by JOSEPH NUSSE
Well, here we are!
The Rocky Mountain Goat is officially one year old. I am not going to lie, it was a heck of a lot of work getting here. Setting up the newspaper in the first place was an armload, but to then follow week after week, day after day, producing, editing, laying out and then printing local content is a dedication some would say borders on religious devotion.
So why do we do it? Why the long hours, late nights, broken weekly schedules and little to no social life? Was it all worth it? Without a doubt! I think back to a local article Laura wrote, which we sold to The Globe and Mail. We were delighted to see it placed half page, page six, full colour in the national section. I think back to two separate photos I took and sold to The Prince George Citizen only to see the next day they were on their front page as well. I think back to the re-discovery of massive geothermal potential down Kinbasket Lake and new ideas we featured such as an annual marathon up to Berg Lake, or the sled-assisted ski hill on Mount Diefenbaker.
I look back to the excitement everyone could feel in this town when we came out with our first issue. It was something everyone felt; a locally-owned and operated newspaper was needed again. I believe in small towns, the owner has to be present at the business. If one sits down to do the math, supporting local businesses is like money in your towns bank. Sometimes when I sort through flyers dropped in the town by large big box stores in the city, I wonder just how much local money is spent outside of this town. It is a vicious circle for sure. In order to keep local prices competitive, local businesses need a certain amount of volume in demand.
“I have worked in construction, forestry and many other hard working trades, yet have never felt so exhausted as this. At the same time, I have never had a bigger smile on my face, knowing there was nothing more I could do, and not a single drop of energy left,” Joe Nusse, The Rocky Mountain Goat News co-owner
Our newspaper is doing incredibly well considering how tiny our market is. It was an unlikely success story, and one I will state was earned through hard work and dedication to our values. But I will say that we are not in the clear yet. While established newspapers enjoy countless government subsidies and lucrative government advertising deals, new independent media is left with no options other than hard honest work. For instance, many of our readers already know this, but we lose money on our subscriptions. Why? There is this thing called the Canadian Periodical Fund. While established newspapers enjoy a mailing subsidy, we are told that we do not even qualify, and will not qualify until we have existed two full years. Add $1.25 over two years, and that is how much money it costs us to mail out each subscription. Meanwhile, competing newspapers mail out subscriptions for a few cents.
Membership into the BC and Yukon Community Newspaper Association is also two-tiered. A new newspaper that is partially owned by an owner of an existing member newspaper need only wait one year to qualify for the large benefits afforded by membership. In other words, right now my tax money is going towards subsidizing my competition, and my newspaper does not even qualify for this same program!
As a young person, we are told we live in a free and fair market. Starting a business has taught me we definitely do not.
Folks, we started this newspaper to serve you, this valley, but if we are to continue we need your support.
I have worked in construction, forestry and many other hard working trades, yet have never felt so exhausted as this. At the same time, I have never had a bigger smile on my face, knowing there was nothing more I could do, and not a single drop of energy left. We thank everyone truly for your support, especially those who where there right from the beginning. You know who you are, and you know how much we appreciate you.