Welcome to The Citizen Newspaper

By  | December 29, 2011 | 41 Comments | Filed under: January, Newspaper

The paper will be off the presses later today. I don’t have a lo-res pdf of the final copy, but there is the next to last copy below. (A few minor changes, such as the date on the Training Wheels Ad, were made) This is my introduction from page 6.


With meekness and humility, but with strong confidence and few misgivings, we lay before the public the first issue of The Galt Reporter. Our long acquaintance with the Press has convinced us that wherever a real intention exists of laying before the reader as the fullest, most correct, least biased and party-coloured intelligence, the public never fail to receive with favour and acceptance the fruits of such intention, and to forgive and palliate of him of whose sincerity they are assured. With this qualification we believe ourselves strongly armed, and, trusting therein, and in an over-ruling Providence who directs all things for the welfare of his people, we cast our bread upon the waters.

On Friday, November 13th, 1846 the first issue of The Galt Reporter was launched with those words. The editorial took up the entire front page, explaining why they were launching a new paper for Galt. The population of Galt in the 1841 census was 1,000 people, which burgeoned to 3,082 in 1871 when they did the next census.

Back then, most of the papers came from England by boat. I like to think that a group of guys got together for a pint and said “Screw the King, we want our own paper.”

The Reporter went on to become the Canada’s longest running newspaper until it closed on September 19th, 2003.

We’re not sure if that’s how The Reporter really started, but this one did. This started when Jimm Hillis approached me about starting a new social media website for Cambridge. In addition to columns about what’s going on in the city, he envisioned a place where all sides of local issues could be discussed by people from the community who were knowledgeable in local matters.

I had some experience with this after Colin Carmichael started The Cambridge Reporter Online. We had such a great reaction that Torstar shut us down, claimed the name, and started their own Cambridge Reporter website.

The Cambridge Citizen was launched. We actively sought opposing viewpoints on local issues, and we quickly became the leading social media site in Cambridge. We subsequently started a magazine, primarily to highlight some of the stories we saw at the site.

The response to the magazine was incredible, and when Echo Weekly, the alternative newspaper, folded in September we saw our chance.

Over the last few months we have been working to bring Cambridge something new. We have no intention of competing with the corporate media; we have neither the resources nor the desire to do so. We promise you something different.

We want to bring you stories about the people, places and events that make Cambridge such a great place to call home. We will bring you columns by local artists. Judee Richardson-Schofield(Photography) Bill Ashwell (Poetry) Krysta Lee (Acting). They will write about how you can take your artistic career to the next level. In addition to some of the city’s better known writers we’ll give the new writers a chance to be published.

You will notice at the top of the first edition of the Reporter it says “Open to all parties.” I’m not sure at what point newspapers started coming out in favour of one political party, but we are ‘open to all.” My own left leaning political ways are well known, and I have asked Margaret Barr to act as Managing Editor to provide balance. Margaret is an active member of the local conservative party, and ran against Doug Craig for Mayor, who I supported.

While we will let the traditional media to continue you to bring you the everyday news, we will keep an ear to the group for anything they might miss.

I was hesitant at first to call it a “newspaper,” and so I googled it.

According to my friend Wikipedia, A newspaper is “a scheduled publication containing news  of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising.” We have thrown in some fiction and poetry for good measure. Whether it qualifies as a “newspaper” or not we’ll let you be the judge.

And so, my friends, with meekness and humility, but with strong confidence and few misgivings, we lay before the public the first issue of The Cambridge Citizen.

Click to view PDF of Issue 1








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41 Responses to Welcome to The Citizen Newspaper

  1. newsfan December 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Great job Cambridge Citizen on the newspaper. I wish you every success in 2012.

  2. Robert Ross December 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Finally, a paper that won’t end up at the bottom of the parrot-cages without being read.

    Kudos to Scot, Jimm and staff!

  3. Ruth McCauley December 29, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Wonderful Scott, look forward to reading much more, and sharing some stories.

  4. Ev Locke December 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    This is good stuff Scott…I still remember “Sociology class” at Lauier….that’s going back alittle ways…Your doing a great job and a great justice for Cambridge…Keep up the Hard work.

