2018 Inductees - Hall of Fame

2018 2019
(click on names below for bios)

For their outstanding contributions to journalism in Atlantic Canada

42 Years Host/Journalist
CBC-NS Information Morning. 70,000 Interviews.

CBC Retirement
Don Connolly’s Last Show – Facebook

50/20 Years Journalists/Publishers
Saltscapes - Good Taste. Living Healthy in Atlantic Canada. Eastern Woods & Waters. Atlantic Salmon Journal - Atlantic Insight.

Jan. 26/18

I would like, on behalf of the staff of Saltscapes magazine, to nominate magazine publisher Jim Gourlay for the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. The reasons for making this nomination, at this particular time, are outlined below. Supporting material will be sent by other means.

This year, Jim Gourlay celebrates 50 years residency in Canada (he’s a Scottish immigrant) and 50 years in the profession of journalism in Atlantic Canada. This is expected to be his final year as a magazine publisher.

He started his career in the era of typewriters, carbon paper, hot type and manual paste-up and has evolved with the industry to the sophisticated publishing software in use today.

He learned his craft as a newspaper reporter and editor and, in addition to his regular duties, carved out a journalistic niche for himself in the area of wildlife management and conservation, especially freshwater fisheries. His work has gained a high level of respect in that genre from both professional wildlife managers and interested members of the public.

He was the first Canadian journalist to break the story of the devastating impact of acid rain on Atlantic salmon and fresh water generally in eastern Canada. He was the first Canadian journalist to break the story of the equally devastating impacts of open pen salmon aquaculture on stocks of wild salmon on both coasts. He also broke the story of the blatant abuse of aboriginal rights whereby non-aboriginal poachers were paying Mi’kmaq lawbreakers to illegally harvest moose in Cape Breton.

In 1985, Atlantic Insight magazine failed in a blaze of negative publicity. The title was sold, but it failed a second time a few years later. This was the most spectacular magazine insolvency of several in a row in the Atlantic region. The result was a public perception that the Atlantic region was just too small a market for consumer magazines and both banks and government blackballed the industry in terms of future financial support.

But, the unseemly demise of Atlantic Insight in 1985 also brought about the birth of a new magazine publishing enterprise operated by a partnership between Atlantic Insight’s former circulation director, the late Neville Gilfoy, and Jim Gourlay, a recent migrant from the newspaper industry and newly-minted magazine editor. Gilfoy essentially ran the business side of the partnership while Gourlay was responsible for the winning editorial content of all publications.

Gilfoy and Gourlay first produced a highly popular regional Outdoor magazine named Eastern Woods & Waters. They branched into a lucrative coffee table book enterprise before also launching the business magazine, Atlantic Progress.

In the mid 1990s Gilfoy and Gourlay amicably parted company and Jim Gourlay partnered with his wife, Linda, to launch a regional lifestyle magazine which he named Saltscapes, while still publishing Eastern Woods & Waters. While Linda assured the financial viability of the magazine with her remarkable sales and marketing capability, Jim produced a huge readership attracted to the engaging, award-winning content. Currently, Saltscapes magazine enjoys a combined print and online readership of 512,000. In other words, a single family-operated magazine has almost exactly half the online and print readership of the nine paid-circulation daily newspapers in Atlantic Canada—combined.

In 17 years, Saltscapes has earned 57 international, national and regional awards (27 AJAs to date) for editorial excellence. In 2010, the Gourlays were invited to Rideau Hall to receive the Governor General’s Nations Table Award for their work in promoting healthy eating and local food buying in Canada.

In his 33-year magazine career, Jim Gourlay has sent more than 370 magazine editions to press—possibly a Canadian record for one person. He has also mentored and enabled others in the industry as a past president of the U.S.-based International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA) and as one of the two founding directors of the Atlantic Magazines Association (AMA).

His journalistic contribution and the resulting popularity of his magazines have been pivotal to the rebuilding of the magazine industry in Atlantic Canada. By demonstrating that it could, in fact, be done, others have been inspired to try.

