January 15th, 2021

Lethbridge Herald keeps readers involved in community


By Lethbridge Herald on November 25, 2020.

Caring about a community means more than just providing services or sponsorships. It means helping to create an atmosphere of togetherness, fostering citizen engagement and providing common ground where we can all grow together and feel in touch with one another.
For 125 years the Lethbridge Herald has provided that common ground for local citizens to feel a part of, and meaningfully involved, in their community.
“For me, I think it is really important we have this (newspaper) option so we can reach as many people in our community as possible,” says Covenant Foundation development officer Tonya Woolford. “Not everybody is on the internet getting their news. Not everybody is online on Facebook and that kind of stuff. So we still have a good percentage of our population that appreciates reading their news and getting their information from a newspaper; especially so with the people who are in our facilities, our residents and their families.”
With the pace of information moving so fast today, Woolford says it is hard for her elderly residents at St. Michael’s Health Centre and St. Therese Villa to keep up with everything going on without their Lethbridge Herald. But it is not only her residents who are facing information overload, she says, it’s everyone in society. With COVID-19, for example, she says, there has been fear and anxiety for many. She says The Herald has a great way of presenting information both through newsprint and online that cuts through all the chatter to present a calm and sober voice to the community.
“There is a lot going on, and a lot of information overload as well,” Woolford confirms. “Today we take information instantly from our internet, or Facebook, but sometimes there is a little more depth that is needed. And that is what a newspaper does; so people can actually get the information, and really look it over, and can take their time.
Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation executive director Jason VandenHoek also appreciates The Herald’s way of conveying information to the community.
“While over the years how we communicate has changed,” he says, “to us, working with The Herald is still a really important part of our communication strategy.
“We still have donors, stakeholders and supporters that access their information every day from the Lethbridge Herald; so it is important to us we are reaching as many people as possible.”
VandenHoek says The Herald still plays an invaluable role in communicating what the fundamental needs of the community are even after all these years.
“We enjoy great relationships with all the media in Lethbridge, but certainly when it comes to The Herald we can fit a lot of information in a relatively quick amount of time,” he says.
“The reporting that goes into The Herald is really important. It is detailed. It gets those really important details out to the public that don’t transfer as well in other types of media. We rely on The Herald to get really accurate information out to the people who want it.”
Not only does The Herald let people know what is going on in the community, and gives them a platform to feel involved, it also helps engage the community in important dialogue and discussions about issues and challenges within their community and beyond, says Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs past chair Knud Petersen.
“The fact that the Lethbridge Herald consistently reports on our sessions, and tells people they are upcoming, is invaluable for spreading the news of issues that affect everyone in Lethbridge,” says Petersen. “It is extremely valuable in my mind that The Herald does what it does. I think it is very important for the community that The Herald writes these stories about us, and the issues we bring to the table.”
Current SACPA chair Laurie Schulz agrees with Petersen, but also credits The Herald with creating an effective media platform which amplifies meaningful dialogue and discussion in the community.
“I just don’t think SACPA would come to the attention of people if it were not for The Herald,” she says. “I think it would just leave a huge gap between SACPA and the community if we didn’t have it. SACPA really appreciates The Herald’s support and coverage.”
For Susan Eymann, executive director of the Lethbridge Sport Council, The Herald has a strong track record in promoting large community sporting events, like Summer Games and World Curling Championship bids, and other public events, which have the ability to bring the community together.
“Any time The Herald finds out there is a major event coming to town, they are all over it,” she says.
And beyond that, she says, for her organization, The Herald has become a vital conduit to let the community know what’s happening in local sport by providing a free column space every two weeks for the council to promote a healthy lifestyle through athletics in Lethbridge.
“I am just trying to work on our 2021 budget,” Eymann says, “and trying to get some money in our marketing budget line, it is really non-existent. So the ability to market our organization in traditional ways like buying ads or buying radio slots, or buying commercials, it’s just not possible. So the opportunity for us to share with the community what is happening with sports in Lethbridge, and how to connect the community to the sport organizations — everyone knows about the traditional team sports, but not everyone likes to play team sports — so to give the community information about everything else that is going on in Lethbridge is great. So the benefit our relationship with The Herald is two-fold — it is getting our name out there more. To have something in The Herald to promote ourselves is important, and it’s our way of marketing, and it is totally appreciated.”
If you have a personal story to tell about The Herald’s importance to you, we encourage you to contact your local city council representatives to let them know why you support your local newspaper.

