Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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Covering local councils a key part of community journalism

One of the principal jobs of community newspapers is coverage of local politics, especially the work of municipal councils.

Over the past 25 years, reporters at the paper have dealt with many elected officials, developing varying relationships. While it’s not always smooth sailing – it’s not breaking news to say journalists and politicians don’t always see eye to eye, but both essentially work for the public trust.

Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz has interacted with the media in several capacities over the years, including in her capacity as a volunteer with Woolwich Minor Hockey and at the start of her political career as a school board trustee in 1997.

She started to have more interactions with The Observer when she became a councillor and then mayor in 2014.

“I think it’s important to have local newspapers especially in this day and age as things have progressed, and social media has become more prevalent. I think good-quality reporting is important for people because a lot of the information that we get is not well researched. So, I think local newspapers have a really important role to play in that,” said Shantz.

“I would say congratulations to the Woolwich Observer on this milestone. When the paper first started, it served to challenge the opinions of our other local paper. While we often philosophically have to agree to disagree, The Observer continues to hold the important role of questioning current events and issues. In the end, it is constructive dialogue that leads to better decisions and makes our society a better place. All the best for the next 25 years!”

Wellesley Mayor Joe Nowak shares that sentiment regarding the importance of the local paper in the community. He says he has always been open to speaking with reporters and that his interactions have been constructive, by and large.

“It’s always been positive, I mean I’ve had a very good rapport –  I’ve always been open to speak with… whoever may be getting in touch with me. I go back a long time [in municipal politics]. When you have the newspaper come out, within a few days after a council meeting, with the accurate information I think it’s extremely valuable. Oftentimes it counters, some of the comments that I’ve seen on social media,” said Nowak. “I believe that we need print media for accurate sources for truthful reporting of news. I feel this is especially important at a time when people seem to get a lot of their information from social media, and not from present sources so I just want to take a moment to congratulate the Observer for their 25 years of service to the community and I just want to reiterate the fact that you’re providing a very important service to this community and I thank you for that.”

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