Each year, we celebrate National Newspaper Week – an opportunity to recognize the impact that newspapers make on communities both big and small across Canada.
We like to think that every week should be a newspapers’ week. After all, we’re delivering a paper to you each week, filled with important and timely stories about what’s happening in Estevan and area.
So often, we’re the only place you’re going to hear about things. We’re out there running stories on police arrests, city council meetings and other political occurrences, but we’re also writing articles on youth sports teams, fundraisers, community events, new businesses and other happenings in the city.
And we’re typically the ones delivering the strongest photos. You can tell who’s in the photo and what is actually happening.
Our goal is to cover every facet of life in Estevan. After all, one of the truest measures of success for a community newspaper is the diversity of its coverage.
It’s important to remember that most of the people in Estevan are great folks who do important work to make our communities what it is. And so the pages of the Mercury should reflect that. The good should outweigh the bad.
But everything in the area isn’t always positive, and so we have to reflect that reality, too.
The Mercury is proud to be Estevan’s oldest business. We’ve been around since 1903, so we’ve obviously done something right. Estevan likely isn’t the only community to say its paper is also its oldest business. And there actually are other papers in Saskatchewan even older than us. It speaks to the impact that newspapers have had throughout the province over the years, and to the contributions they continue to make.
And there’s a team that makes the paper happen. You need to have the sales people to sell ads, the editorial team to write stories and the production employees to bring it all together. Like all businesses, you need a good administrator.
But you also need people who will print the paper, and the carriers to distribute the finished product. Take even one of these out of the equation, and you won’t have the newspaper that people enjoy each week.
The 21st century hasn’t always been kind to the newspaper industry. We’ve seen many papers shut down, and long-time journalists have been laid off or given early retirement before they were ready to call it a career.
Advertisers have opted for other newer, non-traditional forms of media, and aspiring reporters in journalism school don’t fancy a career in print like they once did.
Newspapers haven’t always done the best job of adapting to the changing dynamics, either. Those of us at the Mercury like to think we’ve kept pace – we’ve been a free distribution paper for more than a decade now, and have long been aggressive in getting news online – but others have not.
But still, in Saskatchewan, newspapers remain the best option for news and advertising. And according to information from News Media Canada, 86 per cent of Canadians still turn to their newspaper each week, whether it be in print or online.
This year’s theme for National Newspapers Week is “Champions of Truth: The Real Superheroes.” We’ll agree with the first half of that sentiment. Our job is to deliver the truth to you, whether it be each week within the framework of this paper, or online through the provincial news hub, www.sasktoday.ca, which we have been part of since July 2021.
As for the second part of that theme, well, we still think the true superheroes are firefighters, police officers, front-line health-care workers and the men and women of the Canadian Forces.
The theme, of course, is secondary. What’s most important is that newspapers continue to be a valued member of the community, and will remain as such. So forgive us for this brief self-indulgence. We always appreciate it when you come to us with story ideas or when you’re looking to book an ad.
And if you want to take the time to thank us for our work, we’d sure appreciate it.