This week is special for The Free Press and the community. The newspaper is celebrating 115 years since the man who started it all, Mr. G.G. Henderson, arrived in Fernie to start a newspaper.
The first copy of The Free Press was printed five months later from inside a tent at the same location where The Free Press office is today.
From primitive beginnings, The Free Press has developed into a completely different newspaper to the one that was rolled out in the middle of winter in 1898. Advancements in technology mean the paper looks completely different to how it did then, but the newspaper’s ideology remains the same.
The Free Press was created to provide the residents of a growing, changing town with the community news they needed. That is still the goal of The Free Press today.
The staff at The Free Press are as proud of the paper today as Mr. G.G. Henderson must have been when he saw the first ever edition rolling off the press.
In a Christmas editorial in 1901, editor Cy Hacking wrote, “The first year’s experience in publishing The Free Press was probably like that many other Western journalists have encountered – all work and little pay.
“However, all that is now gone by: the paper grew in prosperity and more than kept pace with the progress of the town and now ranks with the best of the British Columbia journals.”
We think he would be happy to see how far we have come in 115 years, from the early days when front page news was when a relative from Lethbridge came to visit someone in Fernie, to today’s newspaper that has won two awards for newspaper excellence in 2010 and 2012.
The newspaper has seen plenty of change, just as the valley has seen plenty of change, but we will strive to continue to move forward with the community and continue to provide the news you want.
Come and join us this Sunday in celebrating our achievement. We will be having a barbecue outside The Free Press as part of the Sunday Socials in downtown Fernie. Come by and tell us what you think of the paper. We are always interested to hear from you about what you want to see in your community newspaper.