As a print publication, we have some concerns with the direction Rocky View County (RVC) is taking its advertising policies.
The County’s approval of an amendment to its Land Use Bylaw on July 14 has the effect of halting newspaper advertising by RVC. It builds upon a November 2019 decision to pivot away from using print publications in favour of the County's website to advertise.
This decision obviously impacts our newspaper, as our publication has been a platform for RVC’s advertisements in the past. In 2019, RVC spent $60,000 on advertising in our publication.
RVC argues its website and social media channels can reach the entire population of the county, but the current numbers don't back that claim up – RVC's social media followings are relatively small, and with many rural areas, some residents have poor or no internet service.
There's also the issue of transparency. In a phone interview, Reeve Greg Boehlke said advertising on its website allows RVC to “have control over what we put out there as a story of what actually happened.” We find that perspective concerning.
Like the County, we also increasingly use our website to inform. Every story, photo and letter to the editor published in our newspaper is posted to airdrieTODAY.com. Clearly, society has shifted online.
But that doesn’t change the fact that some residents still rely on print publications to receive news and updates. Seniors in RVC who may not be familiar with the Internet and residents who decides not to have a computer must now call the County to stay informed.
The Rocky View Weekly is a free resource and is delivered to every mailing address in the county, making the information we publish truly available to everyone. Our newspaper strives to report stories objectively, while capturing as many relevant perspectives as possible.
While we appreciate the County’s position, we wish it recognized the value of using print advertisements.