Roger Holmes


This year's third recipient of a CCNA Silver Quill is Roger Holmes, publisher of the Wainwright Star and Wainwright Review, presented by Sarah Holmes.

My name is Sarah Holmes, I’m a 4th generation publisher currently at the Gabriola Sounder on Gabriola Island, B.C. It is my honour and privilege to be able to present my father, Roger, with the CCNA Silver Quill.

A lot has changed in 25 years, both in the newspaper industry and since Roger’s beginning at the news office at Provost News. The way news is reported, photographed, designed and advertised, and how process colour is used and printed. He is actually able to explain what minding your P's and Q's means.

He is adapted to the work in which auto-focusing digital cameras, iPhones, and direct to plate printing from a computer file are common and has been able to be at the front of these technologies pushing the limits of what is capable to the highest level of quality and productivity.

His work on the Technology board for the AWNA saw the inception and current use of the digital online searchable, PDF archival, and now electronic tearsheet systems - known as the AWSOM archives program. Serving as the AWNA president for 2 consecutive years gave him the unique opportunity to visit every member newspaper in the AWNA, showing his dedication to understanding members' challenges, achievements, and geographical locations, all the while reporting back to the AWNA newsletter with photos of rusted mailboxes, the rural roots.

Roger spent time in the commercial printing business in Medicine Hat and Calgary with his father and older brother Ron while his younger brother Richard carried on with the ‘homestead’ paper in Provost. It was in 1990 that Roger moved to Wainwright and began publishing his own weekly community newspaper. The Wainwright Star Chronicle offered interesting challenges in that it was not only a newspaper but also a print shop.

In 2002, he was presented with the AWNA’s Bill Draayer award. He has received industry awards in all AWNA categories: editorial, photography, and ad design/page layout, and CCNA also. For this, he credits the team in Wainwright. He often says, “when the staff succeeds it’s on them, but when they don’t it’s my fault.” Roger has served as Rotary member for more years that I know in both Medicine Hat and Wainwright, and as Wainwright Rotary president for a year.

He always made the Newspaper office interesting to those who toured through the office. Whether it was adults, school tours or summer programs, he always made things educational, interesting, and awesome when visitors got to leave with paper pressmen hats, or a photo of their visit being printed and delivered out the back door as they toured through.

My favourite was the ‘magic door’ during the time of film negatives he would step into the black cylindrical door move  the black door in front of himself and poof would be gone when the door opened again. In all actuality he was in the dark room waiting for the gasps to end then the door would magically start moving on it’s own and there he would be back again.

This job has taken him interesting places, from traveling to CCNA conventions, a family farm antique threshing demonstration, the Valentine’s Day bull sale or to Sierra Leone to help teach journalism through CJFE. He has shown me that the roll of the community newspaper needs to reflect what is happening in the community, as well as to get closer when taking photos.

Roger’s grandfather Ed Holmes, first generation newspaper editor, is quoted “I still hold the conviction that there is no more a free or congenial life than that of a rural weekly editor,”  which still holds true 100 years later, has been passed on to my husband Derek who has taken up the family mantle as newspaper editor of the Gabriola Sounder.

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