When Alberta Street News was faced with having to fold, I was surprised at the response from readers. The past two months were interesting, with calls and emails from media and from individuals concerned about ASN. It began when the printer called to say the printing of the March issue had not been paid and they refused to print the April issue until it was. Then the end of April, I was invited to stand up and be recognized in parliament on Thursday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m., receiving a round of applause from all the MLAs.
After I talked to the printer, I called up Dave Martyshuk of Martyshuk Housing who had committed to paying the printing costs for six months. Indeed, six months had passed since the August issue. I asked him to pay the March issue, and he graciously agreed to do that. Then, I called the printer to have the printing of the April issue paid on my credit card. By printing in black and white, I cut the cost down by $200. I couldn’t just quit printing without letting the vendors know what was happening.
I printed up a notice for the vendors to give to their customers, and sent a copy to Paula Kirman, our web page designer. I met with her the next day, and she said she had posted the notice on the website and on Twitter, and asked if she could send it out to her media contacts. I said okay.
On Wednesday, April 6, the reporter from the Examiner emailed, followed by the Journal reporter, and Metro. CBC Radio, the university radio station, and Alberta Prime Time on television all wanted the story, too. Then, I started getting emails and contact numbers sent on to me by the reporters and some sponsors who said they would help to pay the printing costs. City Councillor Michael Walters said he would come up with $700 a month in advertising. He has already sent the first cheque out to pay for a full page ad in the June issue and we scheduled a meeting for the end of May. One woman, who does not want to be identified, sent post-dated cheques for $500 each for three months and promised to continue to send $500 a month for a year.
There were also several people who wanted to share their ideas on how to make the paper more sustainable. They will also be attending the meeting with City Councillor Michael Walters. I also got a call from the editor of Megaphone, the Vancouver street newspaper that is also sold in Victoria since the Victoria paper folded a few years ago. He offered to print Edmonton content in Megaphone, and then send out copies for sale in Edmonton and Calgary. I thanked him and told him we were okay for now, but it is nice to know that option exists – as things are now, too much rests on my being there to edit and design each issue.
I am thankful for all of the people who rallied around with support during the past two months. I was really surprised at the media interest and people’s responses to the notice that Alberta Street News may have to fold after 12 and a half years. It looks like the paper will be in print for at least another year!
Linda lives in McCauley and is a former editor of Boyle McCauley News.