LINDA GOURLAY

Linda is the engine that drives her journalist husband Jim, and she justly deserves equal recognition by AJA. Throughout her career Linda has contributed significantly to industries that enhance the economy of Atlantic Canada, principally tourism, business development, and publishing. Her lengthy resume is not included with this nomination; nevertheless it reflects her long time association with various branches of tourism in the region. Linda has not only served in various administrative capacities but has been a model and mentor to many others in the industry. In the mid-90’s Linda joined Jim in the publication of his Eastern Woods and Waters magazine. Her vision took the publication well beyond serving the sporting community. In a few short years she took on some heady challenges - she developed a sound business plan, pulled together a devoted team of shareholders and staff, and saw the birth of Saltscapes. The magazine brought the Atlantic Provinces into the homes of the region, the nation and beyond.

Not satisfied with the success of Saltscapes magazine, Linda’s eye was on the development of an exposition that reflected everything good in the region. The success of the Saltscapes Expo, held twice a year, is further testimony of her skills.

In short, Linda is a people person of the highest calibre, a skilled developer, and a generous donor of her time and expertise. She communicates the big picture of Atlantic Canada effectively, including vision, mission, and strategic direction. She makes her decisions based on a mixture of experience, knowledge, analysis, wisdom, passion, and plain good judgment. Through her various efforts she has spread the word about our regional treasures far and wide.

Linda Gourlay is a unique kind of journalist, and one smart cookie.

Short History

In 1985 Atlantic Canada saw the birth of a new magazine publishing enterprise operated by a partnership between the late Neville Gilfoy, and Jim Gourlay, a recent migrant from the newspaper industry. Gilfoy essentially ran the business side of the partnership while Gourlay was responsible for the winning editorial content of all publications.

Gilfoy and Gourlay first produced a highly popular regional Outdoor magazine named Eastern Woods & Waters, before also launching the business magazine, Atlantic Progress.

In the mid 1990s Jim Gourlay partnered with his wife, Linda, to launch a regional lifestyle magazine named Saltscapes, while still publishing Eastern Woods & Waters. While Linda assured the growth of the magazines with her remarkable sales and marketing ability, Jim produced huge readerships attracted to the engaging, award-winning content. Throughout her career Linda Gourlay has contributed significantly to several industries that enhance the economy of Atlantic Canada, but principally tourism and publishing.

Currently, Saltscapes magazine enjoys a combined print and online readership of 512,000.

In 17 years, Saltscapes has earned 57 international, national and regional awards (27 AJAs to date) for editorial excellence. In 2010, the Gourlays were invited to Rideau Hall to receive the Governor General’s Nations Table Award for their work in promoting healthy eating and local food buying in Canada.


suite 209, 30 Damascus Road, Bedford NS B4A0C1
(902)464-7258 Fax (902) 464-3755
Saltscapes.com

41 Years Journalist/Publisher
Rural Delivery. Atlantic Forestry Review. Atlantic Beef & Sheep. Atlantic Horse & Pony.

Feb. 26, 2018
Atlantic Journalism Awards
Dear AJA Hall of Fame Committee,

I am writing to nominate Dirk van Loon for induction into the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame. Dirk is the founder, and now the emeritus publisher, of Rural Delivery, an independent magazine that recently marked 41 years of continuous publication in Nova Scotia.

Dirk was born in 1938 in New York City, attended Cornell University, and upon graduating in 1961 signed up with the first group of Peace Corps volunteers, assigned to Colombia. Upon returning, he cut his teeth in journalism at the News-Press in St. Joseph, Missouri. Later he worked at the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO. He moved permanently to Nova Scotia in 1969, and made his home in Sandy Bay, Queens County, where he lives to this day.

In 1976 Dirk launched Rural Delivery. It was created “from scratch,” and in the early years Dirk was known to travel the province on his motorcycle as he chased stories and reached out to potential advertisers.

