Saturday, August 22, 2015

State of the Voice August 2015

Christian Davis, Founder, Pincher Creek Voice

Dear reader,

We've been publishing the Pincher Creek Voice for more than 4 years now.  We missed out on having a party to celebrate the anniversary this year.  We were busy.

Several major events forced us to approach publishing a little differently from our usual standard in our last quarter.  We moved our home, we moved our office back home, and we renovated as quickly as possible at the same time.  We also dealt with an unexpected meltdown of Voice Computer 1, which caused continual unexpected delays for new stories, video, and in-progress stories stuck on a hard drive that was failing.  The rescue is almost complete now, and there's a new Computer 1 on the block, and it rocks.

Things are returning to normal.

We've streamlined our business significantly, in order to face the challenges of the next years of publication.

We no longer have a public office, and that's a big change.  We'd love to hear from our readers and advertisers if they have concerns about that.  Contact us at or via telephone at 403-751-0025, or in person of course.  Your feedback matters.

We're in a small competitive market.  As we approach the end of our first 5 year plan for the Voice we are contemplating the 10-20 year plan.  It's likely our next publisher is still in grade school somewhere, so we have time to adjust that longer term plan.

Toni and I founded the Pincher Creek Voice based on a concept we explored with its predecessor, the now dormant Cowley Voice.  Community news that covered the spread as much as possible, as consistently as possible, and as extensively as possible.  We embraced social media instead of fighting it, at a time when print was still suspiciously sniffing the edges.

We're seeking a balance between hard news and community coverage.  Both are equally important to this publication.  Milestones matter.  They're a measurement tool for our future to compare itself against its past.  That has always been the lasting impact of the vitality of media.

Media is more vital and more vitally important than ever before.  Everyone with a cell phone is a reporter.  Everyone has a story.

We've experimented with the parameters of community reporting over the last four years.  We will continue to do so, because we either innovate or perish.  This publication doesn't have money behind it, it has sweat equity.  It had no debt either, until we became profitable.  Now the tax department wants its cut.  And so it goes.

We're raising our starting hourly rate for employees to $15/hr effective September 1, because we believe its the right thing to do, and paying what will likely be the next minimum wage before its instituted will put us ahead of the curve in terms of incorporating it into our budget.

Over the next six months we will be hiring many casual helpers for a variety of stories and projects, from the local talent pool.  We also welcomed Caleb Evans to the team, as a part time community and sports reporter.  He's proving invaluable.

Over the course of the last quarter, while we effected the big changes alluded to before, the Pincher Creek Voice has been second on the priority list, for the first time since it was established.

We still attended many events, and spent many hours assembling the stories.  What I deliberately removed from the equation way back in June was the panic of "deadline".  We'll be catching up on the rest of August before we go on our two day vacation.  We will be closed August 30/31.  If you have an event on one of those days that you'd like us to cover, let us know asap.

We're settled in now, and effective September 1 expect to be running as smoothly as this kind of business allows.

Thank you to everyone who helped us this summer.

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