Bill Redekop is the Free Press rambling rural reporter. His beat is a bit like the slow food movement of news gathering.
Instead of getting the story on a 15-minute phone interview, Bill still makes long-distance house calls. He’s driven up many long narrow farm driveways, shown up on doorsteps in wind-swept Prairie towns, or followed a tree-lined trail to a weather-beaten cabin to get the story.
Bill feels his career path dates back to 1926 when his grandparents smuggled their way out of Communist Russia. He is eternally grateful for not having to choose between Pravda and prison.
Bill is the Free Press rural reporter, but he grew up across the street from Fraser’s Grove in East Kildonan in one in a series of houses built by his father. His mother imparted her love of books on him. Bill’s rural influences came from hunting and fishing in his early years, and later, canoeing.
Growing up, he split his summers between a hobby farm in the Interlake, down the Steep Rock road, where his father operated an apiary, and a cabin his father built with hand tools in the Whiteshell.
Bill’s credentials as rural reporter were rounded out in the 1980s as a writer for farm weekly, the Manitoba Co-operator. Farmers funded not only his education in agriculture, but also his training in journalism under the tutelage of editors like Bill Morriss and Bob Hainstock. Later influences included Pat Flynn and Brian Cole at the Free Press.
Bill has won a National Newspaper Award and is in the Canadian Who’s Who. He has several books to his credit including investigative work, Dams of Contention: The Rafferty-Alameda Story and the Birth of Canadian Environmental Law (Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award nominee 2013) and Made in Manitoba: Open Road Stories. He has also written two Manitoba true crime books: Crimes of the Century (Mary Scorer Award winner), and Crime Stories.
He once had a short story published in Zygote magazine about a man who lies sprawled on a driveway unable to move... but we won’t talk about that.
Bill believes writers have to be committed readers and it shows when they aren’t.