Sunday December 03, 2017
more stories from this episode
By David Gutnick
On Wednesday, December 6, carriers will heave their canvas bags over their shoulders and go door-to-door to deliver the final edition of a newspaper that has been around for more than 128 years.
The first edition of the Moose Jaw Times was published on April 2, 1889. By 1906, it became a daily.
Moose Jaw was a boom town then — a major stop on the Canadian Pacific Railway line — and settlers were hungry for information.
This Wednesday’s Times-Herald will be a collector’s item — 32 pages of photos and articles pulled from the newspaper’s morgue.
In a way, it’s a bit of a miracle that the Moose Jaw paper lasted as long as it did.
Over the past decade, dozens of other Canadian dailies and weeklies have gone under. Most of the rest are hanging on for dear life.
This week, media giants Torstar and Postmedia struck a deal that shuffled ownership of dozens of Ontario community newspapers — and then killed most of them off.
But Roger Holmes thought he could buck the trend.
Holmes, president of Star New Publishing Inc., bought the Moose Jaw Times-Herald just a year and a half ago, boldly predicting that he could make it thrive.
Holmes is in his mid-60s, thin, friendly and energetic. He loves showing off the home of the Times-Herald, a one-storey yellow brick building just off Main Street in downtown Moose Jaw.
Standing in a backroom piled with freshly printed copies of the paper, he takes a deep breath. He says he’s relished the smell of ink ever since he was a small boy.
Ink runs in the Holmes family’s veins.
His grandfather was a typesetter in England, and when he immigrated to Canada he first found a job at the Winnipeg Free Press. By 1929, he was living in Alberta and had become the owner of the Provost News.
“My father inherited that newspaper when my grandfather died during the war, and that is where I grew up,” says Holmes.
His brother still runs that paper. Holmes’s daughter Sarah is also in the business: she and her husband run the weekly Gabriola Sounder on the B.C….