After five long years of struggling to make it, SPN will be joining the 250 (ish) other Canadian publications who have had to step away from covering the news over the past decade or so.
I am proud of what SPN has accomplished. SPN created political awareness, which informed voters. That right there is the crux of why media matters. SPN raised thousands of dollars for various fundraisers. It’s given local youth a platform, covered indigenous issues, and put faces to issues like the deadly cost of fentanyl. The April Fools articles I wrote were also a hit in the community. Not to mention the many polls, the health survey, and the Sooke Happiness index. I’ve heard time and time again how SPN informed newcomers to Sooke before they even got here, some of which included business owners. With over seven million visits over the past five years, the accomplishments are truly remarkable.
But the costs were too high and ultimately unsustainable. Besides the obvious financial struggle, there was the stress of legal threats from politicians, high profile individuals and convicted criminals. One legal matter is still outstanding, when all SPN did was report on a publicly available court outcome. There were also the episodic server attacks and take-downs to contend with.
Many of you have watched these struggles, and have sat beside me (in spirit) with bated breath hoping that something will stabilize this undertaking. From fundraisers to memberships, all have been to little avail.
To that end, I’ve accepted work elsewhere.
Sooke PocketNews will also continue but as a hobby. Municipal coverage—by far the most time consuming AND the component that gave SPN its brilliant uniqueness—ends, effective immediately. For now, I will turn SPN over to the community with my role locking in as publisher/editor and not a content provider (reporter/writer, event photographer).
SPN will remain a community publication, but immediate updates (politics, crashes, weather warnings, outages, earthquakes, fires, photo galleries etc) end. Road conditions and closures can always be found on the traffic page and the weather warnings on the weather page. Jobs will continue to be posted twice daily. Daily newsletters will still be pushed out to subscribers. And of course, you can still submit your community press releases and event photographs. SPN will become whatever the community contributes.
SPN will also continue with advertisements, which have always promoted explicitly local community events. The extraordinary and unexpectedly high readership SPN has been able to achieve over the years has meant excellent exposure.
All paid memberships have been cancelled. As I explained to one query, “I cannot accept payment for apples when (metaphorical) oranges are being delivered.”
Lastly, I am open to proposals. If you think you can make a better go of publishing SPN let’s talk! SPN needs someone with a better Sales ability than I’ve been able to muster. Or, if you want to take over the political file, let’s talk! Got other ideas? let’s talk!
I truly believe this: “As journalism goes, so goes democracy.” Now, like you, I’m along for the ride.
Yours with deep appreciation,
Publisher, Sooke PocketNews