COLUMN: A farewell and thank you to Abbotsford

News publisher Andrew Franklin says goodbye to Abbotsford readers, moves to role heading up Black Press digital development in BC

Abbotsford News publisher Andrew Franklin is moving on from his role at The News to assume all responsibility for digital development for Black Press in British Columbia.

The only thing that is constant is change.

In the media world we have experienced significant change over the last few years, with more people consuming news and information from many more platforms.

Despite the fact that community newspapers still deliver a powerful punch, twice a week in Abbotsford and Mission, the demand for news continues to rise.

In a bittersweet move, I will be soon part of further change. As of Sept. 6, I will be assuming responsibility for all digital development for Black Press across British Columbia, for more than 70 publications.

My focus will be bringing digital services in line with B.C. print operations. Our efforts will result in a fully multimedia operation as readers look for in-depth coverage from print, and breaking news and updates via digital devices.We intend to continue our leadership and innovation in both print and digital throughout the province.

As much as that brings a lot of excitement and new opportunities I will be sad to leave the many people in both communities that I am now able to call friends.

When I look back over the last eight years, I have tried to lend support, both through volunteering and also by providing hundreds of partnerships with local organizations. I know readers are very accustomed to seeing promotions and stories supporting local non-profits and various events on a weekly basis. On average, more than $1 million in advertising and editorial support for local community organizations is provided in Mission and Abbotsford annually.

I have many favourable memories including collaborating with staff at Hospice, Salvation Army, Rotary Clubs, Community Foundations of Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, Community Services, St Joseph’s Food BankADBA, Chamber of Commerce, Abbotsford Police Department, Abbotsford Fire Rescue, UFV, Abbotsford Centre and many more. As media representatives we are very fortunate to connect with so many great people in our city.

I also have enjoyed both being part of the coverage team, but also in many cases working behind the scenes.

We are very lucky to have so many events in our community such as The Abbotsford International Airshow, Abbotsford Agrifair, dozens of Tradex events, the Elders Gathering, MCC initiatives, and myriad others.

The recent Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games was also a great experience. Working with the board during the last 12 months and seeing the thousands of volunteers come forward to put on an amazing event was very gratifying.

When 3,000 athletes arrived at the Abbotsford Centre in July, it brought home the reason for the entire event – providing the opportunity for youth across B.C. to participate,  compete and learn life skills.

I have also had the pleasure to meet our second-time Olympian, Sophie Schmidt. One of a number of local Olympians who represent great role models for young people in our community.

In 2012, The Abbotsford News celebrated 90 years of publishing. Four years on, The News and The Record continue to do well by serving both readers and advertisers alike with news, relevant information and local advertising. In fact, almost 70,000 readers today enjoy reading local community newspapers in both communities.

The team behind The News and The Record work continuously to bring you the very best in local coverage of things that matter to you most.

This talented team has amassed recognition across North America for innovation and award-winning content. They’ve earned more than 100 industry awards in the last five years!

Leaving the team will be the hardest, as I know I can count on each and every person for their individual contribution in publishing great community newspapers.

I would like to thank the many organizations, advertisers, my staff and of course you, our readers, for all of the support given to me in the last seven years.

You have all enriched my time in Abbotsford and Mission and I will always be very grateful.

Finally, I welcome Carly Ferguson, the new publisher. A long-time Black Press manager, Carly is moving over from the publisher position at the Chilliwack Progress. I wish her all success and invite the community to make contact with her.

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