Rural Delivery appears 10 times a year, and has a current print run of 9,000 copies,distributed primarily in the Atlantic provinces. Although Dirk has recently stepped back from day-to-day editorial duties, he continues to write the popular “Pot Luck” editorial in every issue, as well as occasional stories on a range of topics. And as always, he contributes his whimsical drawings to every issue, maintaining the visual style and the sense of fun that longtime readers recognize.

Merely surviving for so long as a subscription-based print magazine would be remarkable, but Rural Delivery is also exceptional because it fills a niche in this region, addressing the concerns and interests of Atlantic Canadians living in rural communities.

The “Letters to RD” section always provides a glimpse of the loyal and engaged readership, including many who count themselves second-generation subscribers.

Dirk likes to say that RD was “retro” before “retro” was cool; it bears some resemblance to the family-oriented farm journals that were popular in the middle decades of the 20thcentury. While the magazine focuses on agriculture, gardening, and homesteading, it has frequently delved into other subject matter, notably where Dirk judged there was a story to tell that would not likely be told by the dominant media outlets. Amid practical articles, features, and personal essays, readers will find the kind of serious, long-form investigative pieces that are a rarity in today’s media landscape. In recent years, two such articles from Rural Delivery have been AJA Gold winners. It is an eclectic publication, unlike any other in tone and style.

Rural Delivery has published the work of hundreds of freelancers, including many just getting a start in journalism, as well as experienced writers who welcome the opportunity to stretch their legs a bit. Dirk’s support for these writers – his encouragement and constructive criticism – and his commitment to the fundamental principles of journalism, represent a large part of his contribution.

It should also be noted that Rural Delivery spawned the company called DvL Publishing, which launched three specialty magazines – Atlantic Forestry Review, Atlantic Beef & Sheep, and Atlantic Horse & Pony – each with its own devoted readership. The company, still independently owned and operated, has a handful of full-time employees at its office in Liverpool. Dirk still drops in regularly, to put in some time behind the desk, and tochat with staff. He loves the business. He is a “lifer” in the best sense, utterly devoted tothe journalist’s trade. I believe he is worthy of recognition.

Sincerely,
David Lindsay


February 26, 2018
To the Atlantic Journalism Awards judging panel,

Re: The Atlantic Journalism Awards / Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame
Nominee: Dirk van Loon / Journalism Builder
Letter of support from Rachel Brighton

Through his publishing company (DvL Publishing Inc.) and its various magazine titles, Dirk van Loon has created a market for rural stories and a forum for rural writers. Over the course of four decades, Dirk and his team have built up a demanding, trusting and loyal readership for a wide range of predominantly rural-based stories. As a freelance journalist covering forestry, energy, agriculture and food processing, I have written for several of these magazines. It has always been a privilege to work with an editor who brings technical knowledge and editorial rigour to the role. In this regard, Dirk should be credited for showing deep respect not only for rural industries, communities and issues, but for the written word and the people who bring it to print.

Remarkably, Dirk has maintained an excellent staff of editors and administrators who have kept the firm going in a relatively small rural town in Nova Scotia, while reaching readers across the region and across the country. He and his editors have nurtured a distinct culture of writing that is plain and colourful, precise and engaging. The work published across the DvL titles is expert, informative, nuanced and trustworthy. While that large body of work speaks for itself, inducting Dirk van Loon into the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame would do more than affirm his contribution to journalism; it would encourage journalists to continue to believe, against the odds, that rural reporting and writing is possible and can pay.

I hope you will consider Dirk for the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame.

Sincerely,
Rachel Brighton


To: AJA Hall of Fame Committee

I understand that Dirk van Loon is being nominated to the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame. He is certainly a worthy candidate, and I would like to pass along my support. I have known Dirk van Loon since shortly after he arrived in Nova Scotia. My time was with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, where I worked closely with farmers and their families.

