By Lethbridge Herald on November 27, 2020.
For 125 years, the Lethbridge Herald has been an important social influencer in the community. Either through editorial commentary, by fostering democratic debate, or through taking an editorial position on issues of importance to the community, The Herald continues to play a vital role in supporting free speech and stronger community relations in Lethbridge.
Sisters in Spirit committee member Marissa Smoke agrees The Herald is an important voice in the community which has the potential through its coverage to tilt or influence public opinion.
“I think it is important for the Lethbridge Herald to print more stories based on some of the Indigenous issues like the Calls for Justice on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report,” she says. “It would be so important for us to keep good relations with the Lethbridge Herald, and for the Lethbridge Herald to report more of the positive Indigenous public relations.”
Sisters in Spirit does feel The Herald, like many older institutions in the community, has started the process of creating those better relations with local Indigenous peoples, Smoke says, particularly with the coverage it has given to the Sisters in Spirit yearly vigil in the newspaper. Because of its important influencer role in the community, Smoke hopes The Herald will be willing to do even more.
“I would like to see the Lethbridge Herald become an ally who contributes to promoting relationships that inform the public on how we can decolonize our community and address the systemic racism we are facing daily,” she states. “I think it is important for the public to have a better understanding of some of the things we are doing, and having the Lethbridge Herald work with us would be a vital resource to the community.”
Wood’s Homes Lethbridge program manager Shauna Cohen says her organization has positively benefited from The Herald’s ongoing, strong, public support.
“We really feel the Lethbridge Herald is a great community partner supporting many local organizations including Wood’s Homes,” she says. “The Lethbridge Herald has been a gold level sponsor at our gala for a number of years, attended our galas, and provided us with auction items, and has promoted our various events throughout the years. It is a hugely important contact we have, and a supporter, in the community.”
But the relationship between The Herald and Wood’s Homes goes beyond a corporate partnership, Cohen says, with the entire public weight of the newspaper firmly onside with the organization’s goals of creating a mentally healthier and physically safer community for local children and youth.
“We strongly rely on the paper to get messages out in the form of news stories to get it out to people who don’t necessarily have access or the capability to go on social media,” she says. “So the impact on us is huge. We get ads given to us at non-profit rates, and we are just extremely grateful for the support.”
Good press is extremely important for the Lethbridge Hurricanes as well, says the club’s general manager Peter Anholt, and the newspaper’s coverage over the years has always been of great interest to the Hurricanes’ players, its executive, and to its fans within the community.
“(The sports reporters) at The Herald do a really good job at covering our hockey club,” he says. “Any of the features they do on the players is important to help get the news out about our individual players, and what they are like, so our fans can learn a little bit more about each player. The Lethbridge Herald is one of those ways we do it, and we appreciate our relationship with The Herald.”
Win or lose, Anholt says he knows The Herald’s coverage of his team will be fair.
“We have good relationships with all our media outlets, but certainly the Lethbridge Herald is a premier part of that relationship with us throughout the Lethbridge community,” he states. “It is important for us to continue to have a good relationship with the Lethbridge Herald, and the people there treat us fairly– and we appreciate that.”
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.