Going local, part 1

Herald file photo.

On May 1, the Daily Herald changed ownership to FolioJumpline Publishing Inc. and became fully employee owned and operated, starting a new chapter in the paper’s long and stories history. We asked our staff to share with you, the readers their views on the importance of the paper and why they’ve stood behind us as we’ve worked through this process. This week, the current newsroom staff gave their take.

It takes many pillars
Evan Radford, sports reporter

The late historian Benedict Anderson had it right when he described the function of a newspaper among a populace in his concise book Imagined Communities.

Newspapers make their readers feel a kinship with and connection to each other, even if they never meet, ever. Those feelings of connection and kinship aid in the nation-building process, creating an imagined community of shared values, he argues. That process happens by everyone in a given locale reading and engaging with the same printed news.

Granted, Anderson is describing newly-emerging nation states and communities in 19th century Europe.

However, his argument holds today when I think about the Prince Albert Daily Herald, with a few tweaks.

The Daily Herald is one of the parts of this community that binds it together. And even if each Prince Albertan has her/his own imagined idea of what the community is, that process of imagination doesn’t make the community less real.

I’d argue it makes it more real, adding to the always-changing diversity of this city.

By reading the newspaper and by engaging with it (which can include speaking with one of my fine colleagues for a story, advertising in it or writing a letter to my astute editor), each person is, in her/his own way, contributing to the community.

In this way, the Daily Herald brings the community together.

From my sports desk in the newsroom, I’d argue that the Raiders, the Mintos, the Beardy’s Blackhawks, the Northern Bears and P.A. Minor Hockey are other important components that bring the community together, too.

For this reason, I hope these teams survive and thrive into the future (yes, we at the Daily Herald are a closely-knit team); if we lose one, we lose part of Prince Albert.

Now that the paper is locally owned, I hope it furthers that process of defining and engaging with this city.

A new way forward
Jason Kerr, news reporter

On my second day as a journalism student, one of our professors asked us to introduce ourselves to the class and tell everyone what our dream job was. Some people said foreign correspondents. Some wanted national news anchor positions. Some dreamed of making it on to a major investigative team. Almost all of us wanted to work for the big media outlets.

No one that day, including me, said we ever wanted to take the jump into ownership. I don’t think it was even on our radar. The idea that a shifting media landscape would force us into the unfamiliar role of media moguls (even small ones) was something I never considered. When I graduated in 2015, I assumed I’d spend the next 25 years as a reporter and photographer. But the times, as Bob Dylan sang, they are a changin’.

It’s tough to be in print media right now. Since graduating, I don’t think a year has gone by where I haven’t heard of at least one newspaper closing, with many more amalgamating or cutting back on staff. You can’t sugarcoat that, but at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the market for the printed word is long gone. As long as there are people who like to read (and who want to get away from smartphones, tablets and computer screens) there will be newspapers. What it does mean, however, is that our business model needs an overhaul.

That’s why it’s so exciting to be sticking around with the Daily Herald as it goes independent. Newspapers across the country are already experimenting with new methods of staying viable, but few have ever taken the steps we are. My role in the Daily Herald won’t be a large one (I think I own a few pens, some folding chairs, the AA batteries we use in our recorders and the wind chimes hanging on our front door), but it’s a share I would be happy to have, with a team I’m proud to be a part of.

It’s not where I saw myself heading when I walked across the stage as a J-School graduate three years ago. But, I’m glad it turned out the way it did, and excited to see what’s ahead.

A sigh of relief
Peter Lozinski, Editor

On Tuesday, May 1, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Though we had announced the intention to become a fully employee owned and operated publication back in December, there were some tense moments between then and now. There were moments I wondered if I would suddenly need to find a new job.

I had hoped, dearly, that would not be the case.

At one point in the process, a close personal friend asked me, “is it worth it?”
She meant is it worth the stress, the long hours and the uncertainty. I told her without a doubt, that it was.

At that time, it was just a feeling. But now, I know why.

Of everywhere I’ve lived and worked since leaving home for university, Prince Albert is where I feel most at home. I’ve developed a fantastic group of friends, gotten involved in the arts through theatre and music, and learned to love life in this beautiful city, the gateway to the north.

But that’s only half of it.

The other half is I believe in this group of people at the Herald, and I believe in what we can do.

Robust community media is important to keeping politicians in check and inspiring community engagement on the issues that matter. I’m here because I believe wholeheartedly in the value of good journalism, and the importance of what we do.

We’ve broken major stories, reported on the successes of groups and individuals, followed the arts scene and rooted along with the Raiders.

We’ve dealt with pain, tragedy, happiness and triumph.

We’ve also shown that we can make a daily newspaper work in 2018. We’ve enhanced the website, introduced a new, interactive e-edition sent directly to readers’ inboxes daily and started including more community writing and community events in print.

And we’re still evolving. To quote Randy Bachman, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.

I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished, and extremely excited to be able to keep bringing you the Daily Herald five days a week in print and everyday online.
It’s a great honour to be your community newspaper editor. Thank you to all of our supporters. We couldn’t do it without all of you. And, as always, thanks for reading.