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Newspapers as a medium

Lisa Sygutek

Mar 22, 2023

To say that last week’s editorial touched a nerve for some and resonated with others is an understatement.

Sometimes I forget that newspapers really are a very effective medium to get out a relevant message that is read by many. I think perhaps it’s been the decimation of our industry by social media that I forget.

Then, occasionally, I write something, and it goes viral. A little weekly newspaper in the southern part of Alberta says something and it hit a wider audience in this province.

Since I wrote my editorial, it has been picked up by Facebook and read by over 3000 people on our website. There were just under 3000 views views on various Twitter accounts and if you add in our paid subscriptions you are looking at close to 8000 people. 

I also had countless people walk into the office on Thursday asking me what our options are. They have researched the ‘Take Back Alberta’ faction, and many were not in favour of the group.

I had phone calls from retired provincial politicians that told me that they were proud I used my voice. I received phone calls from the members of Livingstone-Macleod Constituency, and I’ve had Global News ask to interview me.

What I explained to every one of them is that this section of the paper, the editorial page, is where I give the reader ‘my’ opinion. This section is where I share exactly what I think about my community, my life, our government, or whatever else piques my interest.

I reaffirmed to everyone that the rest of the paper is Switzerland. Anyone can write a Letter to the Editor, even if it to oppose my views. I will always print them, unless they are liable (I was sued last year).

What I hope from some of my editorials is that they spark conversation. They make you question what you think you know, what you do know, and challenge you to research what you don’t know.

The rest of the paper, less this little 250 wordspace, is supposed to present the facts. It is then up to you, the reader, to make an interpretation. I truly try to hold that line. I often do not agree with a brick in the paper or a Letter to the Editor, but I will print it despite that. My skin is thick; you don’t work in this industry without developing a thick skin. I’ve always said that if I’m willing to write about it, I better be able to take the criticism for it.

So, it’s St. Patrick’s Day as I write this (my mother’s birthday) and I’m remembering all the things that woman taught me. She taught me to be fierce. She taught me to take care of those less fortunate than me. She taught me to have a voice and to use that voice and she taught me to never back down.

That’s the thing about me, I won’t be bullied by any group that wants to silence me. I feel Canadians in general don’t particularly like to make waves, even when we feel that something is fundamentally wrong.

So, I encourage you to do your research on topics you are unfamiliar with. I encourage you to question the things you don’t feel are right, and I encourage you to say something.

I say something all the time. Does it make me popular? Lots of times it doesn’t. However it does allow me to get up every single morning and look at myself in the mirror and be comfortable with who I am.

I always find it funny that people say to me, “well Lisa, people either like you or they don’t, and does that bother you?” I always reply, “nope”. I have a handful of friends that I’d walk through fire for and that is good enough for me.

Life isn’t always a popularity contest trying to have everyone like you. To me life is about doing as you say. Having people know they can turn to you for help or guidance and knowing that you will do what you say. I like who I am, and I ask you, do you!

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