Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Way to work it, Edmonton (and Saskatchewan is still kicking our butt)

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Two little gripes that should be filed under: Why aren't we doing that?First, my colleague Bruce Owen and I just got snazzy flashdrive gadgets in the mail, courtesy of the city of Edmonton's communication's department - some pretty slick marketing. In Winnipeg, the communications department can't even answer simple questions about road paving before deadline.A couple months ago, the Canadian Association of Journalists had its annual conference in Edmonton and the city's tourism army came out in force - there was a drink night with the mayor (who looks just like Sam) and major bumph. Now, Edmonton has sent us (and presumably all the other conference-goers) a USB thingy loaded with flak phone numbers (U of A, the city, the health authority) plus story ideas and a bunch of propaganda about Edmonton. "Edmonton is a city alive with boundless energy and opportunity...we want to share our story with you," the letter reads. They even spelled my name right!Most reporters will probably delete the info on the USB drive and use it to store the latest Cornie the Mennonite video, but it's still a great idea. They really made the most out of having a bunch of reporters holed up in hotel board rooms. When the conference was held in Winnipeg a few years ago, we got pamphlets from Destination Winnipeg and that was about it.Second, why does Saskatchewan have 11 Olympic athletes going to Beijing and we only have two? That's pretty lame at a time when the city is investing millions in community clubs and recreation, a new indoor soccer complex is in the works, the Doer government has made phys ed mandatory for grades 11 and 12 and sports funding was a key promise of all the parties during last year's provincial election.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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