This new magazine was well received, especially by farm families, because it not only gave a voice to farmers but also provided valuable information about the industry. It was difficult to go into any farm home in Atlantic Canada and not find a Rural Delivery magazine. The fact that it has been going for this many years tells us how popular it is. Rural Delivery reaches more than just the farmer. It has something for the spouse and children, and for non-farm people. I know, for example, the exchange of recipes is an active part of each issue of Rural Delivery.

I personally am involved in the Farm Equipment Museum here in Truro. You would be surprised how many unusual pieces of farm equipment are identified, just by having their pictures in Rural Delivery, i.e. page 17 in the January-February issue.

Best regards.
R. J. (Dick) Huggard
(retired) Deputy Minister
N.S. Dept. Agriculture & Marketing


Feb. 23, 2018
TO THE AJA HALL OF FAME COMMITTEE

As a longtime Nfld-born magazine freelancer (some 200 articles in regional and national mags since 1961) and sometime book author (8 trade books since 1986), I'm delighted to lend my voice, on Dirk van Loon's behalf, to your good cause.

After half a lifetime in these Maritimes, I can think of no one who has done more to honour and support the life rural hereabouts. And not just via journalism. His Harrison Lewis Centre does much the same via workshops.

As a writer, let me pull from my cabinet a thick file labeledAFR/Published. Near the bottom is a carbon copy of my letter of May 11, 1998, proposing a tree series for Atlantic Forestry Review, his new forestry magazine (hatched with NB's George Fullerton, I believe). It says in part:

Dear Dirk; How about an illustrated regular column onthe silvics of Maritime forest trees (see sample outlines)...? There could also be snippets of offbeat history...and human interest anecdotes.... Back came, within a week, a postcard which opened with:

Gary: Bizzarrre [sic] – Was just thinking about...a series ontree species doing much as you suggest. How about 500-700- words? And wouldn't that make an excellent book? Dirk

How's that for encouragement? And from that year until 2015, when we ran out of tree species, he published 3 or 4 profiles a year with my drawings. (Dirk is himself a gifted illustrator, but he let me shine.) Even when my tree pieces arrived twice as long as he'd intended, he ran 'em full-length anyway. And the book he envisioned did come out (My Life with Trees, Gaspereau Press, 2015). It won the Evelyn Richardson Non- Fiction Award at the 2016 East Coast Literary Awards. (I had him write the foreword.)

I could quote from a much older file (but I won't), labeled Rural Delivery, his flagship publication. I'll just open a file from 1977, where he accepts one of my earliest pieces, on ice-fishing for smelt (or was it on making alder whistles?).

Back then, local mills to grind our literary grist were rare.Harrowsmith was too Ontario, too glossy. Canadian Living and OutdoorCanada took some of mine, but we didn't click. Canadian Geographic was great – $1.00 a word! – but very choosy. Fortunately we had Fredericton's old Atlantic Advocate. Though more mainstream, in 1961 they carried my very first illustrated essay, and dozens more until they folded in the late 1980s. After that, but for RD, I and many other freelancers likely would've quit. True, we had AtlanticInsight for a time, and still have Saltscapes – both too touristy for my taste. Taste, authentic country taste, best describes DvL's journalism. Real respect for rural values. Real concern for rural issues. A real land ethic – and, lately, more attention to ocean issues like fish die-offs. Those concepts, plus conscientious journalism, come closest to saying what many feel about this man's contribution. Probably subscribers toHorse & Pony and his other trade periodicals feel the same way – feel as if they're being listened to, as if he's trying his best to tune in, sound out the authentic voice of our region – which is, after all, Canada's oldest. He even sells our books! All this from a Vermonter. America's loss, our gain. That's surely something to celebrate! An AJA win for Dirk would warm many hearts here, including his.

Thanks for your time, and keep up the good work.
Gary L. Saunders
Clifton, N.S.

55 Years Journalist/Publisher
Shoreline Journal - NS Business Journal. Atlantic Enery News. Yarmouth Vanguard/Digby Mirror. Sou'Wester/Farm Focus/Metro Telecaster. Woodstock Bugle.

