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Happy birthday to us

On April 13, 1907 the first edition of this newspaper was published
Smithers Interior News Editorial

As anniversaries go 116 years, aside from being quite a long time, may not be particularly special.

Nevertheless, today (April 13) is special to us because it was on this day 116 years ago that the very first issue of this paper was published.

At that time, Smithers didn’t even exist, really, and the name on Vol. 1, No. 1 on April 13, 1907, was the Bulkley Pioneer published in Aldermere.

Smithers may not have ever come to be — who builds a town on a swamp? — had it not been for land speculators who drove up the value of property at Hubert (east of Telkwa) which had been the Grand Trunk Railroad’s preferred location for a divisional point between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

In any event, when Smithers did become the hub of the Bulkley Valley in 1913 after Grand Trunk decided to put its station here, it wasn’t long before old Joe Coyle — perhaps best known for inventing the egg carton than being our first editor/publisher — moved the paper.

When L.B. Warner took over, it became The Interior News.

A lot has changed obviously. Back in those days, we were the news for the area, local, regional, provincial, national and international.

Over the years, with the introduction of radio, then TV, we have done a lot of pivoting. As outside news sources became more accessible via technology, our content became more and more local.

Then came the internet. When that started, we were still a three-section broadsheet. We have shrunk three times since then in the actual physical format of the print product.

But oddly, we have kind of come full circle now. While we remain committed to as much local content as possible in the print edition, on the web, we can once again do it all.

Through our association with Canadian Press (and by extension Associated Press) and our own Black Press network, our website now provides the full range regional, provincial, national and international news that the paper did 116 years ago.

Our business has changed dramatically, but our commitment to providing the news remains the same.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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