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Reporter restarts Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John, BC

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A print edition of the relaunched Alaska Highway News will be released in early June as reporter Todd Buck and his family work to bring local news back to Fort St. John, BC (iStock - Image Credit)

A print edition of the relaunched Alaska Highway News will be released in early June as reporter Todd Buck and his family work to bring local news back to Fort St. John, BC (iStock – Image Credit)

Alaska Highway News returns to northeast British Columbia.

First published in 1943, the Fort St. John-based newspaper was shut down last October along with Glacier Media's Dawson Creek Mirror, just weeks after another northern publication, the Fort Nelson News, closed its doors.

This meant that the only remaining local newspaper in northern British Columbia was published in Tumbler Ridge and was only printed every two weeks.

Reporter Todd Buck had been working for the Alaska Highway News for several years when he learned that the newspaper he loved so much was going to close.

“It was heartbreaking,” he said. “For something that meant so much not only to my family but to an entire community here, it was heartbreaking to find out the next day that it was no longer going to happen.”

But now Buck hopes to breathe new life into the newspaper.

He has founded a media company and bought the name and masthead of the Alaska Highway News. Slowly but surely he is filling a website with stories about northeastern British Columbia. And in less than two weeks the print edition is due to be published again.

Buck grew up in a small farming community outside of Prince George, but his family has lived in Fort St. John for generations. He said his grandmother even worked with founder and publisher Ma Murray.

“I learned to read with the Alaska Highway News,” said Buck. “It was on my [kitchen] table five days a week.”

Buck, 31, came to the newspaper after working in the craft industry. He had enjoyed writing in high school, and as his family grew, he felt he needed more stability than his job at the time offered.

The editor-in-chief at the time took Buck under his wing and so began Buck's love for local news.

The print edition will be published on June 6

Buck said he put his own money into starting the print edition.

It will be a family business, as his wife will help with distribution while his children will bundle the flyers.

The new news is published from the office in Buck's house, which happens to be next to the office of the old newspaper.

Buck said he plans to launch the weekly print edition of the new Alaska Highway News on June 6, with 4,000 8-page tabloids to be delivered to community mailboxes throughout Fort St. John.

The new Alaska Highway News website is live.The new Alaska Highway News website is live.

The new Alaska Highway News website is live.

The new Alaska Highway News website is already live. (thealaskahighwaynews.com)

Mayor Lilia Hansen said she has always been an avid reader of the newspaper and is looking forward to the new edition.

“Local media is at the heart of communities like Fort St. John,” she said in an emailed statement. “They provide important information, foster community spirit and ensure the voices of our residents are heard and valued.”

“Perhaps now more than ever, we welcome new media that enriches our community with diverse perspectives and expanded reporting.”

Buck said he is excited to be able to write again while serving his community.

“I've been trying to think about how I can continue to write and report about my community, how I can continue to contribute to the community where I live and raise my children,” he said.

“The best thing I can do is try to start a new newspaper.”

LISTEN | Todd Buck explains why he wants to revive Alaska Highway News: