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A day in the life...

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Editor’s note: In recognition of National Newspaper Week we decided to give you a bit of an inside look at what goes into getting your Star and Times to newsstands each week.

Thousands of hands pick up a copy of the Star and Times each week, eager to find out what has happened in our community the seven days prior. They also look to our pages to find out what is happening next so they can make plans for the coming weeks.
We pride ourselves in packing as much content as we possibly can onto each page, giving a variety of local topics and event coverage to our readers.
What you see, each and every week, is our words and our photos as they document the happenings in our community. What you don’t see hard work and dedication it takes to make such a publication possible. You don’t see our heart and you don’t see our drive.
This was something that Star and Times reporter Jeremy Bergen learned after starting in June 2015.
“If you want to get to know a community quickly, work at the local newspaper,” said Bergen, who grew up not so far away in Winnipegosis and moved to the Valley with his wife, Jessica, who was born and raised in the area.
“As reporters, we are constantly on the watch for events and story ideas that feature the people of the Valley. We look at the flyers posted in stores, follow as many groups and friend as many people as possible on social media and, generally, are on the lookout for anything that might interest our readers.”
All of the information gathered each week is brought back to the office, organized and distributed for coverage.
“We use a combination of emails, phone calls and in-person interviews to produce our stories,” said Bergen. “Although this may sound simple, it is often far from it.”
Most people have very busy schedules and sometimes tracking down the information that is needed can sometimes feel like a mission in the impossible. But, sometimes, it’s these experiences that can change your life and your perspective.
I can still remember my early days as a reporter. Just months after arriving at the Star and Times I was tasked with producing a Remembrance Day story to honour our Veterans. So, I set out to track some of these fine individuals down and I will never forget the experience.
I ended up telling the stories of eight Veterans from WWII, the Korean War and Afghanistan, including the tale of a war bride. At each interview we laughed, we cried and we shared their memories of a time passed.
These people let me in, shared thoughts and feelings with me that they may not have with others and touched my life in a way I cannot describe. In that week I did more than write a story for Star and Times readers, I gained an experience in life I will be forever grateful for.
What we do each and every week is important. We produce 100 percent local, 100 percent Canadian content.
“While no one else in the country cares about what happens at the local council meetings, the residents of our community do and we provide that information to them,” said Star and Times Publisher Brian Gilroy.
“We are archivers of history and produce a valuable tool that historians and genealogists now and decades into the future will look to for information.”
So, at the end of the week when we have written our content and it has been proofed, put on the page and sent to Dauphin for printing, we have produced something important and have played a part in history.
It’s humbling to think of it this way but, to us, it is so much more. With every story and every interview we grow our knowledge, we make new friends, we have our lives touched and, if we’re lucky, we touch the lives of others.
It’s not always wonderful. Sometimes we need to tell the stories of sadness or misfortune and sometimes we receive criticism for doing so. But, at the end of the week, we always have the best interest of the community in mind and look forward to building it up with every edition we put forward.
In this business, there are no sick days and there are no days off. In 117 years we have not missed producing a paper and, therefore, the stories still need to be written.
Some say that newspapers are dead but we don’t think so. Statistics say that newspapers, in some form, still reach nine out of 10 adults and I can see how this is true.
We are very much alive and we are dedicated to giving you our very best each and every week. It’s because of you, our readers, that we can continue to do what we love and we appreciate your dedication to us and your continued support.