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The Ruttle Report - Recognition has me humbled and taking stock

Newspapers certainly aren't immune to the issues facing the industry, but community support can be the key to continued longevity.
Ruttle Report Pic

I was at home this past Friday evening, looking forward to the May long weekend that was just beginning.

I've always liked May Long because it's something of the unofficial kickoff to the summer season, especially around these parts and down at Lake Diefenbaker as everyone's dying to get out on the water.

Then I got an email from my coworker, asking me if I could share something around that had just popped up on Facebook earlier that day. My curiosity officially piqued, I clicked and took a look at what exactly he was referring to.

I was very honoured by what I watched next.

It was a post from the page of local MLA Dana Skoropad of the Saskatchewan Party government, which shared the following text:

"It was a great pleasure to rise in the House and recognize the amazing work of The Outlook newspaper. The coverage The Outlook has provided over the last 115 years has been invaluable to the town of Outlook and surrounding area."

A video clip was attached, and I watched as Skoropad proceeded to stand in front of his fellow provincial politicians from all sides and give recognition to the work carried out by this newspaper. Not only did Skoropad highlight the work that newspapers such as Outlook's do, but he also named yours truly as someone who can be typically seen at many, many events in the local area and covering them for our news coverage.

If you haven't seen the clip, here's a transcript:

"Mr. Speaker, The Outlook newspaper is currently celebrating its 115th year in business. Its first issue was released February the 5th, 1909, just four years after Saskatchewan became a province. As a matter of fact, the paper predates the town of Outlook itself, as Outlook was declared a town in 1910; over a year after the first issue was released.

This means that they've covered all but two provincial elections, countless local marriages, births, graduations, and so much more. The Outlook has served not only as a newspaper for the past 115 years, but they have been the glue of a community and surrounding area by writing about topics that matter to their readers. Before we had 24/7 news at the touch of our fingertips, The Outlook was reporting on the issues meaningful to rural Saskatchewan with over 5500 editions published.

It is, and continues to be, the spirit of community.

Their mission is to be a part of the fabric of Outlook, and they are doing just that because even today, I can't attend an event in the Outlook area where I don't bump into Derek Ruttle, The Outlook's full-time reporter.

The longevity of The Outlook shows the resilience and importance of small town businesses here in Saskatchewan.

And Mr. Speaker, with that, I ask all members to help me recognize and congratulate one of Saskatchewan's oldest newspapers, The Outlook, and I encourage everyone to go out and get a copy."

I had but one thought after I watched this clip online:

'I've been name-dropped in the Saskatchewan Legislature! I'm a made man now!'

Now, all kidding aside, this really took me and I have to imagine my coworkers by total pleasant surprise. It means the absolute world to us that the work being carried out by dedicated and tireless people to write and produce newspapers like The Outlook is being recognized at such a level by the men and women who are leading our home province here in Saskatchewan.

First, let me say that many thanks go out to MLA Dana Skoropad for recognizing myself and this incredible newspaper, and I like to think that such recognition helps add to the awareness of the work that newspapers such as Outlook's does for communities around the province and beyond.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that in 2024, and let's be honest, probably the last decade and change before then, rapid-fast technology and media at your fingertips has been an opponent to the printed medium of newspapers. Take a look at your local big city papers and the obvious changes that they've undergone. The StarPhoenix, for example, has never been thinner as big city newsrooms have fully embraced the online world, and many if not all of their staff simply work from home.

Newsrooms such as The Outlook are certainly not immune. Heck, there was a change that took place back in March and as a result, even *I* don't technically work for the newspaper anymore. See my byline in a recent print issue? You see how it says 'Derek Ruttle -'? That's because I'm an employee now of Harvard Media, who bought SaskToday from Glacier Media (owners of The Outlook). I, along with a dozen other journalists from around the province, came as part of the package deal. Does that really change anything in the long run? No, because I still cover the local events and happenings of Outlook and the surrounding regional area, just as I've done for the past 17 years. And my work obviously still appears in the pages of this legendary newspaper. So really, the only change has been my byline and who signs my paychecks.

The other change will become much more obvious in the coming weeks, as The Outlook's news office building has been sold off and it looks like the start of July is when the new ownership takes place. So, there's definitely going to be some changes ahead as we all look to vacate the office at Saskatchewan Avenue and hopefully land elsewhere. Have a location that we should look at? Go ahead and give the office a call with your info, haha. I'm not going to pretend that we're not intensely looking for a new home, because time's not exactly on our side here!

The truth? Locations and offices may change, which can be something that affects all manner of businesses, but the goal remains the same - being a newspaper in this community area that puts community first. We've been here for 115 years, telling the stories, informing readers of the news that's important to them and providing a unique look at what life is like in this part of the province and this part of the country.

A newspaper supports its community by putting it in the spotlight and showing outsiders what makes life interesting in these parts.

My hope is that this community area and beyond continues to return the favor and show its support. The Outlook needs it now, perhaps more than ever before.

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.