Longtime columnists react to the sale of NNSL

·2 min read
Regular columnists with NNSL share their thoughts on what the future may hold for the local newspaper company under new ownership. (Sidney Cohen/CBC - image credit)
Regular columnists with NNSL share their thoughts on what the future may hold for the local newspaper company under new ownership. (Sidney Cohen/CBC - image credit)

Columnists of the almost 50-year-old, locally owned Northern News Service Limited (NNSL) are sharing their thoughts after the sale of the publisher's papers to Black Press Media.

Catherine Lafferty has been writing on and off for the newspaper chain for almost 20 years, most recently picking it back up in 2018 for her column Northern Wildflower.

She is aware that Black Press Media is based further south and may have a difference in opinion when it comes to what stories are published or not.

However, Lafferty encourages them to rely on the connections already established by the northern publisher, especially when it comes to reporting on Indigenous issues.

"I think it will just be an opportunity to educate the new owners about the North and it will be an opportunity to let them know this is how things have been done and this is how they're going to continue to be done," Lafferty said.

"[They] need to get on board from what's already the ground work that's been set and the relationship building that's there."

NNSL publishes two newspapers weekly in Yellowknife, along with the Hay River Hub, Inuvik Drum, Kivalliq News, Nunavut News and News/North. News/North has been in publication for 75 years.

Antoine Mountain, a columnist with NNSL for 15 years, is not worried about new management.

Instead he praises past and current reporters, editors and contributors and says if the current quality of reporting is maintained, the papers will do just fine.

"There's always been a fine tradition of writing to do with News/North … It's just the kind of paper that can withstand whatever changes are happening."

Mountain and Lafferty both agree that one major benefit of having owners from down South means increased exposure.

"It might generate some more attention from the South on the issues that are happening in the North and how we need to remember that the North is a very crucial and important part of the rest of Canada," said Lafferty.

Lafferty hopes Black Press Media does not force the company to make too many changes because she worries it could affect the individuality of the papers.

"I just think that Black Press Media has to make sure that they're not coming in and erasing all the good work that Northern News Services has done over the decades," said Lafferty.

"Making sure that they're listening to the needs of the North and not imposing anything that is going to be detrimental to the paper because the paper is very, very unique and that's what it's draw is."