COLLIN GALLANT | MEDICINE HAT NEWS
Life is filled with ironies. Take two stories this past week which gripped the city. One was Frances Miller's opportunity to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The other was the controversy over a play about the 2006 murders of a Medicine Hat family that is coming to the city.
There is no connection between the two stories other than the fact that the newspaper was central in both cases. In the case of the Miller story, it was the hard work of reporters Angus Henderson and Gillian Slade that helped a woman realize a thwarted dream. The reporters worked at not just bringing the story to readers, but at making the dream come true for Miller. Their efforts paid off handsomely and Miller was able to meet the Royal couple in Calgary on Friday and deliver those long overdue flowers.
In the case of the murder play, it was reporter James Neeley who broke the story five years ago and brought revelation after revelation to readers about the case. His work is central to the play by Jude Allen and Francesca Albright, entitled Castle in the Sky, which is coming to the Esplanade later this month.
The experiences of the reporters, of course, could not be any different. For Henderson and Slade, Friday was a joyful event and the newsroom gathered around the television to share in the experiences albeit remotely.
For Neeley, the experience was gutwrenching and disturbing. It is no different for the community at large. The city joined in the celebration of Miller's achievement and it was equally disturbed and dismayed by the murders.
Two events in a community's life that are as different as they come, but at their core was a community newspaper that firmly believes in its role as a witness to history.
In this age of the internet and blogs, that is something worth bearing in mind. There will never be any substitute for old-fashioned reporting, for telling the story, for engaging the community.