It's always good to get grounded by students.

AuthorAtkins, Michael
PositionPresident's Note

An old friend asked me to speak about our business to his creative industries class at Ryerson University a few weeks ago. He's been teaching business students about the digital economy there for years. Some of you may know him. Daniel Hawes is a Sudbury boy most famous for his CBC animation series Chilly Beach. It appeared on the Comedy Network in Australia and also made it to the streaming network Hulu in the U.S. along with three years on CBC. Chilly Beach was the precursor to what has turned into a robust and energetic television and moviemaking scene in Northern Ontario, which has seen the likes of TV series Letterkenny and Hallmark Studios employ hundreds of Northerners to create TV and films at a scale one could not have imagined 20 years ago.

I talked to Dan's students about attacking the digital economy with gusto but also trying to reclaim their humanity from the detritus of social media. We talked about what it means to come into a world where you are constantly reminded to build your personal brand. It means you spend a goodly amount of time creating viewable settings that put you in your best light. It means your first inspiration can be to think about your brand and how you look and not what you believe in or who you are. It can be 24/7 performance art and competition, which is exhausting and discombobulating.

That same day, I attended the annual Ontario Community Newspapers Association dinner in Toronto where they celebrate the Better Newspaper Awards for Ontario. We had our best year ever. We won best newspaper in our class (Northern Life), best website in Ontario (Sudbury, com), best editorial (about our local batde over the location of a new entertainment centre), best online breaking news story (special weather downburst report), best online special initiative story (our live election night coverage) and best front page design (forest fire coverage outside of Sudbury).

As I told those kids earlier, we have our feet firmly planted in print and digital expression and see a future in both.

In Sudbury, we have more reporters than any other newsroom in the city, including Postmedia, Rogers radio, CTV news and CBC radio. With that group, we produce a variety of magazines, events, newspapers, and websites. We are...

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