Andrea Ryman demonstrates the new Destination Castlegar website events calendar tool. (John K. White/Castlegar News)

John White: Community comes together to maximize event successes

Andrea Ryman from Destination Castlegar was the driving force behind the movement.

It was a packed house at the Sandman Hotel Wednesday night for the Destination Castlegar and Castlegar Chamber of Commerce event-planning session that brought together some of Castlegar’s most active volunteers and community groups.

As mentioned in previous columns, the original concept for the meeting was to ensure there were no major overlapping event dates in the calendar to maximize success for organizers. Andrea Ryman from Destination Castlegar was the driving force behind the movement and she should be commended for getting everyone on the same calendar page.

There were calendar pages covering all of 2018 on the walls for attendees to add their proposed event dates to be captured and shared to maximize efficiency. Attendees eagerly added their items and there were lively discussions among them on what they were planning for the year.

Andrea gave us a walk-through of the shiny new Destination Castlegar website, with a primary focus on the dynamic event calendar submission tool. It is very slick and easy to use, and it will be the central repository of events in the region.

Many in attendance were unaware that there is a local 2 per cent hotel tax that funds the Destination Castlegar mandate to get more “heads in beds.” They pour all of their efforts into attracting more tourists to come to Castlegar to take part in recreational activities, business meetings, sporting events and to stay in town to do so (hence the “heads in beds” catchphrase). Andrea reminded attendees that there is funding available for those doing just that, news that was greeted with positive nods and smiles.

If you’d like to learn more about the event calendar tool or ways to apply for funding, contact Andrea at tourism@castlegar.com or 250-365-6313.

I was given an opportunity to speak to the group and share the current state of community news and the best ways to get your events previewed and covered in our papers and our websites.

READ MORE: John White: How to put your best submission forward

I was thrilled to be able to share best practices for submitting photos and press releases for publication. There are so many meaningful events and movements happening in the region worthy of coverage.

There was a productive dialogue that helped clarify the ways we can cover more of the charity and non-profit events more thoroughly. One of the key questions asked during my Q&A time was why do groups need to send photos and releases when the paper used to cover everything?

Times have certainly changed in the community newspaper industry. Consolidation and constriction have impacted all newsrooms in North America. “Doing more with less” used to be a cost-savings catchphrase, but is the reality in media. This is especially true given the intense competition among outlets trying to capture eyeballs in the online space.

We’re doing our best to cover the communities we serve with the resources we have available while developing new and better ways to reach our growing digital audience.

The more our communities support our work through advertisements and user content submissions, the more we’ll be able to cover. This is the basic math that drives newsroom resource allocation.


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