Last year, in the Q3 and Q4 Print Editions of Exchange Magazine, I hinted at some significant changes to come. In the Q4 edition I announced that the print edition, the one that has been published by Exchange Business Communications. Inc. and distributed by Canada Post over the last 38 years, was being shuttered.
Today comes another announcement. Effective immediately, exchangemagazine.com will be retiring from the aggregate business and economic development news and distribution side of publishing. As publisher, I will be focusing on other, dare I say, "more enjoyable pursuits" while playing around with digital media and the various social media platforms that will continue to develop and change the way we interact.
Starting next week, subscribers will no longer receive Exchange's Tuesday and Thursday edition. In fact, there will be no more editions at all. As a result, subscribers, some dating back to 2007, will no longer receive Exchange Magazine's Tuesday and Thursday Edition via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or FaceBook.
Moving forward, there will be a two-month shutdown, instead of a complete shut off. Exchangemagazine.com will remain searchable for the month of March and then, in mid April, the exchangemagazine.com site will go into a suspended state.
This decision did not come lightly and was a hard one to make. I believe change is a good thing and removing myself from Exchange's 24/7 environment, is the best one I can make right now, it's for myself. Over my 31 years at Exchange, I have thoroughly enjoyed being active in the community. I've been very fortunate to, not only assign, write and photograph interesting and dynamic people from the area but also to participate by helping an innovative community evolve into an attractive destination for so many globally, technologically-oriented aspirations.
As a publisher and community board member, I've participated in and reported on the interacting groups that together create the region's technological ecosystem; from tourism, education, entrepreneurship to enterprise attraction and economic development.
In the late 90's, as a founding director of Canada's Technology Triangle, I drove the need for business, institutions, associations and government to work collaboratively together to attain greater synergy. At the request of the province and feds, I repeated my presentation, first given to the community of Waterloo Region on the "importance of collaboration" . The rest became history. It was an thoroughly enjoyable process, as I worked together with talented, visionary community stewards who, along with the current and future stakeholders, put the area of Waterloo on the world's technological and innovation map.
I have many wonderful memories from these experiences, and very few regrets.
As for the state of the local news publishing industry, it will survive and like all industries evolve, but it will be very different to what it was 31 years ago. The trend is for big to get bigger. Because of scale, innovative models risks getting lost in the crowd, this is where investment comes in. Since my time in economic development, many communities have caught up with us, and many communities are now discovering they should. Digital, after all is a liberating tool, the best one in the remote or distant workers tool shed. We can work from anywhere.
These communities are looking to find a way to keep generating fees and attracting people with meaningful opportunities; not to sell a simple product but to sell a complex destination. The goal of attracting those who see Kitchener/Waterloo as the place to try idea's out, whatever the idea is - is still "the main goal". To show the world that Waterloo is an authentic place to live, work, play, and innovate, is more important today than it was back in 1997.
As for the current news content industry, it's in a state of conflict and change. There will always be a need for news, delivering business news in an engaging way is a tough gig. McSensational is grabbing all the eyeballs via McGoogle, McApple and McFacebook news platforms, allowing McFraud and McFake a way into the McNews part of your feed, requiring everyone to be more mentally McIndependent.
Turning off or filtering your channels, seems to be the preferred method of managing the growing volume of digital dangers but it also limits the "in the know" factor. Regardless of how, McCrook has a strange way of getting through personal and digital firewalls - it happens, so as we all venture into the digital future, be aware.
Thank you all for affording me your precious time. I've enjoyed tremendously sharing the fascinating stories of the people of Waterloo Region and Guelph. We truly have great and innovative people whose punch will continue to be "well above their weight class", and who together will drive Waterloo's future in so many areas.
Congratulations to you all.