A Brief History
Ten Years of Seven News
Seven News, May 23, 1980
The idea that became 7 News was born in the course of the struggles being waged by local groups of residents in Toronto’s Ward 7 in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. At that time, many residents were actively involved in battling developers and City Hall in an attempt to preserve their neighbourthoods from re-development. These groups went on to become the basis of a wider movement for “community control”, as well as the base of support that elected John Sewell to City Hall in 1969.
In the course of their activities, these community groups found themselves receiving very unfavourable and biased coverage from the established media in Toronto. Their reaction was to create something which would become a model for other parts of the city as well: a community newspaper. A series of organizing meetings attracting up to 200 people and a fundraising drive resulted, and, in May 1970, the first issue of 7 News rolled off the presses. The paper has appeared regularly, every two weeks, since then, with an average circulation of 20,000.
In 1973, Seven News was incorporated as a community-controlled non-profit corporation, a constitution was drawn up and adopted, and the first Board of Direction was elected.
For a number of years, 7 News was able to count on government financing to help sustain it, but this support has been gradually withdrawn in recent years as government cutbacks have taken effect. 7 News has adapted by instituting a sysem of “supporting memberships”, whereby many residents pay a voluntary annual fee (which is not fixed, but is simply set at “whatever you can afford”). With this increased community support, 7 News continues to publish and grow.
What is 7 News?
7 News and the Community
Unlike most newspapers, 7 News is truly independent. Nobody owns 7 News, nobody makes makes a profit from it; nobody pulls strings behind the scenes to decide what gets printed in the paper: neither politicians, nor advertisers, nor government.
7 News believes in taking sides, in standing up for the “little people” in their battles against goverment, developers, Ontario Housing, and the other fotces that threaten the well-being of the community. 7 News was started by the community, and 7 News has always worked for the community.
Because 7 News is the strong and independent voice in Ward 7, it frequently generates controversy. We believe that such vigorous debate helps to stengthen 7 News and the community as a whole: we frequently have people tell us that they respect 7 News even when they don’t agree with it.
This article was published in Seven News, Volume 10, Number 23, May 23, 1980