The La Ronge Northerner is turning off its presses after decades of informing the town and the many communities surrounding it.
The local paper, owned by Glacier Media, will no longer exist as of Friday.
Mayor Thomas Sierzycki said it was disappointing to hear their “small town paper” no longer fits in the company’s “economic plan.”
“Anytime you lose a staple of your community with a long history like The Northerner had in La Ronge and northern Saskatchewan, it’s pretty difficult,” Sierzycki said. “We’re hoping that there is something that’s put in place or someone comes along that may purchase or open up their local paper.”
“We strongly do believe that there are many stories to be told as well as a market for the next person that’s willing to fill that void.”
The paper has been up and running for at least 30 years, according to Sierzycki.
“Growing up in La Ronge, it’s always been one of those things that as a kid you see a lot of your neat stories, whether you’re in hockey or judo…or anything going on at the schools, and you always wanted to be in the local paper,” Sierzycki said.
Over the years, Sierzycki said they’ve had tremendous people involved with the paper.
“That’s probably the most frustrating and hurtful part is the threat of losing that direct link to telling the stories by unique individuals across the North,” Sierzycki said.
According to the Glacier Media website, “The La Ronge Northerner is the weekly newspaper for the northern half of Saskatchewan”. It covers an area that includes over 30 communities throughout the North, with the majority of their papers –two thirds total—sold in the tri-community area of La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.
The three communities, which make up an urban area of about 7,000 people, is a centre for much of the activity in the North.
The paper’s mission statement is “to provide northern Saskatchewan with the foremost news and communications service possible.”
This motto is something that may go unfulfilled without the presence of a local news source. From next week on, Missinippi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) will be the only media that will continue to provide stories from La Ronge and throughout the North on a weekly basis.
Sierzycki said social media is partly to blame.
“I do think in order to get the real scoop of the story, it’s important to have people and boots on the ground and unfortunately with the CBC closing, and The Northerner closing, and potentially not being filled, those are really taking away from some of the stories that northern Saskatchewan has to offer,” Sierzycki said.
He believes the population in northern Saskatchewan is unique and diverse compared to the south, something that needs to be expressed.
“It’s important to have those stories told so that we all have an understanding of one another,” Sierzycki said.
He supports the amount of media sources in the south, but without enough coverage in the North, the majority of their stories will be left untold and views unshared.
“It’s just a difficult thing to hear as a mayor, and as a person who’s grown up in La Ronge knowing that vital link of communication…potentially could not exist anymore.”
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