Why local news matters

Ruth Griffiths

Prince Albert has a long history of providing local news. We can be grateful that we have local print, radio, television and digital news outlets to serve our community in important ways.
A local news source helps create a shared culture. It reflects who we are and what is important to us. We live in a time when many political, social and public health issues are disrupting our concept of community. Local news holds up a mirror to the community and grounds us in the truth.
As an editor for the local newspaper for three decades, I saw many eager journalists come and go. Many of these well-trained young people sought out a smaller newsroom because they knew they would have the opportunity to learn many skills in a short time. They learned a lot by doing a little bit of everything. Many of them moved on to national and international fame, having honed their craft in Prince Albert.
Those who stayed and created the daily record of local news also deserve recognition.
David Wilson, writing in Broadview magazine, says, “local news reporting can be a calling as honourable and impactful as journalism anywhere. Reporters who mostly toil out of the limelight may not realize it, but they are stewards of the local greater good.”
Print, broadcast and digital news outlets are vanishing, leaving news deserts starved of credible sources of information. Local media counterbalance the misrepresentations and lies that pose as facts on social media. The staff at local media not only work here, they also contribute to the community in which they live.
Because I worked for the newspaper, I most admire the dedication of the staff at the Daily Herald.
The Herald traces its roots to the Prince Albert Advocate, which was begun in 1894 as one of several weekly newspapers serving the community at that time. In 1908, the paper became known as the Prince Albert Weekly Herald. In 1911, W.F. Herman bought the Herald and it became a daily newspaper.
In 1945, the Herald was purchased by the Canadian newspaper giant Thompson Newspapers.
Those were the glory days of newspapers in Canada.
As television took over news reporting, newspaper readership dwindled. The Herald was purchased by a succession of companies: 1995 Hollinger, 2000 CanWest, 2002 Transcontinental, 2016 Star News Publishing.
Local radio widely proclaimed that newspapers were “dinosaurs”, but the Prince Albert daily prevailed. To prevent the newspaper from dying, a group of employees purchased the business under the name FolioJumpline Publishing. Since May 2018, the Daily Herald has continued to provide local news and advertising for Prince Albert and area.