A 25th birthday is a big deal – reaching the quarter century milestone is a notable accomplishment, especially in the world of print. From one publishing visionary by the name of Bill Francis, then President of Auto Mart Limited, Hospital News was born. At the time, the idea came from a publisher in the United States, and Bill Francis recognized that a community newspaper serving the niche market of health-care professionals was a sound business idea.
In 1992 Bill Francis’ son John (Francis) took over as President of what became Trader Media Corporation and Hospital News publisher. The rest, as they say, is history. I contacted John, who is now Managing Director of Fraser Kearney Capital Corp. to get his take on the milestone. “It is great to see Hospital News hit this milestone and for it to be what it was always intended to be,” says Francis. “It is a very highly respected publication and is successful in part because of its very dedicated readership in the health care sector.” Hospital News is now published by Wall2WallMedia.
I started at Hospital News in 2005 as the Editorial/Sales Assistant. In 2007 I took over the Editor’s chair and have focused on what we at HN think is most important: Providing a forum for health-care facilities to share best practices with facilities across the country. We are all in this health care system together, we all depend on it, and every one of us has a vested interest in making it more efficient and patient centered.
Nothing makes me happier than when I receive an email from a contributor who provided an article about a best practice they have implemented to say they have received countless calls from other facilities wanting to implement the same practice and looking for information. In the last 25 years I like to think that HN has played a small but integral part in improving the health care system through showcasing advancements and experiences of hospitals to help other hospitals be better.
Perhaps even more impressive than our longevity is our reader loyalty. I receive countless emails and letters from readers full of positive feedback about the paper. When we attend tradeshows and actually get face time with our readers they always say the same thing: “I love reading Hospital News.” It is this positive feedback that keeps us motivated to find ways to continually improve our reader’s experience.
One of the mainstays at Hospital News (HN) through-out it’s history has been Bala Gnanapandithan, who was hired as the production coordinator of the paper in March 1996. “When I started at Hospital News, production involved cutting and pasting with a knife and wax, a far cry from how the paper is produced today,” says Bala.
Affectionately referred to as Mr G., Bala has been the creative genius behind the paper, seeing it through several redesigns, from partial to full colour, and working with several Edtiors along the way, always ensuring a quality newspaper for our audience. Even though Bala is now the Senior Production Manager, overseeing all of Wall2Wall Media’s production department, he still consults with our production team because Hospital News was his “baby” for 13 years.
Another long-time member of the HN team is Michael Parker, Manager – Corporate Sales & Editorial, Employment and Healthcare Publications Wall2Wall Media Inc. Michael has been a member of the HN team for 10 years and has seen HN through many transformations. “While we have always evolved the look and style of the paper over the years, I think the biggest transformation for Hospital News is the all-new HospitalNews.com. We have certainly entered into a whole new era with a state-of-the-art news-style website. Not only will HospitalNews.com bring together those in healthcare and the general public like never before, it will create a true “community” feel, sharing a wealth of knowledge and information in our health-care system.
Denise Hodgson, who has been the Advertising Representative at Hospital News for the past eight years often refers to our team as small but mighty. “I am proud to be on such a passionate team, where every member is willing to go above and beyond and can truly say that I love my job. I am fortunate to have such a quality print (and now online) publication that I can present to potential advertisers.”
Over the last 25 years, Hospital News has weathered some storms – one of the most notable being the SARS outbreak inTorontoin 2002. With all of the hospitals under lockdown, delivery of the paper (to the racks within the hospitals) was not possible. It was during that time Hospital News boxes were placed outside of the hospitals so we could still provide our loyal readers with their paper. The team here at the time found a way to make sure readers were still getting information, a refelction of HN’s commitment to our reader’s experience.
As part of our 25th anniversary we are saying thank you to our readers by launching a new and much-improved website. With frequent updates and exclusive online content we can provide a forum to share even more best practices, in a more timely manner and user-friendly place. If you haven’t visited the site recently, please do – we think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Every member of the Hospital News team is passionate about the publication we provide to our readers. Part of HN’s success is undoubtedly a result of the mindset we have, that it is our “baby”. And now, our baby is all grown up.
Here’s to another 25 years.