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Opinion: Why does The Squamish Chief publish stories online that aren’t about Squamish?

We think it is a win-win.
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Our print paper is all local, all the time.

Increasingly, outlets like The Squamish Chief have been sharing stories that aren’t specifically about the town they are published in.

Why are we doing that?

There are several reasons.

First, the old hyper-local model, where it is local stories only on media sites, doesn’t make as much sense when we all have the world at our fingertips, on our smartphones.

As humans, we care about our neighbours, sure, but we also care about things outside our borders. Think of issues like intimate partner violence, Indigenous rights, rising interest rates and RCMP oversight. Those are issues we care about in Squamish, even if the event that raised the issue didn’t happen here today.

Also, if there is a great new event in Vancouver, a whale spotted  off Bowen Island, or a new airline flying to our favourite vacation destination — Squamish folks likely want to know.

Locals don’t only think about and travel around Squamish, in other words.

Readers ski Whistler and work in Vancouver; they have relatives in Kamloops or friends in Richmond and head to Hawaii or Victoria for summer vacation.

What is local has become what locals care about.

Secondly, on our social media pages, some folks occasionally complain about us sharing non-local stories from our sister publications, but analytics show our audience is reading them.

For example, it is not uncommon for the top story of the day or week on squamishchief.com to be one that wasn’t about Squamish — the story Top-ranked B.C. ski resort for sale for $8.25 million was our top-read story online for days.

Thirdly, we can connect to hundreds of amazing journalists through our parent company, Glacier Media.

So, why not give Squamish readers access to more of those resources than our small but mighty newsroom in town can provide? We think you deserve that, even if it is stories that originated at our sister paper in Whistler, Pique Newsmagazine or at the North Shore News.

Ultimately, we want our site to be your one-stop shop for all the news you need, Squamish and beyond.

But we still value local content, of course. Our print paper publishes only Squamish stories.

And if you go to “local news” on our website, that is what you will find.

We think it is a win-win.

If you have other journalism-related questions, email Squamish Chief editor Jennifer Thuncher: editor@squamishchief.com.

And if you like this kind of content, sign up for our free newsletter, where we break down a confusing journalism term or policy each Monday.

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