The Galway Advertiser celebrates its 45th birthday today, April 16, 2015. The paper first appeared on April 16, 1970 - an eight-page edition with a print run of 7,000.
“You're mad,” a young Ronnie O'Gorman was told as he visited the businesses of Galway city in the spring of 1970, and explained to them how a free newspaper could work. “It can't work”, was the most common response to the novel idea of a newspaper for which the reader did not have to pay. Well, it did work, and it does work.
And it works because of you, the people of Galway city and county who have become such loyal readers of the Galway Advertiser over those 45 years. Independent surveys have shown the loyalty of the paper's readership is unmatched in any part of the country in both the number of readers and their commitment to reading the paper every week. For many Galwegians, Thursday is 'Advertiser Day', and their week would not be complete without getting their copy. We appreciate this sense of ownership which many feel towards the Galway Advertiser as their community paper, and we are grateful for it.
It also works because of the many hundreds of businesses which advertise in the Galway Advertiser every week, and the thousands of people who have placed small advertisements in it over the years.
We want particularly to thank those businesses which have made the Galway Advertiser the success story it is today. We have always striven to provide the best possible advertising medium for the businesses of this area, and we believe the popularity of the paper shows that we have succeeded in this.
There have been significant changes in the way we communicate since those early days. Recent years have seen even more dramatic developments in the online area of communications.
These developments present both threats and opportunities for the traditional print media. The threats are presented by the migration of both readers and advertisers to online media at the expense of the printed version, but there are also opportunities presented to those media willing to face the challenge head on, and to continue to put the reader, and the advertiser, at the centre of what they do. At the Galway Advertiser, we aim to satisfy the requirements of consumers of both print and online media. We will continue to publish in excess of 50,000 copies of paper every week. Accompanying this, we also email out almost 30,000 copies of the digital edition of the Galway Advertiser every week, so thousands of Galwegians at home and abroad can read the paper on their chosen device from 6.30am every Thursday. We also carry regular editorial updates on advertiser.ie, and continuous posts on our Facebook page, which has almost 80,000 followers. Even local media must now provide a rolling news service, and the Galway Advertiser will remain at the forefront of the innovative developments in this area. We will continue using all means available to ensure the businesses of Galway will be able to communicate with the maximum number of their potential customers in the most cost effective manner.
We would also like to take this opportunity to once again ask the people of Galway to support their local businesses at this difficult economic time. Whether it is in the villages of the county, or the larger towns, or the city itself, it is important we all play our role in helping our local communities to survive and to prosper. We all have spending power, whether large or small, and it is our economic future, and that of our families, our friends and our neighbours, on which our spending will impact directly. So let us take the opportunity to support each other, to promote our communities and to spend locally, which will ultimately be to the benefit of us all.
There is no doubt that nationally we are entering a better economic phase, and it is up to businesses to ensure they are well placed to take advantage of any pending economic recovery. Though the exit from the recession seems more apparent on the east coast, many areas of Galway business life are also recovering quickly. Galway comprises one of the economic heartlands outside the capital city, and it is up to us to ensure that it maintains this vital position. When those cars leave Dublin for the summer holidays, or the long weekends, we want them heading west along the M6. When those flights arrive in Shannon, Dublin, Cork or Knock, we want them to enjoy the Galway experience. Perhaps most importantly, when we leave our own homes, and we become consumers in our own city and county, we want to be proud of our business community, what it has to offer and how it treats its customers. Galway is a great place to do business in, to live in, to go to school or college in, to retire in. Just to be here. A great place. Let’s keep it that way.