Memories trump money... sometimes
Once upon a time….That’s how many fairy tales begin and it’s the way I prefer to remember my two years, 1989-1991, founding and running my own weekly newspaper.
The good memories persist despite the fact that we ran out of funds to continue publishing our feisty weekly. I remember the exhilaration of working with freelancers and young staffers who really wanted to make a difference in terms of producing quality journalism.
I recall the enthusiasm of residents in the west end of Montreal who would call us if their home delivery was late on occasion. And the weekly pizza suppers in the office when staffers rolled up their sleeves to work on deadline so that a fresh paper could be printed in time for our loyal readers to enjoy before a swirl of weekend activities engulfed them.
In looking back at the almost two years of weekly publication, perhaps what strikes me most is the amazing range of content and coverage we provided, considering our relatively meager financial resources.
It seemed like a literary witch’s brew of insightful analysis, fanciful features, hard-hitting local exposés and an irreverent Speaking Out column by local writer Mel Solman, who combined a fresh view of the contemporary world with a master’s knowledge of history and culture.
My co-Publisher Wesley Goldstein and I were amazed and gratified at the amount of ink our little Weekly Herald garnered in the mainstream press. In May 1990 Gail Chiasson of Marketing Magazine wrote a piece on Page 23 of that national publication under the headline, "Aiming for anglophones."
On June 25, 1990, just a couple of months after our first anniversary, The Gazette published a full-page article in its business supplement written by reporter Carolyn Adolph under the headline, "Saucy stories sell weekly."
After we ran out of funds and were forced to close down in February 1991, Jack Todd, then Page 3 columnist at The Gazette, devoted his entire column of June 6, 1991 to my efforts to resurrect the Weekly Herald as a paid publication. His column was titled, "Newspaper Tiger Perley pounds pavement to resurrect the Herald."
When it became clear that I couldn't raise the money needed to relaunch the Herald, Todd did a second column on November 21, 1991 with the headline, "Sign of the times: Plans for west-end weekly die from lack of support."
To give you just a tantalizing nibble of what all the excitement was about in those days, we have reproduced all the Weekly Herald front pages from the almost two years of our brief existence.
Who says a short life has no meaning? Tell that to our journalists and readers who still recall with fondness the brief magical moment in time we all shared in this grand experiment in Canadian grassroots journalism in what seems so long ago and far away.