By Matt Cinnamon, discoverEstevan
Difficult news before the holidays as a few people are losing their jobs and communities in southeast Saskatchewan are losing their weekly newspaper.
The presses grind to a halt on Friday marking the final edition of the historic Oxbow-Carnduff Herald-Gazette. Two deals with prospective buyers fell through.
The Carnduff Gazette was first published in 1899, while the Oxbow Herald went into circulation in 1913. The pair were merged under Star News Publishing in 2016, however, they are now among the dominoes falling in the company’s scramble to vacate the province. It follows in the wake of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald which closed on December 7.
The Prince Albert Daily Times which was also owned by Star News was saved from closure with an employee buyout.
Melissa Buchanan, who served as editor of the Herald-Gazette, said she will try to focus on everything but her occupation throughout the Christmas season.
“There’s only two of us that work in the Carnduff office, myself and Chrystal Pickard. I know that Chrystal plans on spending some time with her kids and being a stay at home mom,” shared Buchanan.
“I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to worry about what’s going to happen next until after the holidays. I have a two-year-old son, so my goal is to spend that time focusing on making this a happy time for him. After the new year I’ll worry about what’s next.”
“We’ve been kind of preparing ourselves all month for this to be the end, especially once we heard about Moose Jaw. They wouldn’t close them and keep us open. It’s sad, but at the same time, I feel like a lot of print media is going by the wayside as people become more familiar (with) utilizing the internet. Nobody’s willing to wait till Friday to hear their news when they’re getting it all immediately online, so I understand why it’s not happening anymore, but obviously we’re not thrilled,” she expressed.
The weekly newspaper has always been a community-minded paper, with news centred on the small town. Buchanan believes the community will suffer the most from the closure, and folks will miss it.
“Who doesn’t love to pick up a paper and see their kid right on the front page? That’s a delight to any mom, or grandma, or whoever. We were trying to involve a lot of the community,” Buchanon said.
She explained that the paper just started new ‘Student of the Week’ feature that was a popular section that allowed parents to show off.
We had just initiated a ‘Student of The Week’ a few months ago, that was a really popular section of the paper, and we had a lot of parents really proud and showcasing that off to family members.”
She also shared a few memorable highlights from her tenure as editor of the small town publication.
“I really enjoyed Sheri Vincent her story with her battle with Lyme disease, I feel like that was something that really spurred movement in our community. It really brought a focus to her struggle and what she was doing about it.”
Buchanon also said she had a lot of fun covering community events and she always felt welcome.
“I also absolutely adored covering the dances at the community friendship centre, with everybody pulling me in to dance with them while I was there reporting, that was a fun day. Anything happening at Cariville’s school was always a party, a huge success and quite fun for me,” she said.
Buchanon reflected on the experience as positive overall, saying she really enjoyed her time covering fun and happy news stories.