We’re a little late in announcing the Millstone’s fourth birthday: the very first issue of our online newspaper was published on June 4, 2011.
The Millstone was founded by the ‘Almonte Press Club’, an informal group including retired CBC employees, local citizens, and noted Toronto Star ex-reporter Val Sears. It was initially a blog featuring posts from this core group and from the larger community. By the end of 2011 the Millstone had about 400 monthly readers.
In 2012 we redesigned the Millstone to make it more like a daily print newspaper, and began sharing our content on Facebook and Twitter. Since then we’ve see our readership grow year after year — currently about 12,000 people read the paper each month. While most are from this region, we also have visitors from across the world, covering the alphabet from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Since launching in 2011 we have published 5,861 items, everything from free ads and notices to photo collections, local news pieces and in-depth coverage of local issues. We’ve also solicited reader questions to candidates in municipal and provincial elections, and have published their replies (as we will do for the federal election expected this year.)
We have tried to encourage courteous and constructive discussion in the comment section that follows each item we publish. So far, our readers have shared their views nearly 4,000 times.
The Millstone is and will remain a community newspaper, staffed by volunteers and not supported by paid advertising. While our operating costs are not especially high, we do have expenses, including the fee for Access to Information requests when we are trying to dig deeper into local issues. In that regard, we welcome donations to the paper:
We’d also like to remind readers that we’re always on the lookout for citizen reporting and ideas for articles. Please contact Millstone Editor for information.
As we look back from this fourth birthday perspective, we’re pleased and proud that so many readers turn to us each day to find out what’s new, important and interesting here in Mississippi Mills. We look forward to your continued submissions, comments and readership.