Friday, December 18, 2015

Edmonton Journal

Image from the front page of the Journal from December 18, 1946, sixty-nine years ago.

The Edmonton Journal, a Conservative paper, began in 1903 as the Evening Journal. The first run of 1000 papers was produced on a hand-fed press.

In 1908, the founding editor of the Vancouver Sun, J.P. McConnell, bought the Journal and turned it over to J.H. Woods, who also owned the Lethbridge News. Woods hired Milton Robbins Jennings, an experienced newspaperman, to manage and edit the Edmonton Journal. When Jennings made the paper politically independent, readership soared.

In 1912, Jennings hired Balmer Watt as an editor, and the two created an editorial campaign in favour of women's rights. After the untimely death of Jennings in 1921, John Mills Imrie, the new managing director made Watt editor-in-chief. Together, the two men went to bat for freedom of the press in 1938 by campaigning against the Press Act of the Social Credit government of William Aberhart. Their work earned a special Pulitzer Award for the Edmonton Journal, the first awarded outside the US. The wire story from New York was headlined in the Journal. It read, "a special public service Pulitzer Prize in the form of a bronze plaque was awarded to the Edmonton Journal for its leadership in the defence of the freedom of the press in the province of Alberta.'" (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Since then, the Journal has won numerous national awards and citations for its coverage of human rights issues. It has a strong interest in Northern affairs and maintains a bureau in the Territories.

Also technologically advanced, in 1984, the Journal became the first Canadian paper to employ satellite links to transmit photos. Along with its popularity in Alberta, the paper has subscribers in BC, Saskatchewan and even as far north as Inuvik.

Here's what the online version (there is also a paper version) of the Journal looks like today.

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