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Extra! Extra! Read all about it – online!

Digitized version of the Winnipeg Tribune now online

September 12, 2018 — 

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, produced at a cost of more than $500,000 over four years of intensive work, the Trib’s digital record encompasses the entire newspaper run from 1890 to August 1980 when the paper ceased publication unexpectedly as a result of negotiations between competing newspaper chains.

“This was a major investment by the University and the Libraries to make this freely available to all those who are interested around the world. It provides round-the-clock access to Manitoba history and is one of the most important broad contemporary records of events in this province that exists,” says Shelley Sweeney, Archives & Special Collections.

The Winnipeg Tribune was one of western Canada’s oldest newspapers, founded in 1890 by L.R. Richardson and D.L. McIntyre who scraped together $7,000 to take over the press and premises of the former, original Winnipeg Sun. Struggling under the restraints of outdated equipment and no telegraph service, the new paper nevertheless survived.

With Winnipeg’s growing population and economic boom, the Trib rapidly became a viable alternative to the rival Winnipeg Free Press. While primarily regarded as an independent liberal paper covering local events and personalities, the Tribune also reported on national and international news. It also merged with the more conservative newspaper The Winnipeg Telegram in 1920.

Dona Harvey was the last editor of the Winnipeg Tribune

Dona Harvey was the last editor of the Winnipeg Tribune

After the Trib’s sudden collapse, Archives & Special Collections received the papers’ “morgue files” of clippings on Manitoba personalities and events, and its photograph collections dating from the 1930s to 1980. Thanks to a generous grant from The Winnipeg Foundation, the Archives was able to produce an index to the clippings, but there was no other way to find an item in the newspaper if one didn’t have a specific date except by tediously scrolling through the microfilm. In 2013, however, the Libraries and Archives & Special Collections were able to digitize a small fraction of the Trib newspaper, specifically the First and Second World War years. In 2014 the Libraries began the arduous task of digitizing the rest of the newspaper.

Sweeney notes: “People in Manitoba that are familiar with the paper have very strong sentimental reactions to it. I think people were traumatized by the sudden loss of the newspaper when it was abruptly shut down in 1980. It was more oriented towards the local community and had lots of personality that was absent from what had been perceived as the more formal Winnipeg Free Press.”

She adds: “It remains one of our most heavily-used resources in the entire archives. It positions the University as the backbone of digital resources for Manitoba history, and it’s completely free to use by anyone wanting to do historical research or simply look up what was happening on any date between 1890 and 1980.”

During the launch, a demo was presented showing how you can extract nifty historical details about your friends, family, and neighbourhood. Later, the last editor of the Winnipeg Tribune, Dona Harvey, spoke about the life, death and rebirth of the Trib. 

The University of Manitoba Libraries would like to acknowledge that the digitized Tribune was developed through staff of the Libraries’ Digital Initiatives department, and Archives & Special Collections.

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