As our name suggests, our goal is to ensure that things that matter to people in Orillia find a platform on OrilliaMatters.
Since our birth in January of 2018, we have grown to become the voice of and for the community. I like to think of our site as the virtual water cooler of our time — a place where you come every day, often many times a day, to check the pulse of the community.
It’s where you come for breaking news, coverage of city council, to learn about new restaurants opening, to find out about local events, to read about sports … to find out what is going on and to become better connected to your city.
Over the years, we have chronicled both the good and the bad, from poverty, homelessness, affordable housing and the opioid epidemic, to fundraisers, community events and local success stories.
We like to think we do a pretty good job of that. But we know there is always room for improvement.
And while each of us who work at OrilliaMatters serve as volunteers in various capacities, we know that there are gaps in our networks and holes in our coverage.
With that in mind, OrilliaMatters is creating an advisory board that aims to include people from many sectors of the city to help us in our pursuit to be the best we can be and to strengthen our role in the community.
The advisory board will be an informal body of citizens that our editorial team can use as a sounding board to help us make our coverage more relevant and inclusive to all parts of the community.
We are looking for six to 10 people from different segments of the community and from varied professional and personal backgrounds to provide new perspectives and people who represent a range of voices and diversity, including age, income, occupation, ethnicity, ability, and gender. This does not include special-interest groups and political organizations.
Some of the areas we would like to draw from include the non-profit sector, well-known public figures, visible minorities, people from the news industry or with a journalism background, the business world, law enforcement, the youth sector, as well as health care and education. And we want people with strong opinions.
You don’t need to be a member of an established organization, but you do need to be willing to share your opinions and engage respectfully with a diverse group of people focused on creating connections, forming partnerships, building bridges and exploring solutions.
The advisory board's mandate would be to provide unbiased insights and ideas from a third-party point of view. In short, we want to help build better relationships with people and groups whose information needs are not being met.
We want to hear more voices about what we are doing right as well as highlighting areas where we could do better. Journalism is a craft and that means always learning and consistently wanting to improve.
We’re asking you to commit to attending three or four meetings in a one-year term and we’re hoping to host the first meeting in May.
Those interested in applying are asked to email me at [email protected] by Friday, April 21. Please highlight your background and reasons for wanting to join the board.
We look forward to hearing from you. We are here to listen!
Dave Dawson is the community editor at OrilliaMatters.