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Celebrating the newspaper

Lisa Sygutek

Jan 31, 2024

Let’s celebrate the newspaper and its role in the past and future of our community. 94 years is a long time being your source for local news!

In this week’s Pass Herald, and in future issues, we will have stories by George Lee who is a Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) reporter hired by the Fort Macleod Gazette. 

The LJI supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.

Launched by the Government of Canada in 2019, the LJI provides eligible Canadian news organizations with funding to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. 

The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a creative commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

The Pass Herald has never had an LJI reporter. We did apply last year and were not successful in the bid. Shoot-ing the Breeze in Pincher Creek does run an LJI reporter.

The Fort Macleod Gazette also applied and received funding for a journalist. Instead of having the reporter work out of Fort Macleod, he is working directly out of the Edmonton Legislature. This allows rural communities to be on top of what is happening in Alberta relative to small town issues and perspectives. 

In his LinkedIn page  Lee stated, “If you’d told me in early November, I’d be covering the Alberta Legislature in 2024, I’d have responded, “Right. I don’t think so. And yet here I am embarking on an adventure in journalism I seriously did not see coming. This position aligns so perfectly with the cliché ‘I’ve come full circle’ that there’s no better way to characterize it. 

“Through my proprietorship Features West Studios, I’ve landed a part-time contract (with plenty of full-time peaks and plateaus) under the Local Journalism Initiative. I’m working for The MacLeod Gazette in southern Alberta, but I’ll continue living in Edmonton.”

“My mandate as I understand it: cover the Alberta Legislative Assembly with an emphasis on under reported stories and angles, especially those of importance to rural audiences. With the assembly’s current session set to reconvene on February 28, I am on one of those full-time plateaus.”

Lee started his career at the Lacombe Globe and later worked for several Victoria-area newspapers. Returning to Alberta in 1993, he became the editor and a part owner of the Ponoka News. He has also been a humour columnist off and on, including a stint of self-syndicating that lasted about a decade. Freelance writing and photography have also been a big part of his career.

We at the Pass Herald thank Frank and Emily McTighe for applying and being awarded an LJI reporter, who will keep an eye out for the issues related to rural Alberta and by default small town newspapers.

We have two columns from Lee in the paper this week and we hope you enjoy them and look forward to a Legislative update.

To the right you will see a photo of Dennis Merrell, Executive Director of Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association, seated right and George Lee, left, reading the latest edition of the Pass Herald and the Macleod Gazette at the Alberta Legislature where it is read and archived. Yes, Government officials do read what’s going on in the Crowsnest Pass, as newspapers are the voice of our communities.

You will also see an information sharing partnership between the Pass Herald and the Crowsnest Museum in which we will weekly post a snapshot photo of the history of the Crowsnest Pass. I will also, once a month, copy an old edition page of the Pass Herald so you can read what happened in the Crowsnest Pass in the past. 

Let’s celebrate the newspaper and its role in the past and future of our community. 94 years is a long time being your source for local news!

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