Experience

February 2008 – Present – Self-Employed Small Business Owner
In February 2008 purchased The Shoreline Journal, a monthly tabloid newspaper serving West Colchester County from Onslow/Belmont, Wentworth and Londonderry areas to the Cumberland County line along Cobequid Shore. Also operate collectible and antique shop in Maitland.

October 2004 – February 2008 – ACNA
Since October 2004, worked as a sales contractor to Atlantic Community Newspaper Association (ACNA) to solicit “blanket advertising” on behalf of their 55 member newspapers.

February 2004 – Sept. 2004 OMG Atlantic / Advocate Publishing
In February 2004 joined Advocate Printing and Publishing dividing my time equally selling advertising for on several publications primarily in New Brunswick and State of Maine; and the Maritime sales representative for OMG Atlantic, a sister company Eastern Canada advertising and recycling company providing 3-stream stainless steel public recycling receptacles.

1986 - 2004 Nova Scotia Business Journal
With the support of a small group of investors, I created, launched and managed Nova Scotia’s only monthly publication dedicated to business journalism.
My responsibilities included the general management and direction of the company and the publication as well as the specific duties of advertising and circulation management.
In 1987-88, under my direction the company introduced numerous quarterly tabloids covering specific business and industrial sectors including transportation, construction, mining and forestry. The tabloid program was a strategic device to boost readership and advertising and their success helped place NSBJ on a secure footing.
In 1993 the publishing company was sold but, at the request of the new owner, I remained with the NSBJ with marketing and sales responsibilities. Most recently I was Sales Manager then Project Sales Co-ordinator of several business-to-business periodicals published by the owner of the NSBJ supervising several advertising account managers and support staff from offices in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

1984 - 1986 Vice President Marketing and Business
Development, Atlantic Energy News
Experience in important oil and gas sector earned in the early years of Nova Scotia’s participation in the “oil patch”.
Early in 1984, I joined Atlantic Energy News, a Dartmouth-based monthly oil and gas sector publication. I was responsible for the management of marketing and sales activity in Atlantic Canada and Europe and made contributions to advertising sales throughout North America.

1970 - 1984 Marketing and Sales Management, Fundy Group
Publications / Cameron Publications
Years of success in advertising and contract publishing sales I joined the Fundy Group Publications to help launch the Digby Mirror, a weekly community newspaper. After fifteen months, I was transferred to head office in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and began a period of increasing responsibilities in advertising and contract print sales leading to national sales and co-op advertising responsibilities for The Sou”Wester and Farm Focus.
Additional duties included sales, scheduling and customer service for contract printing of flyers and newspaper inserts for major clients including Canadian Tire, K-Mart, Zellers, Shoppers Drug Mart, Dalfens. In 1980 I was promoted and transferred to Halifax to increase the contract printing sales for the web-offset and sheet-fed presses in Yarmouth and Kentville of Cameron Publishing. As well, I maintained regional and national advertising accounts for the group of publications including the Metro Telecaster, The Sou’Wester, Farm Focus, The Viking and the weekly newspapers in Yarmouth, Digby, Middleton, Kentville, Windsor, Shelburne, and Port Hawkesbury.

1963 - 1969 Apprentice and Printer’s Devil to Reporter,
Woodstock Bugle, Woodstock, New Brunswick
Starting after school and on weekends, I apprenticed at the Woodstock Bugle to the editor and publisher. I did everything from paste-up and production to photography and reporting. After graduation, I joined as a full-time member of the staff and combined editorial duties with circulation and advertising sales.

