Celebrating 125 years of community news

The Prince Albert Daily Herald front page for Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
Peter Lozinski is the managing editor of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.

On the back portion of the semi-circle of desks where I sit, there’s a small bulletin board.

It leans against the wall and occasionally falls down, breaking my focus when I’m rushing to finish off the next day’s paper.

It’s not my bulletin board. Based on the colour and texture, it’s been here for a lot longer than I have. That’s clear from some of the contents, too. There are some old postcards, and a few weeks ago I took down a city council meeting schedule from 2016.

I’ve added to this bulletin board, attaching my own notes and calendars, and a written reminder to communicate clearly because people can’t read my mind.

There are also a few other things of note on this board, including a strip of paint I pulled off of a wall at a military home while investigating the conditions of the government-provided housing, and the prohibitive costs for 40 to 50-year-old homes filled with asbestos, old paint, leaky windows and substandard repairs that force our serving men and women to, at times, get second jobs just to be able to live.

That strip of paint is a reminder of one of my favourite stories I’ve ever written as a journalist, an investigation I penned in Cold Lake Alberta as an even younger newspaper editor, one that made a difference in the community. The way those run-down homes were appraised and priced changed the year following my story, which spread nation-wide through quiet social media chat groups of air force families.

I have no way to know if my story made any difference, or if the policy review was already underway. I like to imagine that I played a part.

Directly above the strip of paint, that reminder of why I do this job, is my business card. It’s one of seven in a row (if you count the one done on thick brown construction paper) of editors past who have sat in that chair (figuratively — I took my chair from the production department when former Herald employee Terry Munro left. I think it’s the most comfortable in the building).

The list of business cards is incomplete, but it goes back as far as Doug Dahl, editor in the early 2000s.

While the strip of paint reminds me why I do what I do, the line of business cards reminds me where the Herald has come from. Seeing names like

Heather Persson (now editor of the StarPhoenix and Leader-Post) is a reminder of how lucky I am to have the job I have, and stresses the solemn importance of my duty — to ensure timeliness, quality and above all, accuracy and fairness.

The significance of that duty, and of the institution where I work, was emphasized tenfold as I put this special edition together, reading stories from pages of the past going right back to this paper’s start in 1894.

Back in Cold Lake, I left a few months shy of the newspaper’s 40th anniversary. I was disappointed. The way the print news industry was going, I wasn’t sure I’d see a milestone like that again.

I never dreamed I’d be in charge of a newspaper in its 125th year, let alone one independently owned and operated by its employees.

The Prince Albert Daily Herald, and its predecessor, the Advocate, have been telling your stories for 125 years. Our Wednesday, January 2 special edition looks back at some of those stories and the perspectives of those who told them.

This newspaper has been here through two world wars, a man on the moon, assassinations, the formation of Saskatchewan, three prime ministers and two Trudeaus, a memorial cup victory, economic boom and bust.

And it isn’t going anywhere.

The last two years haven’t been easy. We’ve almost closed, gone through a difficult transfer of ownership and continued to battle threats both rumoured and real. Recently, though, we’ve been hitting our stride.

Everyone here is extremely proud to be able to bring you the news and information that matters to you five days a week in print and every day online. We continue to tell the breaking stories, examine tragedy and unearth betrayal and breaches of trust. We continue to cover city hall and local policy decisions that matter to you. We follow your sports teams, explore your artistic accomplishments and share in your good times as well as your bad.

But most of all, we continue to be here to tell the stories that matter to you. Whether it’s something incredible or something sad, we truly believe that we bring a voice and tell stories you won’t find anywhere else.

We couldn’t do any of it without all of you.

Let me say thank you.

Thank you to the readers and advertisers and cheerleaders who we strive to serve every day. Thank you to the carriers, mailroom staff and drivers who make sure our product gets to you. Thank you to the columnists and freelancers who share their perspectives with us. Thank you to all the staff, past, present and future, part and full-time, contract and freelance, who keep this place running day in and day out.

Thank you for supporting us for 125 years.

Our paper is about serving the community. Without our community, we would be nothing.

It’s been a great 125 years. Here’s to 125 more.

Peter Lozinski is the editor of the Prince Albert Daily Herald. He’s proud to lead the newspaper into the next 125 years.

Special thanks to the Prince Albert Historical Society, Historical Museum and Curator Michelle Taylor for their assistance assembling our January 2 special edition