Launched in 1973 as a newsletter with a few hundred readers, Nunatsiaq News has grown into Nunavut’s and Nunavik’s newspaper of record with over two million web visits annually. It is the last independently owned paper in the Arctic and one of a dwindling number in Canada.
The low-tech beginnings of the weekly newsletter included two staff, an IBM typewriter, handwritten Inuktitut and a behemoth printer called a Gestetner, best remembered for its oozing, dark ink.
Originally called Inukshuk, it was renamed Nunatsiaq News in 1976. Since then, it has expanded its editorial coverage, circulation and distribution throughout the north. It grew into a tabloid newspaper that was written and designed in the north, printed in the south, then flown to the north for distribution to each community.
Owned by Nortext, it has modernized Inuktitut language publishing with the first syllabic typesetting, desk-top publishing and internet fonts.
Today, a team of 10 creates six online stories a day and weekly updates in English and Inuktitut – covering news in 39 eastern Arctic communities spread over 2.5 million square kilometres. The digital platform allows Nunatsiaq News to publish in real-time, delivering stories to readers with a minimal carbon footprint.
“Surviving 50 years is an accomplishment for any newspaper, but it is particularly remarkable in the Arctic,” said publisher Michael Roberts. “From blizzards to the cost of living, nothing is easy. I’m extremely proud of our team and its journalists for our unbroken record of breaking news and award-winning journalism over five decades.”
Managing editor Corey Larocque and the team of 10 cover a massive news beat with a modest population in three time zones. With robust internet access in most of Nunavut and Quebec’s Nunavik region, news is delivered to 50,000 residents in total.
Today, half the newspaper’s readership is in southern Canada and beyond, demonstrating the increased global interest in Arctic Canada.
“The newspaper industry is facing huge challenges with advertising revenue siphoned off by social media giants,” said Roberts. “I’m hopeful though that our community support will allow us to publish for many years in the future.”
For more about Nunatsiaq News’ 50-year milestones covering publishing, technology, breaking news, journalists, accessibility, indigenous engagement, geography, circulation and environmental sustainability, visit nunatsiaq.com/about.