Making history together: 250 years of chronicling our community

Photo: QCT special edition

This photo collage is on page 48 of the QCT's 250th anniversary special edition.

In this so-called digital age, publishing 250 years of English-language news in a predominantly French-speaking city is a significant collective achievement.

• Since 1925, the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph has been the only English-language newspaper published in the predominantly French-speaking Quebec City region.

• The QCT is a vital source of information for the area’s small-yet-vibrant English-speaking community.
• The QCT maintains a living heritage dating back to Quebec City’s first newspaper.

So our newspaper is 250 years old. Who reads newspapers anymore, anyway?

While the overall newspaper scene is challenging, studies show that community newspapers are still Canada’s most trustworthy sources for news and advertising, and that three out of five English-speakers in Quebec City read their local newspaper.

From Harvard Business School professor to legendary investor Warren Buffett, modern international perspectives are in sync with those of William Brown.

In 1764, Brown founded the paper that would become the QCT. On June 21, 1764, he wrote:
“As every kind of knowledge is not only entertaining and instructive to individuals, but a benefit to the community, there is great reason to hope that a NEWS-PAPER [sic], properly conducted and written with accuracy, freedom, and impartiality, cannot fail of meeting with universal encouragement …”

Local news is thriving, and the QCT does “local” well.

Following in Brown’s tradition, we enjoy strong support from our community, and regularly win awards from the Quebec Community Newspaper Association.

In 2013, the QCT won awards in five categories, and one of our journalists was named Outstanding Photojournalist of the Year. Again in 2014, we won in five categories, and one of our journalists was the provincial winner in the national Canadian Tire Jumpstart Foundation journalism competition.

As a “good-news newspaper,” we serve a community that has its own, distinct identity in the provincial capital. And our sense of that community is justifiably broad.

We estimate the QCT’s total potential reach at well over 20,000 individuals (2011 Canada Census). This includes the area’s established English-speaking community, an extensive population of English-speaking immigrants, and French-speakers interested in reading about local news and events in English.

“Those of us who speak la langue de Molière have much to learn from our fellow citizens who speak the language of Shakespeare,” wrote Pierre Asselin, a journalist and editorialist with Le Soleil, in a commentary for our 250th edition. He concluded, “I think the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph can write for, and be read by, both communities, just like Le Soleil or Le Journal de Québec.”

Indeed, Karen Macdonald, Station Director of Global Media Montreal and former owner and publisher of the QCT, envisions the paper as “a statesman moving seamlessly among many different communities […this] is what so many of us Anglo-Quebecers have aspired to – building bridges between different communities, bringing people together.”

Much as William Brown intended to entertain and instruct his readers, our 250th anniversary celebrations aim to entertain, inform, and benefit the community.

But that involves more than simply exploring the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph’s remarkable and convoluted history. We aim to provoke you to think creatively and critically about what this newspaper is in our community – and what it could and should be.

Celebration events include: Ville de Québec unveils historical plaque; special media features; historical presentation; reception to launch the special edition and commemorative video; community picnic.

Whether you join us in person or in spirit, the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph thanks you for the essential part you play in our on-going celebration. We look forward to a vibrant future chronicling your community and your news.
Editor’s note: Look for the 250th anniversary commemorative edition at anniversary events this week! Print subscribers will also receive a copy by mail with the June 25th edition. Contact us directly to order extra copies (shipping and handling fees apply).  Copies may also be purchased at La Maison Anglaise bookstore in Place de la Cité.