Interests

  • President of South Maitland Historical Association, which operates the Tidal Interpretive Centre and Visitor Information Centre.
  • Shubenacadie Canal Commission – Area Director
  • Member of W.D. Lawrence Masonic Lodge # 101, Maitland, NS
  • Saint David’s United Church, Maitland serve on several committees
  • Hants East Liberal Association, Vice President Organization.
  • East Hants Historical Society member and previous president.
  • Volunteered as East Hants Liberal Association, Area Director and Assn Expansion & Development Committee, chair.
  • Worked as Co-chair, East Hants Tourism Association’s “Grow Tourism in East Hants” Strategic Plan Steering Committee.
  • Past Member to the CNTA Board of Directors, representing Hants Regional Development Authority.
  • Maitland Launch Days, Previous Chair
  • Past Member (6 years) to Board of Directors, Hants Regional Development Authority, (Past Chair for Years 1997 and 1998).
  • June 1999 graduate with CED Diploma from Saint Mary’s University and Atlantic CED Institute.
  • May 1998 Graduate with Certificate in CED from Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus
  • Communications consultant / instructor for Nova Scotia Community College at Truro, 1998.
  • Communications consultant / instructor for Atlantic CED Institute courses at a variety of teaching venues for 1999 & 2000.
  • Past member of the Business Equity Investment Committee of the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency.
  • Recognized by the Municipality of East Hants in May 2000 with “Volunteer-of-the Year” Award.

40 Years Journalist/Editor
The Evening News. New Glasgow Nova Scotia. Mentor to Many.

Aleta Williams – Letter of Nomination Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame

Throughout her 94 years Aleta Williams has forged many paths, all in her own careful, determined and cheerful way. Her family, her church, her community and her profession as a journalist have been the pillars of a remarkable life.

Aleta was a busy mother of seven when she applied to work in the business department of The Evening News in New Glasgow. She so impressed Editor Harry Sutherland that he offered her a job in the editorial department instead. In accepting that offer, she became the first African Nova Scotian to work in the province’s mainstream media. Within months she was promoted to women’s editor, a lone woman in a newsroom full of men.

For 20 years she worked as women’s, then family and then community editor of the Evening News, now The News. For the better part of the next two decades, she contributed regular articles and columns. She interviewed leaders in education, religion and community action but she also chronicled countless stories of the people she enjoyed most, “ordinary, everyday folks.” Throughout her career she believed passionately that everyone has a story to tell and immediately put people at ease in the telling while she listened without judgment. Her writings, saved in many treasured family scrap books and memory boxes, are a rich tapestry of Pictou County’s social history. They record the trials and triumphs of miners’ widows, ministers of congregations, kitchen entrepreneurs, social advocates, volunteers and hard-working people just trying to stretch a dollar to feed a family – in short, all people who are unlikely to appear in our conventional history books.

Aleta entered the field of journalism in the days of shorthand, typewriters, carbon paper, box cameras and ticker tape but through 40 years of change, her curiosity, her empathy, her commitment to do right by the people she covered and her adherence to deadlines remained constant. If anyone had a problem with her gender or her skin colour, that was never Aleta’s problem.

Barely able to see over a steering wheel, she liked big cars and drove them fast but always insisted it was only that she had so many places to be. Her intuitive judgment and her unfailing dependability won her a free rein in the newsroom where she set the paper’s path by frequently insisting that women’s issues were family issues and family issues were community issues.

When future Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was campaigning for a seat in Central Nova in 1983, his handlers frustrated local media by keeping them at a distance. Aleta quietly took advantage of the campaign’s focus to slip away to Pictou Lodge, where the Mulroneys were staying, and have a wide-ranging conversation with Mila Mulroney. She was delighted with her woman-to-woman interview and equally delighted by the disbelief of her “hard news” co-workers. She even managed to bring back a favourite Mulroney family recipe.

Widowed while most of her children were still at home, she never missed their school, music or sports events. Nor did she cut back on her commitments to her church or her community involvement. Instead, she frequently slipped back into the news office to work late at night, always scribbling notes for story ideas she picked up on the run. Too often her nights were longer than they would have been had she been less generous with her time but shortchanging anyone was never Aleta’s way.

