Turning the page in North Central

Past issues of the North Central Community Connection sitting on a table in the organization’s offices. The newspaper, which is moving to an online only format will publish its final print edition in December. Photo by Joseph Bernacki.

After three decades of storytelling and serving the community, a local paper is preparing to shift its format from print to online.

Jan Morier, editor of Community Connection, has already been offering an online version.

“The word ‘lifeline’ comes to mind for getting our local news to our local people,” Morier said.

“I do hope that the people finding our news will not be a bad transition, and yet I appreciate that there are members of the community who don’t have the technology in their homes. There are seniors who will never adapt to this transition.”

Over the last decade, under auspices of North Central Community Association, the Community Connection ran six issues a year, four in colour. It was circulated to 4500 households in the neighbourhood via Canada Post.

The paper was printed in Wainwright, Alta. Printing and delivery costs plus the loss of a sponsorship influenced Morier’s decision.

“We have regular City of Regina funding and the ripple effect downwards is that if any of their financing is reduced, funds for community associations will be frozen or cut back as well.”

Murray Keewatin distributed the paper at Regina Alternative Measures Program, where he works as a community justice facilitator.

“All the events I’d like to get involved in, where do I get that information from? The paper,” Keewatin said, answering his own question.

“It takes away a sense of belonging, a sense of unity, a sense of realism. It’s just like a person wanting to eat a sandwich and they see it online, you can only see it. Or they could have the real McCoy and eat it, the newsprint is the real McCoy of reading material.”

Mark Taylor, an instructor at the University of Regina School of Journalism, spent one year as editor of Community Connection and learned the ins and outs of the neighbourhood.

“That neighbourhood is near and dear to my heart,” said Taylor. “The paper, I’d like to think made a difference in people’s lives.”

Over 12 years, Morier has worked as a cub reporter, delivery person and editor. She relies on the people to keep her interested in the business.

“The people I get to meet and the stories I get to hear, that’s everything,” said Morier. “Nobody is telling the good stories. That’s what we wanted to centre ourselves as a place to share all the wonderful things happening here.”

The last print issue will be available in December. Starting in February, Community Connection will continue online with plans to embed audio as extra content.

Joseph Bernacki

I am a third year journalism student at the University of Regina. Growing up in Winnipeg I hosted a country music show for two years on FM Radio. I share a great interest in current events, sports and business affairs. My dream job would be to work as a sports broadcaster in Chicago.

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