  5. Allan Dettweiler December 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    W O W ! ! !

  6. Rick Cowsill December 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Great stuff Scott and I look forward to reading all your wonderful words of wisdom and what ever other malarky you decide to lay on us… I just hope you take pity on some of us and give us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the …..!

    ps. Hespeler will love some coverage.

    Rick Cowsill

  7. les December 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    At last, like the song says, best of luck Scot.
    Like Rick says, the truth, nothing but the truth.
    Well, maybe?

  8. les December 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    where does one pick up this paper

  9. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Ev, be quiet. No-one supposed to know sociology was actually my major. Do you remember Dr. Richard Christie’s favourite saying? “You don’t learn sociology. You DO sociology.”
    He would be proud. We are doing sociology.
    Les, there’s a box in front of our office, Giant Tiger, The Library,Coffee Culture…pretty much any of our advertisers…
    Rick…The Truth? You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth…(Nicholson in A Few Good Men)

  10. joe lethbridge December 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Hey !! KUDOS AND CONGRATS. Its 7 12 pm and very quiet at the library. Directly in front of me is a neated piled stack of The Cambridge Citizen. In just over 15 minutes I have not only seen 7 people take the papers but read the cover and glance through. Taking it with them. Awesome.

  11. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 29, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Wow, thanks Joe! The look on Jake Robertson (One of the interns) face when I handed him one was priceless. A couple people grabbed them at The Fiddle and firkin when I was there.

  12. Jimm Hillis December 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Hespeler will get theirs very soon, congratulations Scot and your crew. I will soon be back in action and hopefully take some of the heat off of you.

  13. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Rick,do you mean the same truth as the Torstar papers? Or how about the truth according to The Advocate?
    “The Truth” is relative, and not an absolute.
    True objectivity difficult for any writer.
    You’ll notice some of the bylines read “Reporter.” I made the decision to put that after the journalism students bylines because of how much they stress objectivity in school. Everything we publish of theirs will be scrutinized by their instructors, so I think our reporters will give you as much, if not more objectivity than anyone else in the area.
    Whether it’s the truth or not is relative to your perspective.
    The only reason my name is even there is because I have the name recognition. “Reporter” is after my name so people will take it seriously. I am capable of “journalism,” and I am a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, but it’s a lot more fun being an opinionated asshole.
    Rick, we both know there’s a lot more to the post office story than I wrote but I didn’t want anyone to be able to question it.
    There is also the fact that we have the website, and I seriously doubt that anything is going to get past the crew we have assembled here.

  14. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    It doesn’t mater what position I take, someone here will disagree with me, and that’s the way we want it. There are enough people here that are knowledgeable in what is going on in this city I believe we can accomplish something.

  15. Rick Cowsill December 30, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Scot, first of all as you mentioned I am very supportive of your efforts and those of your colleagues in this endeavour. It’s refreshing to see a possible new format in the world of reporting the news …Good, Bad, or Indifferent. My only wish is that all of the facts come out so your readers understand what is actually going on. I realize that your objective is to sell papers and from a business perspective, that makes good sense. But in the world of reporting that I have seen over the years, if a reporter has a ‘Scoop on a particular item from someone in high places, it gets toned down and not all the facts are presented.

    The post office item should never have appeared as your top news story because as you mentioned, council has been dealing with this in closed session with no decisions at all being made and you were in the right place and at the right time to gather all, but not quite all, the facts from someone in a high place. If that someone was a council members he/she violated council ethics and that would have added the Truth, the Whole Truth and nothing but the Truth in your story!

    But Scot, I understand your position and yes you have the right to protect your source but that suggests that the Cambridge Citizen could be no different than the ‘Status Quo’ out there!


