Extra, extra, read all about it: new English newspaper launches in Vaudreuil-Soulange area

While COVID-19 has been a death knell for several North American newspapers, a new English-language publication has popped up to serve the Vaudreuil-Soulange community.

The 1019 Report, named for the number of square kilometres covering St. Lazare, Hudson, Vaudreuil and Rigaud, is the brainchild of veteran journalist Brenda O'Farrell, who serves as the newspaper's editor-in-chief. This past week, she was out delivering copies of the first edition and she said the reception has been warm.

“The whole day, people have been stopping me on the street saying 'It's about time, I'd like on of those,'” she said.

Unlike most other newspapers, the 1019 Report can only be found in print, with no online edition. O'Farrell said it's her belief that only large, national papers have a future in the digital realm.

“The more regional newspapers, the papers I grew up with that did everything, the Montreal Gazette and Toronto Star, the big dailies, the floor is falling out from under them,” she said.

To maintain an audience, O'Farrell said her newspaper will keep articles hyper-local. Articles in the first edition include a story about drive-in movies making a comeback in the area and a story about a St-Lazare nurse diagnosed with COVID-19.

The paper launched as others in the area have folded and the Gazette has stopped printing its off-island edition. But O'Farrell said the timing and location are perfect.

“All of a sudden you have a community, a vibrant community with a lot to offer that had no English-language media,” she said. “Now everybody is getting their mind around the fact that with the whole COVID crisis, we have to look at ways of moving forward differently.”

Many of the people involved with the 1019 Report are volunteers or retirees. While the paper does have ads, O'Farrell said she's working towards a revenue model that doesn't rely on them, though she wouldn't reveal what that is. For now, the paper will print every other week, though the goal is to move to weekly eventually.

“It's about the people and places that matter,” said O'Farrell. “It's not going to be about the White House and this, that and the outside world. It's the one thing you don't get right now, it's what's happening here.”

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