(Dec 3, 2020 – OTTAWA) The Ottawa Sports Pages today announced the biggest free agent signing in the organization’s nearly 10-year history, with veteran local amateur sportswriter Martin Cleary joining the team.
Cleary’s stories will now appear five days a week on OttawaSportsPages.ca (formerly SportsOttawa.com). The addition of the 47-year local sports beat writer also coincides with the launch of the Saturday Sports Pages, a new bi-weekly email newsletter.
“No doubt this is easily one of the proudest days in our history,” says Ottawa Sports Pages founder Dan Plouffe. “It’s been a pretty dark time for most everyone lately – the media industry certainly included – but this is really great news for community journalism, and grassroots sport. We’re very excited for the future.”
Cleary is a past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree. He’s covered six Olympic Games, several world championships, and hundreds of local, provincial and national championships in roughly 60 sports. Cleary retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write his bi-weekly High Achievers column for the Citizen/Sun.
“When my column was put on a pandemic pause, I felt the need to continue to write about the Ottawa amateur sports scene,” Cleary shares. “There were a lot of positive stories out there that I felt I needed to tell, so I started to write one story a day on my Twitter account.
“With the HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition, I wanted to send out a health message along with some uplifting sports news.”
High Achievers will now also have a home at OttawaSportsPages.ca, for the pandemic at least.
“We’ll be thrilled and honoured to have Martin’s work in the Ottawa Sports Pages for as long as we can, but we know it’s also in the local sports community’s best interests to have its news reach the largest possible audience,” signals Plouffe. “I think what’s most important is to salute Martin’s tremendous commitment to our city’s amateur sports scene for so many years, and on an ongoing basis. His dedication is just unreal, he’s truly one-of-a-kind.”
Revamped website & email newsletter debut
Visitors to the new OttawaSportsPages.ca website will now find daily updates with High Achievers, alongside additional reporting by Ottawa Sports Pages contributors.
The new site is more mobile-responsive, and gives an improved online presence for the advertising partners who make it possible to deliver the news.
The Saturday Sports Pages offer another avenue to stay connected to all the latest local sports news and information. The email newsletter will often delve into a particular subject in greater depth, while also summarizing key stories that appear on OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Through the new “Community Queries” feature, the newsletter will provide reader engagement opportunities, with the chance to ask questions of the Sports Pages reporting team and suggest topics to investigate. The Saturday Sports Pages will be delivered by email every second weekend, beginning Dec. 5. (Sign up here.)
While it’s a refreshed brand (SportsOttawa.com now redirects to OttawaSportsPages.ca), the same not-for-profit organization remains in control, shining a light on local amateur sport is still the goal, and the Ottawa Sports Pages newspaper will continue to be printed.
“These digital projects were in the works before the pandemic, but we definitely wanted our audience to have these new tools available before the dead of winter,” notes Ottawa Sports Pages Editor Charlie Pinkerton. “It’s actually been super uplifting to see our readers’ dedication to go get a copy of the newspaper from our boxes lately, when they’re probably not out and about as much.
“We’ve had record visits to our website too, so that definitely shows there’s a strong appetite for news and updates on our local athletes and clubs, even when sports are largely shut down. That’s really fuelled our team to keep working hard and continue serving our community.”
See OttawaSportsPages.ca for more.
About the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team:
The Ottawa Community Sport Media Team is an incorporated not-for-profit organization. OCSMT publishes a local amateur sports newspaper called the Ottawa Sports Pages, a website at OttawaSportsPages.ca, and the Saturday Sports Pages newsletter by e-mail.
We focus our coverage on high schools, universities, community clubs, junior leagues and elite amateur sport – the levels that are almost always overlooked by the mainstream media but have so many special stories to share.
OCSMT also works alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program on the Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project. The CAMPS Project provides free sports opportunities to children/youth from low-income families via OCSMT’s partner sports groups.