  16. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Rick, I had several reliable sources, and a lot more less than reliable sources. I have more sources than Wikileaks, I just wasn’t about to blow my load on the first stroke.
    With Margaret’s assistance, I had to decide what angle to write. The story is about the building falling apart, not about secretive council meetings. Again, truth is relative.
    The reason that is the top story, and not Enbridge, is because the Post Office is a building everyone recognizes, and I am one of the more recognized writers in the city. That headline, with the picture and my byline, will make people pick it up and open it.
    Also, I am not going to come out with guns blazing, firing at Doug Craig and council, with the first issue. The story is out there now, people can see the pictures, either Cambridge cares enough to save the building or not. The story is out there, my job is done. It’s yesterday’s news, The Times can pick it up now.
    The interns are well into their February Columns already, and I’m preparing the March assignments in the next few days.
    We are working on some stories that I expect to be controversial, such as an in depth article on the Humane Society I’m working on, and I don’t think Cambridge will be disappointed.

  17. Malcolm December 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    A good Cambridge newspaper, I suppose, is a city of folks reading about each other. People will agree with you only if they already agree with you, you do not usually change people’s minds.
    In this instance I have just finished reading The Cambridge Citizen in print and I must say I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to read that one paper. Very well done all.

  18. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Malcolm, thanks for the compliments. As far as everyone agreeing, if they do then we will take the opposite position!

  19. Mrs. R.D.M. December 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Great issue. Question, why the switch up of your last name in the by-lines?

  20. Robert Ross December 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Mrs RDM, it is to confuse those who may have penetrated the tin foil……..

  21. Mrs. R.D.M. December 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    ahh, gotch’a

  22. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 30, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    LMAO! Shows you how much attention I pay to my byline, I honestly didn’t notice.

  23. Jimm Hillis December 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    I have the Hespeler papers and will get them out this Weekend,anyone that needs a copy you can let me know.

  24. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    .and Robert, I have new, impenetrable tinfoil.

  25. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    yeah Jim, I need copies.

  26. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    .and don’t tell anyone the Hespeler Papers are different. The Hespeler issue is only 24 pages, the Galt 100. (Nobody in Preston reads)

  27. Jimm Hillis December 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Sorry Scot, it is dark out and besides I am not allowed to cross the 401 after 6pm. You will have to wait for morning.

  28. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 31, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Rick, for example, I could have written that an expropriation by council for $700,000 is being considered. I could have also written about members of council contacting the property owners, which I’m sure is also a breach of ethics.
    This is only one story, I have a lot more. (And yes, I will protect my sources. I would love for someone to try and get them from me. It would make a great headline!)

  29. Margaret Barr December 31, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Rick, since Scot mentioned my name above, I would like to clarify his statements. I gave Scot the same advice as you have given. The city discussing possible purchase of the Post Office is NOT a story. He then changed the focus of the article. I, too, would like to know his ‘source’, but he won’t tell me. Darn it! Happy New Year to you and ALL!

  30. Hags December 31, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Margaret, sorry to inform you but what passes for news is merely the meanderings of glorified gossips.
    One must sift through both content, bias and often unidentifiable sources to come up with even an atom of truth.

  31. Rick Cowsill December 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Margaret, thanks for your input ….Happy New Year to you and let’s keep in touch.


  32. Mrs. R.D.M December 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Just re-reading and felt compeled to write an “eww” tho the visual created by the line “blow my load on the first stroke”. Dude, gross me out!

  33. Scot Ferguson-Barber December 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Hags, you’re welcome to continue to rely on The Times and the “news” they provide. It gives you the security of the blissfully ignorant state that you right wing types enjoy.

  34. joe lethbridge January 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

    update stardate 2012 January 3rd. all copies are gone from desk at cambridge library circulation .others have asked at stated “JUST ONE A MONTH” seems the citizen has jumped leaps and bounds. out !

  35. Scot Ferguson-Barber January 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Thanks Joe, I’m on it!

  36. Hags January 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I saw someone peeing on a copy at the corner of Scot and Guelph Ave; must be a fan of Scot’s, I suppose.

  37. Scot Ferguson-Barber January 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Yeah, but I’ll bet they were peeing on your story!

  38. Scot Ferguson-Barber January 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

    I see The Times has responded with a New Years Edition with a total of of 12 pages, with only 1 story with a reporters byline.

  39. Kevin Muirhead January 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Picked up a copy of your Paper today and I have to say congratulations to all. Now that I know about this site I will visit it often. But what is with the flying Monkees?

  40. Jimm Hillis January 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    In time you will find out, but beware they can be tricky.

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