Hear ye, hear ye! Calgary neighbourhood goes old school to deliver fresh news with town crier
Kevin Jesuino aims to engage, announce contests — but club music is a hard no
A Calgary community has decided newsletters are so last month, so it's taking the news to the street with a costumed, bike-riding town crier.
The Crescent Heights Community Association has tasked Kevin Jesuino with getting the news to its roughly 5,500 residents.
"Not everybody is on social media or has an email address for our electronic newsletter," Jesuino told the Calgary Eyeopener.
- LISTEN to what residents of Crescent Heights heard this week from the community's new town crier, in the audio file below.
"How do we reach people who don't have access to technology, or our aging population?"
And using a town crier sounded like a good answer to that question.
So Jesuino added a public address system to his bike and set out to educate people on what's happening in their community.
"It's more about what's the most important information that week that we think our residents need to know — reduced down to a 30-second sound byte or podcast, if you will," Jesuino said.
"This week, we are trying to get people to engage online with Green Line, not pro or con, but making sure people are at least getting engaged about it. We have a kids' story-writing contest going on right now. Once we have a winner, we might turn that into a small sound file and promote that."
The journalism program chair at Mount Royal University loves the idea and says the timing — during the COVID-19 pandemic — could not be better.
"It's rather old school, but profoundly engaging. It's fun, it's upbeat, it's novel," Brad Clark said.
"This is a time when people could really use some distractions from the ordinary."
Our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TownCrier?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TownCrier</a> is doing a test run this afternoon. Let us know what you think! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yyc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yyc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yyccc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#yyccc</a> <a href="https://t.co/HuLDLYLyx9">pic.twitter.com/HuLDLYLyx9</a>—@chcayyc
Jesuino says he's regularly engaging people to make sure the noise level doesn't become a problem.
"We are not here to annoy people. It can't be pumping out music that should be at a nightclub," he said.
"Yes, we want to disseminate news but maybe there are other creative ways to bring a little bit of hope and happiness to the neighbourhood also."
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener