Who doesn't love a good story? Here in St. Albert, there are so very many stories that deserve to be told.
Over the past year, those of you who have followed our reporting have witnessed some of the obstacles that have changed the way we deliver those stories. When the Gazette went down to one paper per week last year, we knew we would need to seriously step up our online reporting in order to do justice to the lively community we live and work in.
But we've still been missing the ability to write extensive features celebrating, digging into and showcasing the important news, individuals and events we want to tell you about. Perhaps you've been missing that, too.
As a way to fill this gap, the St. Albert Gazette is turning to audio to help tell these stories in a different way.
Starting this weekend, the Gazette will produce weekly episodes of the St. Albert Signal, a new podcast for the St. Albert area. You'll hear familiar voices on there, and hopefully some new ones, too. You'll be able to find this online every Saturday at 8 a.m. at stalberttoday.ca/st-albert-signal.
The initiative was spearheaded by three members of the St. Albert Gazette team: rural investigative reporter Jen Henderson, city hall reporter and assistant editor Brittany Gervais, and our newest addition, Preston Hodgkinson, who is currently interning with us.
Here's what they had to say about this new venture.
An intimate experience
"With everything our community has been through with COVID-19, our newsroom started talking about finding new ways to reach out and connect with St. Albertans. Print has been our realm for so long, and we wanted to see what could happen if we created a new platform where we could foster thoughtful, constructive conversations about our community and how to make it better.
"Listening to audio is such an intimate experience – you are being told a story with voices right in your ear, and we want to reach people wherever they're getting their news. This is a new way for us to tell those stories, and we are so excited to bring the Signal to St. Albert!"
– Brittany Gervais
Power in storytelling
"I was super excited to start this podcast at the St. Albert Gazette because it gave me my first real opportunity to tell local stories. I grew up in a small town and worked in radio before coming to the St. Albert area, so I am so happy that I can become a part of this community of wonderful people.
"There is a certain power in hearing stories be told rather than reading them in a paper, and to have people around the community tell me their stories is an honour. I hope that this project sticks around for a long time as we dive deep into the stories that St. Albertans want to hear."
– Preston Hodgkinson
Connecting with residents
"For years, the St. Albert Gazette has specialized in connecting with residents through award-winning print journalism, but the time has come for the Gazette to expand its reach into other mediums. The St. Albert Signal, the Gazette's first foray into the growing podcasting world, will bring the voices usually read in our stories to life through intimate conversations about issues important to St. Albertans.
"As a longtime podcast enthusiast, I was excited to be part of a project that merged my passion for the community of St. Albert and my love of the popular audio medium. The podcast will tackle issues ranging from local art to emerging energy trends and bring topics that are important to local residents from our newsroom into their ears every week."
– Jen Henderson