The disappearance of the Camrose Canadian is a significant loss for both print journalism and the Camrose community. All of us at Augustana have been saddened by Postmedia’s unfortunate decision, as it brings to an end a history of effective collaboration between our two organizations that was grounded in common values and shared civic aspirations.
Combing through the yellowed and cracked paper of the Canadian’s archives recently helped us recall and reconstruct some of Augustana’s most important events, just as it inspired a painful sadness in realizing that this once critically important medium—print—is facing a rapid decline across Canada. Because both newspapers and universities have traditionally relied on the printed word and product, this is a development that we at Augustana, unfortunately, know well.
The Camrose Canadian was founded in 1908, just a couple of years before Camrose Lutheran College in 1910. A natural camaraderie formed between us—as we were two institutions with the common goal of fostering education within and for our community.
The Canadian was also there throughout all of our milestones, small and large. They reported weekly “College Notes” that ranged from accounts of lectures, concerts and miscellaneous programming to remarks about the men who joined the armed forces during World War II. Of course, there have been many full-blown stories on sports victories, new leaders and the various transformations we have undergone from CLC days to our present affiliation with the University of Alberta.
The Canadian was there when Chester Ronning was appointed principal in 1927, when the Vikings brought home the first-ever ACAC championship in 1975 and when the merger between Augustana University College and the University of Alberta was finalized in 2004. They were there to help celebrate our Centenary in 2010 and again last March when Edward Snowden delivered a live lecture from Russia. In fact, in many ways, the Canadian has a better-recorded history of our institution than we do, and we will forever be grateful for the care and attention that they have provided us.
More than simply a record, the Canadian has been an important vehicle for imparting knowledge to the Camrose community. For Augustana specifically, the newspaper has served to illuminate just what it is that we do at the University and how that matters.
Bringing research, events and news to the community is sometimes a struggle for higher education, and we are fortunate that the Canadian fought that battle tirelessly for us. Augustana has had a presence and a voice within Camrose and the surrounding region in part due to the passion and purpose of the many talented individuals at the Canadian who have helped make a case for the value of high quality, local postsecondary education.
Sadly that time has now come to an end. We have appreciated growing up together, and our close friend will be dearly missed. Most importantly, those of us who care about quality journalism and its essential civic contributions will need to find new ways to fill the void.
A special thanks to all the current members of the Canadian’s staff, especially Josh Aldrich who invited this submission and has been a passionate advocate for all things Augustana and all things Camrose.
This article first appeared in the Camrose Canadian on August 9, 2018.