By Sue Tiffin
It’s maybe not everyone’s idea of a good time, but digging through the archives at a newspaper office can be such an enticing way to spend minutes-turned-into-hours. Seeing photos of community members who are now long gone and once-popular events that bring about waves of nostalgia, news from councils that were discussing issues sometimes not so different from today, and the chronicling of life from birth announcements through to obituaries provides a sense of community and togetherness in just a few pages bonded together.
All of those individual stories and snapshots capturing a moment in time in one place become very powerful as a reflection of ourselves – where we came from and where we’re going.
I have archives myself, in the form of scrapbooks taped together and newspaper clippings of stories I wrote long ago and already yellowing – my, how time flies. Exactly 25 years ago this week – on Oct. 7, 1996 – I became a student reporter for the Minden Times. I was a teenager in Minden, fresh off of a life-changing co-op experience with the Haliburton County Echo, with a plan to go to journalism school and likely not an inkling that I would one day return to my hometown, or return to the papers where it all began, so to speak.
I have worked as a reporter for the past four long-standing editors of the Minden Times: Jack Brezina, Martha Perkins (at the Echo), Jenn Watt and Chad Ingram. I am grateful for the opportunity and encouragement they shared with me, the strength and support they have offered through their mentorship and friendship – not only then, but now, even in these past few weeks. While they all brought something different to these pages and this community, what is true of that legendary group is that they each care very deeply for their local newspapers – again, not only then, but now. While I too will bring something different to these pages and this community than they each did, I share their deep-rooted passion and respect for the people who live and visit here, and for the critical role of community journalism in rural areas.
The Minden Times is a product created by a really incredible, exceptionally hard-working team providing an essential service, often dedicating much of their free time to seeking out the news and stories that people care about, working diligently throughout a pandemic – and it is also created by the community itself. This paper is your paper.
Please reach out and let me know – what do you miss from newspapers gone by, what do you love about your weekly paper, what do you hope to see more of in the future?
The archives tell our stories, as does the paper you’re reading now and as will future editions. It is an honour and privilege to be here, help share what matters to you, and try to capture it all in a few pages.