QUEBEC CITY – It’s the little team that could.
Staff at the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph were celebrating a milestone anniversary on Monday: 250 years of reporting has made the Telegraph the oldest English newspaper in North America.
“In 1764, the paper only started off with something like 160 subscribers and it grew,” said editor and reporter Shirley Nadeau.
“When it was in its hey-day, it was a daily newspaper, printed twice for the morning and the evening edition, tens of thousands of copies.”
There were two World Wars, countless political controversies and now things are somewhat quieter at the Telegraph, where like many newspapers, subscriptions have dropped significantly. Many Quebecers are getting their news on the web.
Still, the publication that brought generations of Quebec anglophones together remains intact.
“I think we’re very loyal readers,” said Quebec City Deputy Mayor Michelle Morin-Doyle.
“I think we’re proud of our institutions, we’re proud of our newspaper. I remember the first time my daughter had an article printed in the paper, we’ve kept it, she was so proud.”
There have been many name changes over the years, many different owners — and political leanings too.
“Right now, we’re middle-of-the-road,” said Nadeau.
“We try not to be controversial, we want to keep our readers happy.”
Tourists too may be pleased, as there is a new addition to the tourist beat. A commemorative plaque was unveiled on the old Chronicle-Telegraph Building, once dubbed the “Palace of the Press,” which is located near City Hall in Old Quebec.
“It was kind of a place where all the newspapers gathered together,” said Commission de la capitale-nationale President, Françoise Mercure.
In the meantime, the Telegraph’s young and vibrant team continues its work informing anglophones and building bridges with other local communities.
“We’re covering English events but also francophone events,” said reporter Danielle Burns.
“That’s why there’s a link, we get to speak to francophones and build bridges between the English and the French.”
After 250 years, the paper is still working to keep history and local news alive in Quebec City.