For most of her years at The News, hers was the first desk the public arrived at, the desk co-workers avoided like the plague. She comforted grieving families struggling with obituary details, she kindly but ever-so-firmly outlined the paper’s court policy and she helped people in every way possible. Long before networking had a name, Aleta was a master at it. Her hand never far from her rotary dial phone, she frequently connected the disadvantaged with community services, the needy with advocates and project enthusiasts with supportive sponsors. As a journalist, she was not obliged to but as a citizen she felt she was.

As town council, school board and sports stories flew back and forth across the newsroom between editors and reporters, she had an uncanny ability to insert an obvious but overlooked point. It might be about the tax rate, school curriculum or fair play but when Aleta spoke up, everyone listened and, more often than not, rewriting was in order. Long before she became a journalist she was a bill payer, a property owner, a wife and a mother with many obligations so she naturally mentored young reporters who were sometimes too inexperienced to thoroughly appreciate the scope of their stories.

Aleta’s approach to journalism was rooted in her own upbringing and experience. She graduated from Maritime Business College, an African Nova Scotian in a class of white women. From there she went to work in the Halifax dockyards, a young Black woman in an all-white department. Marriage brought her to New Glasgow and on her wedding day, Viola Desmond, a family friend and the face on our new $10 bill, styled her hair. Her confidence was built on her own accomplishments and convictions. She was barely out of her teens when she began a 70 year ministry of music, playing the organ in her church and churches of all denominations. Believing music is as important as academics, she had all seven of her children in piano lessons at the same time and she was a passionate supporter of Pictou County’s Kiwanis Music Festival. Mercifully, it was she who handled the results of the weeks-long festival year after year.

Active from an early age in the Halifax YWCA, Aleta, as a young mother, was one of the key players in bringing a YM-YWCA to New Glasgow. In later years she worked doggedly with others to provide a palliative care program at Aberdeen Hospital. Between those two projects, she served on a staggering number of boards and committees. While she never had the means to be a philanthropist, she has always given freely of her time, her skills, her advice and her contacts. All that she has given, she has given with great good humour and continues to do so.

Aleta’s lifetime, personal and professional, has been spent building bridges for those coming behind her. While there are many who could make an admirable case for her becoming a member of the new Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame, this nomination comes from four female journalists, three of whom worked with her early in our careers in the seventies, eighties and nineties and a fourth who grew up in her neighbourhood, attending her church. Aleta mentored us, challenged us, inspired us and at times, awed us. We watched her, through good times and tragic times, and she set us a high bar in terms of journalism and in terms of being women in our worlds. She is, in our collective view, a woman who has been a credit to her profession and a woman who deserves her roses in her lifetime. Happily, our nomination is enthusiastically supported by The News, now owned by SaltWire Network.

Rosalie MacEachern
Freelance writer
r.maceachern@ns.sympatico.ca


Re AJA Hall of Fame Nomination: Aleta Williams

When I first started working at The Evening News, Aleta Williams greeted me with a warm smile and filled me in on her family’s latest news as if I had grown up with them. I quickly noticed as she made her way through the office, she spoke to everyone by name, asked about their families and spoke of her own.

She started at The News as a reporter many years before I arrived, became a family editor of long-standing and was best known for her Girl Friday column about everyday people in Pictou County who made a difference in the lives of others. She and I shared many a night working side by side at our computers, meeting deadlines and sharing snacks, while discussing the finer points of journalism and life. By the time Aleta gave up fulltime work at The News, she had earned her retirement but we were delighted to welcome her back as a freelance columnist when she realized she still had stories she wanted to tell. Her columns were always thoughtful and refreshing so as journalists we were proud to be associated with her.

There was no professional Aleta that was separate from the private Aleta. As a result, we came to understand many of her influences as a journalist. I particularly came to admire her strong sense of faith and how it gave her strength in even the darkest of times. She has experienced tragedy, but she accepted it and as a journalist and a woman, showed great empathy for the tragedy in the lives of others. To this day, she relishes the good times and never dwells on the bad.

