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Google documentary examines Village Media's role in the evolution of news

The video, which premiered this week at the Google News Initiative Summit at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, focuses on Village Media's expansion to Orillia

As journalists, our job is to tell your story. It's what we do.

But in a world where local news is suffering, where newspapers are dying and where more reporters are laid off every quarter, SooToday's parent company, Village Media, is being recognized for bucking the trend.

The digital-only company, with established roots planted in Sault Ste. Marie more than a dozen years ago, is growing. It's hiring reporters and opening sites throughout Canada - including in Orillia, where Village launched in January of 2018.

While every new site is a success story of sorts, OrilliaMatters, which launched within a month of the closure of the daily Orillia Packet and Times, has quickly established itself as the community's trusted, go-to source for local news and information.

In fact, that story caught the attention of Google and this week, it is being told around the world.

Last fall, an eight-person Google film crew from New York City spent almost two weeks in Orillia. It's part of the Google News Initiative and the massive company's desire to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

“When we found out that the paper was closing it was devastating. It was personally devastating," Dave Dawson, community editor for OrilliaMatters and longtime Packet and Times editor, told the Google filmmakers. "I was at an age where ‘What am I going to do, career-wise?’ What is the community going to do without a daily newspaper?”

“I always thought I would die a newspaper guy, but this new chapter has created something awesome,” said Dawson.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai explains the company's motivation in working with news organizations, on the Google News Initiative website.

"We believe in spreading knowledge to make life better for everyone," said Pichai. "It’s at the heart of Google’s mission. It’s the mission of publishers and journalists. Put simply, our futures are tied together."

Earlier this week, at the Google News Initiative Summit at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, the OrilliaMatters video (above) made its debut.

We want to share it with you because Village Media could not have achieved any success without you. Enjoy!

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