorial policies and just straight-up workload all need to be addressed. Questions like the readership's unhealthy dependence on Facebook need to be discussed. I would be happy to sit at that table if invited, but I am not the one to lead that conversation or build that model. 

In the meantime, I have to stop trying to meet everyone's expectations. Everything won't be covered or published. That doesn't mean I don't care about your organization or issue, or think that it is important to our community. I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I need to move more and write more and spend less time on things that are so far from my own strengths. We hope you will still find the Hub fills a niche in your daily routine. Thank you for your patience.

Another significant birthday lies ahead for me this October, one I hope to celebrate in good health with a great party, ideally toasting a new chapter in the life of the Owen Sound Hub as a community-owned newspaper. If not, it will be like any good wake, full of great memories.





CopyRight ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 of Hub Content
is held by content creators