On Thursday, the Lacombe Globe is set to publish its final edition.
After more than 119 years, the newspaper is going out of business.
Readers say the news is hard to stomach.
“I was shocked, really surprised,” says Ellen Corea. “I think it’s going to be a great loss to a lot of people here and there are still a lot of people who still enjoy picking up that paper and seeing the local news.”
For the last four years, Ashli Barrett has been the reporter writing for the Lacombe Globe.
“It’s heartbreaking. I think it’s going to be huge loss to this community,” she says.
The Globe’s parent company, Postmedia is closing Lacombe’s paper along with ones in Hinton and Edson.
“It’s not just that you have people that come to pick up the paper every day, their parents, grandparents, their great grandparents picked this paper up.”
Indeed, the paper has a long history in the central Alberta community. It’s Lacombe’s oldest business and it hasn’t simply told stories about Lacombe. It has told the story of Lacombe.
Barrett says she has always been awed by the paper’s original owner who took a stand against the Ku Klux Klan, and wrote columns calling KKK members “hooded hoodlums.”
The Klan threatened to burn down the owner’s home but the KKK never really took root in Lacombe.
“His editorials are credited with actually preventing the rise of the KKK in Alberta. I think that really speaks to the power of local news,” says Barrett.
That history resonates with Melissa Blunden. She’s with the Lacombe and District Historical Society and oversees an archive of Lacombe Globes dating back to 1907. She’s not sure what happened to the first few years of newspapers but suspects a large fire that burned much of Lacombe probably destroyed the original back issues.
Blunden says it’s fascinating to go through the old articles. She learns so much about the town and its way of life. The Globe documented history.
“Without having the Lacombe Globe writing the history of Lacombe – physically writing it out – there will be a hole,” she says.
Barrett isn’t completely disheartened.
“There’s always hope. I still believe people believe in local news and they believe strongly in staying informed.”
Barrett says there’s a push to keep the paper open under different ownership but that’s in its very early stages.
She hopes the efforts are successful though, to keep telling Lacombe’s stories and documenting its history.