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Moose Jaw Express newspaper observes 10 years local coverage

Ron Walter looks back on his time with The Moose Jaw Express
MJT_RonWalter_TradingThoughts
Trading Thoughts by Ron Walter

Time does fly by quickly.

It seems like yesterday when Yours Truly was leafing through a free television guide magazine delivered to every home in Moose Jaw.                                         

Having worked until two years before that day for the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, this little magazine was of peculiar interest.

It was a mystery. Who owned it? Who ran it? Why out of Lethbridge, Alberta? How did they manage that?

An advertisement from the publisher in this particular issue grabbed my attention. It asked for applications for freelance reporter/photographers for a new weekly newspaper in Moose Jaw called the Moose Jaw Value Express.

Just over two years into retirement after 34 years reporting for daily newspapers and nearly nine years ownership in publishing I was ready to get back in harness.

The chosen photography hobby that had consumed many hours travelling was still interesting but to photograph new objects meant more travel and stay away nights.

Since the 2008-09 recession money that was once available was cut back to try and ensure it didn't run out before I became breathless. The time was ripe for another shot at reporting.

I consulted with my partner and wife. She too was ready for an opportunity like this.

Her position at the Times-Herald had just been abolished as a cost-cutting measure. She discovered the cut by accident while on bereavement leave for her brother’s funeral.

Yours Truly was a cradle robber so she still wanted to work for many years.

We didn’t have much discussion before we made the decision to apply. The worst that could happen was: we didn’t like the place and quit.

We sent in our resumes and heard back rather quickly from publisher Rob Ritchie, one of the shareholders. He had contacted another shareholder, Bob Calvert in Moose Jaw, asking if he knew “these people?’’

Bob had been our publisher at the Moose Jaw Times-Herald and general manager at Moose Jaw This Week, before the Times acquired it. He encouraged Rob to hire us.

When the first issue of the weekly Moose Jaw Express came out June 15, 2010 there were no full-time reporters, just Joan Ritchie the editor covering most of the local news herself at the time, and very few freelancers who wrote on request for the new paper.

There’s been a lot of ink on paper since then. The newspaper has flourished losing and gaining freelancers.

Around two years ago the full-time newsroom employees increased with the addition of a number of former T-H reporters and a number of full time journalist/reporters that do an excellent job in local coverage. 

An online news service MooseJawToday.com provides daily news, covering local news, local and national sports, national, global and business news, with Scott Hellings as online editor.

Time sure has passed fast since we met Joan and Rob Ritchie and started our careers over.

Never dreamed the day I read the ad for freelancers that we would be writing 10 years later or that we’d have such great experiences.

Ron Walter can be reached at ronjoy@sasktel.net

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.