Editors Note: How I’m Coping During Bill C-18
A short time after I became editor-in-chief of the paper you are currently reading, Bill C-18 (or the Online News Act) was passed in Canada.
Oh joy, I thought to myself, contemplating what new issues this bill would cause me to face as I grappled with being new to this role in general.
As we move into October and the year slowly draws to a close, I only find myself more frustrated with the bill as time passes.
When I took this role in April of 2023 after being managing editor of The Cord for the past two years, I had a lot of optimism when it came to how I planned to utilize social media for the paper.
In fact, I spent most of the month of May planning out my social media strategy – primarily outlining my goals for Instagram and Facebook.
So, when the accounts held by The Cord on these social media platforms were blocked, I was unbelievably frustrated.
As you will know, Instagram (and to some degree Facebook) are lucrative platforms for many news organizations.
Now, any of the content that we had prepared for these platforms had to be shelved.
In addition, a lot of our viewer base was now gone, having consumed our content only after finding us on these channels.
Now, I stand in an awkward position – as a small newspaper, The Cord has gained a lot of readership by having an online presence.
Is there any social media platform outside of Facebook and Instagram that can truly give us comparable numbers?
In my quest to help The Cord’s relevancy, I have begun utilizing X and TikTok.
Both platforms that I personally do not enjoy using.
While TikTok has begun to show (slow) promise, X remains a landscape that I do not understand.
While the accounts that The Cord holds on the platform have a few thousand followers each, this does not mean that engagement will be high.
In fact, it isn’t high at all.
Because of this, it often feels discouraging to put effort into posting on the platform when the post will only get one to two “likes.”
TikTok, on the other hand, has been an interesting experiment.
This platform allows for more engagement, but trends come and go so quickly it’s impossible to keep up.
However, I do have TikTok to thank for inspiring the cover art for this issue (featuring ghosts I painted myself as you can probably tell).
Had I not been forced to be on the platform, I likely would not have done this kind of cover for our October issue.
As the reign of bill-c18 continues to plague all Canadian media outlets, I know that work will be required to keep The Cord relevant.
However, with a great team behind me, I know we can do anything.