There’s stuff to do, damn it

Commentary by Pearl Lorentzen

When people say there’s nothing to do in Slave Lake, I get very irritated.

I’m tempted to put up a booth on Main St. called ‘Stump A Reporter.’ I’d ask people for three interests. I’m 99 per cent certain, I could come up with an event, group, organization, or at least an individual they could contact to find out what is happening connected to one of those topics.

For example, I’m a writer, crocheter, and movie buff. In Slave Lake, there are at least two groups of knitters and crocheters which meet weekly. Each month, I’m part of a writers’ group and a film discussion group. Granted, the writers group, was dormant before I arrived, but in the last two years only once was it only me and one other person.

There’s lots to do. It can however be very difficult to find this information. For those organizers who are completely dependent on a certain form of social media, I have one word – buried. There’s a very good chance that your posts and events will get buried in peoples’ feeds.

As a user of social media, I have gotten into the habit of saving any post that I might be interested in.

As a reporter, I want to know what is happening in Slave Lake, Kinuso, Smith, Hondo, Wabasca, Red Earth Creek, Flatbush, etc., so I can inform my readers. I click interested (even if not) on any event near Slave Lake, posted on social media. Also once or twice a week, I search the internet for events in the area and look at posters around town.

As a reporter my job is to write up the news, not advertise for local events. As a reporter, I cannot sell you an ad. I intentionally do not know the ad rates, and always forward people on to the ad salesperson. Like in the Canadian government, the newspaper business needs some semblance of separation of ‘church and state.’

However, there can be some overlap between news and ads, because local events can be news. However, a news article’s focus is not on promoting the event.

While the Lakeside Leader prefers people pay for ads, we often mentions local events in The Page section and organizations can put their information for free in the Upcoming Events. I’m not sure the rules at South Peace News, but there may be something similar.

Since I get very annoyed when an event I’m interested in gets buried on social media or people say there’s nothing to do, I’ve taken an avid interest in the calendar on www.lakesideleader.com. As far as I can tell, it is the closest to a comprehensive source for events in the area.

I update it frequently. I do not wait for event organizers to tell me about their events. If you’ve put it somewhere on the internet or put a poster up on a bulletin board in Slave Lake, there’s a good chance your event is on the calendar.

However, some events probably do get missed. There’s a good chance that I’m one of the most obsessive event searchers in Slave Lake. If I haven’t found your event, there’s a high probability very few people have. Therefore, I highly encourage event organizers to give us a call, email, or stop by the office. Also, we often take photos at local events, but can’t show up if we don’t know about it.

Also, if you are looking for something to do in Slave Lake, check out the calendar and get a newspaper subscription. We try very hard to know most of what’s going on.

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