Volume 12 Week 5

Thursday, March 23


 

Posted March 17

Posted Feb. 16

Posted Feb. 17

polls

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   


(Posted 10:30 p.m., Feb. 2)
The history of the Orléans Star pt. 2; the Brewerton years

By Mike Beasley
The Orléans Star

(This is the second in a series of articles celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Orléans Star. This article takes us from the sale of the paper to Cogeco subsidiary Dumont Publications in 1987 to 1992.)

Gordon Brewerton served as publisher of the Orléans Star from 1987 to 1996. File photo

When the Orléans Star’s founder and original owner Larry Soulliere sold the community newpaper to Dumont Publications in 1987, major changes were in the works starting with the appointment of Gordon Brewerton as the paper’s new publisher.

Brewerton was recruited from his job at Publications Dumont in Montreal and faced the task of taking the paper, which in those days was known simply as The Star, to another level, which he did with flying colours.

“I was excited to be offered my first publishing job at the age of 26, so I moved from my hometown of Montreal to Ottawa.” Brewerton recalls.

It wasn’t an easy start for the aspiring publisher in the Nation’s Capital. When he showed up to work he faced a severe potential staffing shortage.

“I’m not sure what the problem was, but I convinced only one employee out of eight to stick around,” says Brewerton. "When I arrived, eight of nine employees had submitted their letter of resignation. I convinced seven to stay. Only one left."

The paper made great strides in its local coverage under Brewerton’s leadership and flourished in one of the fastest growing communities in Canada at that time.

“It was a vibrant paper in which the news of Orléans would be printed on a weekly basis.” says Brewerton. “The local community was hugely supportive of our efforts which led to the newspaper’s tremendous growth in those early years and its future success as a publication.”

Brewerton stuck around until 1993 when Transcontinental acquired Publications Dumont from their parent company Cogeco and he was transferred to the company’s headquarters in Montreal where he spent 26 years as regional general manager for Transcontinental Media.

After a six-year stint with Northumberland Publishers, during which he served as the general manager and publisher of the Peterborough Examiner from 2010 to 2014, Brewerton returned to Transcontinental and was named general manager and publisher of the St. John’s Telegram – a position which he currently holds.

In June 1989, Brewerton hired Algonquin School of Journalism graduate James McArthur as the paper’s new editor. It was a move that would acclerate the publication’s status as an award-winning member of the Ontario Community Newspaper Association.

“I had just finished an eight month contract working as a reporter in Napanee (between Kingston and Belleville) when Gordon called me about the editor’s job at The Star,” McArthur remembers.

McArthur is widely regarded with raising the profile of the paper and turning it into a legitimate publication.

The Orléans Star went from covering soft stories to having a stronger focus on hard news like crime, current events and politics.

“I am proud to say we accomplished quite a bit with the paper. I decided to increase the font size to make it more readable, plus we improved the layout and design to feature larger pictures.”

During his tenure with the newspaper from 1989 to 1991, McArthur hired a freelance reporter, who started out with the paper as a co-op student, and a photogrpaher turned columnist, who would both serve as future editors of the Orléans Star and and go on to make a name for themselves in the industry.

Fred Sherwin (current owner of the Orléans Star) and Michael Curran (co-owner and publisher of the Ottawa Business Journal) both got their start under McArthur’s tutelage. He also passed on his passion for reporting and the news business to a pair of co-op students who would go on to have successul careers of their own.

Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon was at the paper in 1989. After graduating from Carleton University’s journalism program in 1993, she worked at the St. John Telegraph-Journal where she was a National Newspaper Award finalist for Beat Reporting in 2004. In 2010, she moved on to CBC New Brunswick and recently wrote a book about the Dennis Oland murder trial entitled Shadow of a Doubt.

Stephanie Nolen is easily the Orléans Star’s most successful alum. After doing her co-op placement at The Star in 1989, she earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree at the University of King’s College. She would go on to work as a freelance foreign correspondent with The Independent of London and an investigative reporter for Maclean’s magazine before the Globe and Mail hired her as an international corrspondent in 2003.

Since then, she has served as the Globe and Mail’s Africa bureau chief from 2003 to 2008; South Asia bureau chief from 2008 to 2013; and Latin American bureau chief from 2013 until the present.

“I was always looking to hire passionate, hard-working newspaper people,” MacArthur says. “Fred and Mike were excellent writers who had tons of potential.”

McArthur evetually left the paper in 1991 to work for a forming and foundartion company and is now one of the top sales reps for Lafarge.

In our next edition we will bring you part three of the history of the Orleans Star from 1991 to 1997.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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