Thursday January 21, 2016

BREAKING: Local Saskatchewan paper says there's no news to report

There isn't much happening in the Battlefords these days, a front-page article in the News-Optimist told readers this week.

There isn't much happening in the Battlefords these days, a front-page article in the News-Optimist told readers this week. (Battleford News Optimist/CBC)

This week, the Battlefords News-Optimist has made news — by refusing to make news.

It's quiet in the Saskatchewan towns of North Battleford and Battleford — known as the Battlefords — at this time of year. It's January. It's -14 C. Nothing much is, or has been, going on.

A lesser local newspaper might make something up or stick a misleading headline on the front page — something with a question mark, to which the answer is obviously, "No," — like, "Is The Mayor of North Battleford An Alien?"

Apologies to Mayor of North Battleford, Ian Hamilton, for that made-up example. Our research indicates Mayor Hamilton was born and raised in the Battlefords and is almost definitely an Earthling.

But we digress. Which, in its latest edition, the Battlefords News-Optimist refused to do. On its front page, next to the headline, "In the News This Week," is a piece that begins as follows:

"To be truthful, there isn't really anything happening in the news this week. Not that it isn't worth picking up the paper, there are some interesting items inside. But it's January, the weather has taken a nasty turn and there just isn't much happening."

We should mention that the paper is full of stories — including one about a dumpster that was set on fire, and one about a talented ten-year-old dancer who'll be performing at a telethon in Regina. But Becky Doig, the editor of the Battlefords News-Optimist is sticking by her front-page exclusive.

"Really, it's the middle of January. Everybody in the news business knows there's nothing going on," Doig told Buzzfeed Canada.

Well, we commend the Battlefords News-Optimist. When nothing was going on, its staff decided there was nothing to write home about -- and that's not nothing.