News Media Canada marks National Newspaper Week

Who: News Media Canada, with Toronto cause marketing agency The Greater (which previously worked with News Media Canada and Torstar on this year’s “Disappearing Headlines” campaign) for creative, and Craft Public Relations.

What: “Champion the Truth: Spark Conversation,” a new awareness and fundraising campaign timed to coincide with the 81st annual National Newspaper Week, which runs from Oct. 3-9.

When & Where: In addition to ad placements in more than 350 daily and community newspapers across the country, the campaign includes billboard ads in seven provinces (with an emphasis on smaller markets where local newspapers are a vital part of the community fabric) and an advertising partnership with Chatelaine that includes print ads, a homepage takeover and newsletter ad placements.

Why: Kelly Levson, director of marketing and research for News Media Canada, calls the annual campaign the organization’s “consumer-facing moment of the year”—an opportunity to showcase the vital role newspapers play in a healthy democracy.

“It’s designed to get people to look at newspapers perhaps in a different light,” said Levson. “Local newspapers are sometimes the only source of information in smaller, non-urban markets, so they’re critical to making sure people in those communities are informed.”

How: The campaign is highlighted by a partnership with Canadian artist Ola Volo (pictured), who specializes in detail-rich murals and has previously worked with brands including Lululemon, Louis Vuitton, Starbucks and the YWCA Greater Vancouver.

Inspired by conversations with industry stakeholders including publishers, editors and salespeople, Volo created an original piece of work called “Champions.” The work depicts three people representing journalists and readers standing in front of a flag representing aspects of Canadian society.

“Ola’s artwork aims to spark conversation, empower action and shed light on important issues—which is exactly what newspapers try to do,” said Levson. “It’s a tangible piece that reminds people why newspapers are important.”

The artwork is featured in accompanying print and digital ads featuring the message “Truth be told. Our communities are powered by local newspapers.” All of the creative drives to, which also houses the “Champion the Truth Collection”—a line of limited-edition prints and softcover journals featuring the “Champions” artwork. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).

And we quote: “As a child and Canadian immigrant, I fondly remember my parents reading the local news every morning to stay connected to our community. And now as an artist, these same newspapers that provided me with this sense of connection have been supporters of me and my art, for years. My ‘Champions’ artwork is a tribute to the amazing work they do, day in and day out, to keep communities across our country informed.” — Ola Volo

Chris Powell