A real game-changer

A decade or so ago, the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, along with many other Vancouver Island community papers, grasped the Internet like a shiny new toy. We tossed stories and pictures onto it, opened those stories up for interactivity and felt, “Ah, we’re digital.”

In short order, that shiny new toy got bigger and bigger and started going faster and faster because consumers demanded more. Last month, The NEWS decided to get on board with the improved technology.

Our regular online readers noticed a striking change to the look of our website last month. But that visual change is merely a symptom of a reinvention of The NEWS. From a newspaper that had a digital platform, we are now a multimedia company focused on a digital platform, but which is still dedicated to delivering the traditional newspaper that’s so familiar to many.

There’s been a shift in our readership. Today, many people consume their news and information differently than they did even 10 years ago. Today digital is king. That’s nothing new but what is new is that mobile is now the crown jewel.

More people are accessing news and information from mobile devices than ever before. The average smartphone user picks up their phone 150 times a day – once every nine minutes. It’s even taking over from the desktop – or laptop – computer.

It’s been a game changer in our hands for some time now.

While our local demographic is still made up of a solid core of traditional newsprint readers, that will be changing in the coming years. Even as retirees continue to be drawn to Parksville Qualicum Beach by its amenities, services and weather, they will increasingly be in step with what many of us have viewed as the digital toys of teens.

The NEWS had to grasp that device (figuratively and literally) if it was to remain relevant to information consumers.

Last month’s new website launch was designed to bring you the news, information and advertising in the way you want it, whether it’s on your mobile phone, tablet or computer and, yes, in the traditional newspaper form as well – those loyal print readers won’t be left behind.

This new, more responsive website will work on any device. All our stories, pictures and videos will give you the same news experience no matter what device you receive it on.

And it will do it better in a nicer looking, better organized layout that is easy to navigate.

But it’s not just a matter of delivery, it’s also a matter of what’s being delivered.

Our digital platform means our news staff have had to change their way of thinking, as well, to give you what you have demonstrated you want.

We are no longer weekly newspaper reporters with a couple of deadlines per week. We are now a daily – even hourly – news team. As soon as news comes in, our digital platform gives us the ability to deliver it to you within minutes.

We are now also a broadcaster. Our new website platform will have more video and more ways to play it.

We’ll also make use of our extensive social media audience. Our stories – your stories – will be shared far and wide on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels.

For advertisers, our digital technology gives local businesses a massive reach. Advertisers will be able to put their ads across thousands of sites. Advertisers can target ideal customers based on age, gender, location, home address, even native language.

They can also target audiences based on what those audiences are doing via search history, online content consumption, transactions, browsing behaviour and clicks.

And through the online version of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News you can read the stories that make this region so great to live in. You can see, in photos and videos, the people and the events that make our lives so dynamic. You can interact with those stories and you can even help shape the stories that get told by easily sending the news team news tips, story ideas and photos using the online form accessed via our website.

In the end, it’s still about news, sports, entertainment and people. It’s just that now you’ll get more of it, you’ll get it sooner. And in the palm of your hand.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News