Canada's public broadcaster is expanding its news coverage in southern Alberta with a full-time, permanent bureau based out of Lethbridge.
The CBC announced Friday that it is creating the new bureau, which will build on the efforts of a rotation of reporters based out of the city in recent years.
Lethbridge is an important commercial and academic hub for the province, one supported by the area's agricultural industries. The region is also home to the Kainai First Nation and the country's largest reserve.
"I'm thrilled that we will soon have a permanent bureau in Lethbridge to serve the people and stories of southern Alberta," said Helen Henderson, senior director of journalism and programming at CBC Calgary.
"Having a full-time journalist in place allows us to fully explore the richness and diversity throughout our province, going far beyond what we can provide from Calgary," Henderson added.
CBC reporters have covered many important Canadian stories from the region, including doctor shortages, policing concerns, economic growth, a historic prohibition vote and Lethbridge's roiling bridge debate.
They've also provided expansive coverage of efforts to resurrect coal development in the Crowsnest Pass.
"This is super exciting to hear that obviously Canada's national public broadcaster is investing in our community by putting in this permanent bureau," said Lethbridge Mayor Blaine Hyggen.
"I mean, to me, it really shows that Lethbridge is a growing city and a voice in the provincial and national, for that matter, media landscape."
Since CBC started stationing reporters in Lethbridge, Hyggen said he's noticed the city's voice is "really out there to the wider public."
"For the last several years we have stationed reporters as often as we could afford in temporary bureaus in Lethbridge," Henderson said.
"The stories we've discovered have been fantastic and I've been impressed by the way our reporters have been welcomed into the community. Having someone permanently embedded in the community will allow us to travel more through the region and forge deeper connections."
She said that CBC hopes to have a video journalist in place by the end of June. Alberta will also get a Grande Prairie bureau in addition to the one already in Fort McMurray.