Aleta comes with her own style, in journalism and in life. When many of her co-workers joined family and friends for a recent birthday party, I looked around and found the birthday girl in an elegant silver dress and wide-brimmed hat, straight out of Buckingham Palace and perfectly fitting for the lady she is. She was among a hall packed with people, among her readers and interview subjects, and she was happy. Through hard work, quiet determination, openness of spirit and unflagging kindness she gave shape to the stories of everyday people for decades and in the process, she surely shaped the younger journalists who watched and worked with her.

I am sure Aleta’s induction would bring nothing but honour to the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame.

Sueann Musick
Community editor/reporter, The News, smusick@ngnews.ca, 902-928-3513
NGNews.ca · 352 East River Road, New Glasgow, NS, B2H 3P7


To Whom It May Concern:

Throughout my 30 years in journalism, I have had the opportunity to work with some great journalists, people who could see a story hidden deep inside an issue no one else knew was there, or those who never shied away from a fire or crash, or those who would camp outside a politician’s home for that one quote.

But in all of those years, there has only been one person who truly defined what it was to be a community journalist.

Aleta Williams was running the lifestyle pages of The Evening News when I joined the paper in 1988. Her desk faced the door and she was the one who greeted those who came in. There was always a sense of warmth in her smile and welcome in the way she talked to people, whether they had a story to tell or a complaint to file against the paper.

As a journalist, she knew her community. As we chased the fires, the mayors, the crime, she sought out the ordinary and drew out their stories. While most hoped not to be a target of some of our stories, all celebrated being in one of Aleta’s. It was common to hear on weekends people talking about the latest Aleta feature.

Her love of community could easily be seen in the pages of her section of the paper, often overflowing with submissions from people who wanted to be a part of it.

For years, she was also the lone reporter who followed the local youth music festival, an event that would attract school bands, choirs, and soloists from across Nova Scotia. In later years, as her hearing failed, she would be front and centre in the audience with a support system around her who would help her with names and scores. It is this fact that a support system existed to help her shows how much of an impact she had on our readers and the level of importance they held for her in the community.

I proudly support her nomination for inclusion in the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame as an outstanding community journalist who never lost sight of her readers and her stories.

Regards,
Dave Glenen
Regional Editor for Nova Scotia
Saltwire Network and The News, New Glasgow (formerly The Evening News)


Feb. 1, 2018
Re: Nomination for Aleta Williams

It gives me great honour to write this letter of support for Mrs. Aleta Williams’ inclusion in the Atlantic Journalism Hall of Fame

Mrs. Williams is a much-respected and loved elder in the African-Nova Scotian community. Growing up in New Glasgow, Mrs. Williams was the only professional Black journalist I knew. Throughout her career as a reporter and columnist with the New Glasgow Evening News, she provided a voice for common folks, including those in my neighbourhood. She continued to write columns well into her senior years. With so few Black journalists in Nova Scotia, members of my community were excited to see Mrs. Williams’ profile picture and read her column in our local newspaper!

Mrs. Williams’ mentorship as my leader in Canadian Girls in Training and choir director of the Baptist Youth Fellowship at Second United Baptist Church in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, impacted my life immensely. She taught me and so many other young girls in my community proper etiquette, morals and how to be ladies. I have carried these lessons into adulthood.

As a result of Mrs. Williams’impact on my life, I went on to become an accomplished, professional journalist. Until recently, I worked as a newspaper reporter for 21 years. I now work for a national broadcaster.

I admired Mrs. Williams greatly because she worked outside the home as an editorial writer while raising a large family. Despite these two demanding commitments, she still found time to actively volunteer for her church and in the community. She was a long-time, dedicated organist at Second United Baptist Church in New Glasgow.

Mrs. Williams became a widow long before her family was raised and provided compassionate, long-term care to her mother-in-law and father-in-law when the need arose. She is selfless, never seeks praise and is a woman of great personal and professional integrity. For many years she served as a wonderful model for anyone with an interest in journalism.

For your consideration,
Sherri Borden Colley