Toast to new year, cheers to Free Press readers


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In the age of COVID-19, I’ve twice stood on the edge of the year that was and the year that will be.

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In the age of COVID-19, I’ve twice stood on the edge of the year that was and the year that will be.

The first time, I used my annual New Year’s Eve message to Free Press readers to sound a positive note amid the oppressive negativity of the pandemic. As sand was running out of the 2020 hourglass of that first viral year, I thought the arrival of vaccines would speed us to endemic from pandemic. So much for that hope and prayer.

A year ago at this time, I noted how Omicron had turned the image of the hourglass into a snow globe in which we were all trapped, as COVID continued to shake up our world in ways both unfair and unrelenting. At least I got some of that right, although who could have foreseen a year in which “freedom convoys,” the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and rising inflation would add to our worries?

On the eve of this new year, I’m going to take a different tack, as I’ve learned my lesson. Instead of prognosticating, I will simply reflect on what I know to be true.

The truth: in the year in which the Free Press marked its 150th anniversary, readers like you were the one constant we could always count on.

Readers continued to trust in us to deliver the information they needed about COVID and so much more. Readers helped fund our newsroom, with more coming aboard every single day as paid subscribers who believe in the power of journalism.

Readers went above and beyond, offering additional financial support for coverage of the arts and faith, and even stepping up as patrons.

Readers sent notes of thanks for the stories we covered and handwritten cards to wish us well as we looked to our next 150 years.

Celebrating with readers at the Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibit Headlines: the Art of the News Cycle was the best possible way to mark Nov. 30 — the day on which the first edition of the Free Press ran off a hand-press in 1872.

When this year began, who could have thought the future of a 150-year-old legacy newspaper would be more certain than that of social media juggernaut Twitter? But thanks to readers like you — and the machinations of “chief twit” Elon Musk — that is where we are today.

As I raise a toast to the new year, I will be thankful for readers like you, who make what we do possible despite these unprecedented times.

Happy new year and all the best in 2023!

Paul Samyn is Free Press editor

Twitter: @paulsamyn

Paul Samyn

Paul Samyn

Paul Samyn has been part of the Free Press newsroom for more than a quarter century, working his way up after starting as a rookie reporter in 1988.

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