National Newspaper Week 2022 is fast approaching, running from October 2 to 8, and, this year, News Media Canada, the org representing the important work done by hundreds of newspapers in every province and territory across the country, has created a custom font called Champions, inspired by the essential service that newspapers provide, in order to celebrate. We spoke with Kelly Levson, director of marketing and research at News Media Canada, to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Hi Kelly! Please tell us a bit about News Media Canada to start.
Hi! News Media Canada is the national association of the Canadian news media industry, serving print and digital news media members in every province and territory. I am passionate about all forms of Canadian news media from local community papers to online news sites, to national daily publications.
When and what is National Newspaper Week? Why is it important?
National Newspaper Week is an annual opportunity to recognize the critical role that newspapers play in an active and healthy democracy and is celebrated across North America during the first week of October. This year, National Newspaper Week runs from October 2 to October 8. National Newspaper Week is important because it gives us all the chance to highlight and celebrate the hard work done by Canadian news media. It’s also an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogues about the role local newspapers play in a healthy democracy by providing factual, original content that cannot be found anywhere else.
This year, we hear that News Media Canada, representing the important work done by hundreds of newspapers in every province and territory across the country, has created a custom font entitled Champions inspired by the essential service that newspapers provide. Can you tell us a bit more about that, what the font highlights and how it does that?
We’re really excited about the new custom font – Champions. We developed this font to highlight the power of words and the people behind the press who use them to communicate essential information to Canadians each and every day. These real-life superheroes keep our democracy thriving through a vibrant and independent news media. Champions is a geo-humanist font that incorporates both humanistic traits—which mimic hand motions reflecting the craft and artistry that goes into producing credible, factual news each day—and highly geometric shapes—which represent the structure and rigour of fact-checking, editing, and producing high-quality credible content newspapers are known for. The Champions font was designed with both print and digital platforms in mind, honouring newspapers’ history while looking forward to their bright and multi-platformed future. It was really important that this font encompass both print and digital platforms because we know that Canadian newspaper readership is truly multi-platform with 25% of readers accessing content across four platforms (print, online, tablet and phone) and 95% of newspaper readers accessing at least some of their newspaper content online.
Can all Canadians use the font? How?
The Champions font is available to all Canadians for free download and use from nationalnewspaperweek.ca. We want Canadians to show their support for Canadian newspapers and their digital platforms by downloading the font and using it in their everyday lives. Hopefully, while you use the Champions font you will be reminded of and inspired by the essential service Canadian newspapers provide.
What else can we do to show support for Canadian newspapers and their digital platforms?
We’re encouraging Canadians to download and use the Champions font this National Newspaper Week, and share a message of support on social media with #ChampionsOfTheTruth and #NationalNewspaperWeek. Year-round you can show your support by continuing to read your local newspaper and by purchasing a subscription if your newspaper is a paid product. And of course, supporting local businesses that advertise in the newspaper also helps support the industry.
In this day and age, why is it so important to support and maintain credible factual journalism?
Access to credible information is more important than ever as the world gets more complex and the messaging volume increases. Credible journalism provides a source of reliable information Canadians can trust, information they can feel confident sharing with family and friends, as well as the tools they need to form opinions and engage in meaningful conversations. All of this is not possible without credible journalism and the outlets which foster it.
Why is a vibrant independent free press crucial to upholding Canadian democracy?
With Canadians consuming more content than ever before, access to credible news sources is increasingly vital to our democracy. Newspapers have always played a critical role in upholding Canadian democracy because honest and accurate journalism has an overwhelmingly positive effect on civic engagement by creating space for Canadians to participate in meaningful conversations and providing the tools needed to make informed decisions. A vibrant free press helps to keep readers informed, inspired, and connected. Having a strong and vibrant free press means that we have all the information we need to make decisions and participate in meaningful conversations with our communities as we work toward a stronger future.
What Canadian publications are doing this particularly well, in your opinion?
Working for News Media Canada I feel lucky to have the chance to come across so many diverse news outlets and organisations. It’s exciting to see the incredible work our large national papers produce but also the smaller local outlets that keep communities connected by reporting stories that cannot be found anywhere else and are extremely important to their readers. In my opinion, every publication that is working to keep their community informed and connected by providing credible factual journalism is doing a great job delivering an essential service. The people who make up our local news media, from journalists to editors to fact-checkers and so many more, truly are the real superheroes in our society, champions of the truth in their communities.
What’s your favourite current Canadian read, and why?
It’s too hard to choose just one! What I love about my job is that I have access to amazing news media content from across the country. I have the opportunity to read daily and community newspapers from markets large and small, urban and rural, and everything in between. I love reading a variety of newspapers to find out what is important to each community. Local news content is different for every one of them, but the one thing they all have in common is that local news unites every community.