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Keep on keepin' on

Vicki Wallace bids a fond farewell to Manitoba’s Community Newspapers as she prepares to retire, which means the closure of the Southern Manitoba Review, serving the Cartwright and Mather areas since 1899.
Vicki Wallace Photo - Cartwright[4255]
Vicki Wallace, editor of the Southern Manitoba Review

Dear Editor:

As many know, the Southern Manitoba Review will be closed at the end of 2021. This community newspaper has served the Cartwright/Mather area since 1899. The Review is an independent newspaper which has been in the Wallace family for more than 110 years. It was begun by R.J.C. Stead (who wrote Grain and other novels). He married my great aunt Nettie Wallace a few years later, and when they went west in 1909, Nettie's brothers took over the newspaper. It then passed to Harry Wallace, and then to me (Harry's daughter). I have reached the time of retirement, and sadly, the Review is also being "retired."

The Cartwright paper has always been a very small business, with our little area being surrounded by towns with newspapers on three sides, and the US border on the south. When I started to work with Dad in 1984, he told me he didn't know how long the business could keep going. It hasn't done so badly, to provide a living while I raised a family, and until retirement age.

I have always felt very fortunate to be surrounded by publishing friends at Killarney, Baldur and Pilot Mound, and a little further at Boissevain and Manitou, and beyond. In my time, the Review has been a one-woman-show and that can get lonely. My fellow independent publishers have been a support in many ways, sharing ads, pictures and stories and sometimes just discussion about any kind of difficulty or situation. I thank you all for that. I also appreciate the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association and AdCanada for tying us together. Especially throughout the pandemic, the employees and board have worked very diligently to keep us going.

The Review has been printed at the plant at Killarney since just before I became editor in 1988. The Struth family has been very kind over the years. Garry did a great deal of extra work for me when I was learning to process photographs and deal with new technology. I can hardly believe how patient he was! And when Curt came on board, he must have been astounded at the number of mistakes I could make. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Learn from the mistakes of others; you can't live long enough to make them all yourself," but I suspect I came close.

For all that, this has been a great job and I would encourage anyone out there inclined to writing and reporting to give newspapering a go. There is never a dull moment in the community newspaper life. (Well, until covid, this was true - there were a couple of dull moments last spring and summer.)

I am counting on all our rural residents to keep subscribing to their local papers. And, dear editors, I am counting on you to keep publishing your papers. There is no substitute in our communities. While the internet has taken over classified ads, it doesn't serve us well for information, commentary or advertising that requires more than a fleeting thought. You are doing good work at the newspapers and we need you.

Besides, it is bound to happen that sometime I'll be wakeful at 3:00 a.m., thinking about some nagging issue. I may be inspired to write up a letter to the editor, and I'll need a place to send it. Of course, whether you publish it or not will be your decision!

Vicki Wallace

Southern MB Review

Cartwright