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.