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Dennis Bremner

One of the reasons that local papers tend to die a painful death is their propensity to be “all encompassing” with their news. Local papers want to give the impression they are “worldly” when they are not. So what you get is great local news, and 2 day old world news.
Two day old news compared to what? The internet of course, so generally the news you see that is outside of Alberta, and even some within Alberta is 2 days old. Now, most papers will say the all encompassing news is needed. I think that’s where they make their mistake. It does not take much for people to realize that more often than not, they are reading old news and they begin to question why they have the paper delivered.
Local papers use the 2 day old news as a page filler to make the paper look big enough to buy. But the actuality is, the dilution by this older news is what is causing their problem.
If I want to find out what is happening on the world stage, what DOES NOT come to mind is “consult Lethbridge Herald”!
So this tends to end up being a bit of a mugs game. The paper needs fillers to create an actual paper. The fillers give “modern man/woman” the impression they are paying for 2 day old news, and the downward spiral begins.
So how do you solve the problem? Its a bit of a chicken an egg but you have to go this route or you are destined for death. First, you flush out all the “perceived” old news. Any older news can be inserted and spun by local reporters into an opinion piece. Opinion pieces create interest because their are always two sides of a story. Does no one at Lethbridge Herald have an opinion on Donald Trumps defeat? Or, Biden’s Presidency? Does no one have opinion on the SCS closure? Council doing their job? LAPS doing theirs?
If a paper decides to be neutral, and only prints neutral info, it becomes stale and, a has been, in short order.
Fence straddlers do not create a paper, just as one sided political rags do not create a paper. Papers have to create local news, and create opinions on that news. Papers have to employ reporters with actual opinion. The days of telling a story and allowing the story to stand on its merits has become defunct in todays society because most people WANT to see an opinion.
Supporting a city by being neutral on every aspect of its life does not make you a newspaper. I miss the days of reporters actually working for a living as opposed to just reporting the news in type form or on the airways. I am not a longtime Lethbridge person so do not fully understand its history or why it does things today. But to give you an example, was buying the stupid airport a smart idea? Certainly reading this paper I could not find a Pro’s vs Cons article unless it was written by someone outside the paper?
Supporting a city does not mean you support the Mayor, or the Council, or the local MP or MLA, it means you give credit where credit is due, and laying it on when credit is not due!
If I wanted to become a popular mayor all I would have to do is spend everyone else’s money until it ran out, and not raise taxes the year I seek re-election, perhaps even take a pay cut to show how concerned I am about the bottom line.
We have many things facing Lethbridge as challenges, but to be honest I have never seen one of your reporters actually profess a staunch opinion (and be able to defend it) on literally any topic. So for as long as you appear to straddle under the guise of just bringing the news, then local papers are doomed.
When the commentary section of the paper is the only place to get an opinion, one tends to wonder why they are reading the paper at all.
Opinion of two polar opposite reporters adds interest, interest adds subscriptions, subscriptions create increased circulation, increased circulation creates ad revenue. Ads create a larger paper, a larger paper is sustainable.
The days of just reporting the news is over because most young people cannot form an opinion unless they know how many likes each opinion gets, then they go with the largest group. And, me making that statement creates the needed adrenalin pump for people to respond. Controversy is not a bad thing for a paper, bias is!
I could start a newspaper today and put you out of business by this time next year just by sticking to opinions that creates controversy in the city. The rebuttals would be long, and interesting. Which raises my last point, drop the 400 word max for submissions because you are cutting your own throat by doing so!

pseu·do·nym

  1. a fictitious name, especially one used by an author.

Lethbridge Herald employ two authors under pseudonyms with opposing views of the direction of this city, and let them loose. It will double your subscriptions in less than a year.
If you do get money from Council, remember its to support a local paper, its not to support their opinion.
Time for a shake up in the ranks, Rupert Murdoch did not make his billions by employing people that have no opinion! One could say he only hired people with HIS opinion, but at least his reporters have one. Try to remain unbias and let two opinions to exist simultaneously and suddenly you will be a real paper. Do so and you will increase readership by 100% in a year or less.
Oh, and triple the size of your commentary section, you obviously have no idea that it drives people to buy the paper to read the “next stupid comment or next brilliant one”

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis Bremner


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