Gazette has been around for seven years - started out as Our Burlington - When do people read the Gazette?

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 29th, 2018



The Gazette is now in its seventh year of publication.

We first hit the streets, via the Internet, in October of 2010 – that was an election year.

For a short period of time we were known as Our Burlington – I didn’t choose the name.

The paper came out of a friendship with the late John Boich who was working with a number of people on creating a better way to deliver local news. In the early stages the people behind that initiative were thinking in terms of getting low frequency radio license – that wasn’t something I was interested in.

The Shape Burlington report had just been published – Boich and former Mayor Walter Mulkewich were the authors of hat report which, in part said:

Engagement: Transform the City Hall culture to promote active citizenship and civic engagement

Promoting active citizen engagement and meaningful public dialogue requires a culture shift at City Hall. A crucial first step is the development an Engagement Charter – a plain language policy document developed with public involvement that incorporates benchmarks and accountabilities, and describes the value, purpose and opportunities for citizens to influence city policies.

The charter would explain how to navigate City Hall and its services. It should stipulate best practices for various kinds of public consultation and affirm the city’s commitment to inform citizens and respond to their ideas and contributions. t would address the question of reaching out to a diverse population.

The charter would incorporate an early notification system to provide citizens and groups information about meetings, events and issues, and to allow reasonable amounts of time to understand, discuss and develop positions before decisions are made.

I managed to convince Boich that a newspaper on line was the route to go – the Executive Director of the non-profit he had set up wasn’t a newspaper person. Boich asked me if I would put together a business plan –

I did – and he said – great – make it happen.

And that was how Our Burlington came to be.

I soon realized that “Our Burlington” was not a fit name for a newspaper and chose the name Gazette for two reasons: Burlington once had a print newspaper called the Gazette and the first photograph I had published as a boy 12 was on the front page of the Montreal Gazette – I also delivered that newspaper as a boy.

When I started the Burlington Gazette I was pretty sure the editorial model I had in mind would work – but it needed to be tried to be certain. The model works.

We have had our ups and downs but the readership growth has been consistent; not massive but consistently incremental.

So who reads the Gazette?

As many readers know we are in the midst of running a readership survey. The practice going forward will be to do a new survey every month – shorter next time; three maybe four questions.

Here is what we can tell you about when the Gazette is read:

Gazette readers story

Just over 40% of our readers are daily readers. We notice that during the winter a decent number of “snowbirders” read us from the United States – we don’t know which state they are reading from – just US of A.

There is more in the way of readership from Hamilton and Toronto than we expected.

survey04The data show in the graph above is “raw” in that we don’t tell you which ward those readers live in.  we will include that data in the full report which we will publish when the survey is  closed.  We wanted the survey open for at least 15 days.  The Sunday readership is always quite high and we want to keep it open beyond the Easter holiday.


Related news stories:

The Shape Report

The city’s Community Engagement Charter

Why the Gazette?

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments to Gazette has been around for seven years – started out as Our Burlington – When do people read the Gazette?

  • Joseph Gaetan

    I have no idea how you do this,thank you for publishimg matters that would never see the light of day without the Gazette.

  • MC

    I have not lived in Burlington in over 20 years but I still refer to it as “home” I still have extended family in Burlington,most of which attended Burlington Central High School (Go Trojans!) whom I visit regularly. The Gazette is a great way for me to stay up to date with what’s happening at “home”. I always read with interest and more recently dismay about what is happening in Burlington. With family who have lived in the core for the better part of the past 100 years, The Gazette does a fantastic job of informing myself and many others about the changes that are currently happening or being proposed for the future in once was sleepy old “Borington”. Keep up the great work!!

  • Kurt

    Congratulations Pepper.
    Amazed you manage to write as much as you do. The Gazette keeps me informed about Burlington. I am a snow bird, but thanks to the Gazette, I was kept abrest with all the news about our city.

  • Hans


    I hope our next council (post election) will be regular readers.

  • I am one who reads the Burlington Gazette daily. I really enjoy the articles and I feel better informed than I use to be. I just started reading it when the condo issue came up.

  • J. Christie

    love this on-line newspaper. I gain so much information from it. I read it every day. Thank you!