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Buddy, the Pass Herald and the AWNA

Lisa Sygutek

Sept 27, 2023

I talk about Buddy a lot in my editorials. I talk about him because, quite frankly, he was one of the most important people in my life.

I talk about Buddy a lot in my editorials. I talk about him because, quite frankly, he was one of the most important people in my life.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about him, talk about him, or hear his voice in the office. Sometimes I walk by his old office, and I can see him sitting behind his computer playing music, or writing editorials, or answering the phones.

He would always answer the phone, and at some point, he would call me over to finish the conversation for him. His favourite line was, “let me get you Lisa, she’s got six years of university education, and yet she chooses to work at the Pass Herald”. He was my champion, he was my friend, he was there for me when many other people weren’t, and he was a grandparent role model for my boys.

Buddy was always so proud of me, even when I wasn’t particularly proud of myself. He was my champion!

Buddy bought the Pass Herald in 1950 and worked in the industry right up until he died in 2017. I often joked that he was the oldest Editor in the country. He watched the paper grow, he watched competition come in and try to take over the news in the community, and he watched our paper close all the competition.

The Pass Herald outlived the Pass Promoter and Crowsnest Pass Free Press. He was so proud that we outlived them all that he even framed their past editions.

The one thing Buddy never wanted me to do was run for Council. He watched my mom run and as a result when she made decisions that someone didn’t agree with, we ultimately lost some business. People have a hard time differentiating between the person and the business.

I ran for Council after Buddy passed away. I had thought of running while he was alive, but I didn’t, out of respect for him.

There have been times in the last six years I wondered if I made the right decision. I have upset customers, the Chamber of Commerce, and even Council over the years, but to my delight we are still here and moving forward.

In 2018 I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) in Edmonton and was asked if I would like to step forward as a Board Member for the 2019 term. I accepted. I’ve never been one to sit on the side lines.

Just to give you a background on the AWNA. It has been around since 1906 and is a not-for-profit trade association representing 85+ member newspapers throughout Alberta and the Northwest Territories. They boast a combined circulation of over 450,000. The AWNA is part of a Canada-wide network of community newspapers through the News Media Canada, together with six other provincial associations. Together they represent nearly 700 newspapers.

Since my election to the board, I have held seats as a Director, Vice President, and as of last weekend President.

Yes, you read that right I’m the President of the AWNA. I must tell you Buddy would be smiling from ear-to-ear in Heaven watching me get sworn in last Friday. There is pretty much nothing I could do that would make him prouder. At the meeting there were a lot of old-time newspaper owners and publishers and many of them remembered Bud. He made an impression on everyone he met, and all told me how proud he would be.

I now have a two-year mandate to represent our industry in this beautiful province to fight for our rights with News Media Canada, and to make sure our papers stay viable for years to come. I’m not going to lie, I’m proud of myself as well. It’s surprising what you can do, even when you live in a small town in southern Alberta. We all need to dream big, because when you do, it sometimes does come to fruition!

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