We Believe in Partnerships (Andrew Macklin, @AMacklin & Lucas Duguid, @OctopusRed)

It’s about doing what’s right.

It’s been 16 months since we published our first edition of the Brant Advocate; a locally-owned and community-driven newsprint publication that highlights the people of Brantford in a way that has never been done before. Our specialty? The who and the why. Who are you? Why do you do what you do? Why are you passionate about your community? The Brant Advocate is the voice of the untold stories of this great community.

There is no question that as a community we have taken some pretty tough shots to the body, and in a lot of ways, our backs still aren’t straight. We don’t stand as tall as we should. But together we have started down a path to re-write the narrative of what it means to be from this community. When you change the narrative, you change the story. Together we can write a story without cynicism, a story without apathy. A new story, one that we can all be proud of.

There were those who said the Advocate would never make it off the ground. There were those who said it would never last. There were those who said it would never be more than what it was. It’s been my pleasure to watch the people of this community prove them wrong. Since September of last year, a small group of us have collectively put 10,000 papers in our vehicles, and distributed them to over 300 businesses and organizations each and every month.

What we have come to understand over the past 16 months since we began this journey, is that all of our successes have been based on one fundamental element; partnerships. In the beginning, five key partnerships allowed the Advocate to get off the ground. It started with the two of us, along with Marc Laferriere, as we partnered to get the Advocate started. Then we reached out to friends and colleagues, asking them to partner with us on this new adventure by providing us with their stories. It continued as we approached our first few advertisers, asking them to partner with us to grow the Advocate, to create a new community dialogue. We partnered with a friend and colleague in Roger Duck, who created our website and our video. To this day, that video still provides the foundation for everything we do month to month with the Advocate. And then finally, we formed partnerships with the over 300 businesses and community organizations that have become our foundation for providing our readers with the Advocate each and every month. Partnerships are what allowed the Advocate to get off the ground.

The partnerships that have grown since then have had a profound impact on our team. We have been overwhelmed by the continued support we have received from Six Nations. Each and every month, nearly 1,000 copies are distributed there and very few are ever returned. We are provided with thought-provoking and insightful content almost every issue, providing a perspective rarely received by traditional media in this community. We wanted to use this publication to create a new dialogue, and our partners in the Six Nations community have helped us do just that.

Last month, we announced our newest formal partnership, a working arrangement with our friends at The Sputnik – the student publication based out of Laurier Brantford. We are excited to have the student community as part of this greater community dialogue, as their voice is vital to creating a strong, vibrant and positive conversation about how to work positively towards a better Brantford.

This month, we are excited to announce a new partnership, one that will help move the Advocate closer to our ultimate goal of reaching each and every member of this community. We are thrilled to announce that the Advocate will be delivered to your door within the Brant News, each month. With the publication going to a minimum of 7,000 homes, we delight in this opportunity to spread the word. This will allow new readers to be exposed to the Advocate, while still providing the publication to our faithful readers.

On behalf of the Advocate, we would like to thank everyone who has chosen to partner with us and become a part of our dialogue. Part of a new, expanding dialogue, a voice for the stories of Brant. Thank you for supporting our publication.

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