‘A jour­nal of de­cent stan­dards’

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

Be­fore The Com­pass ap­peared in 1968, there was The Bay News, which was pub­lished 10 years ear­lier.

The first is­sue of The Bay News ap­peared on Aug. 16, 1958. The sub­scrip­tion rate was $2.50 a year; a sin­gle copy cost five cents. The news­pa­per ceased pub­li­ca­tion on July 25, 1959.

The premier is­sue, a sou­venir edi­tion, was sub­ti­tled “A Weekly News­pa­per for Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity Bays.” It was pub­lished ev­ery Satur­day.

The edi­tor and pub­lisher of the chatty news­pa­per was Pa­trick H. Pick­ett of Bay Roberts.

Born at South Side, Fogo, in 1920, Pick­ett re­ceived a jour­nal­ism de­gree from the Uni­ver­sity of Western On­tario and an ed­u­ca­tion de­gree from Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity. He taught in New­found­land and Nova Sco­tia. He was a re­porter and staff writer with The Evening Tele­gram, St. John’s. He also edited The Monitor and The Se­nior Voice. Per­haps his best-known book is “ Heroic Com­pan­ion: The New­found­land Dog.”

“ We are pub­lish­ing a paper, not of ne­ces­sity, but rather to fill a need in an im­por­tant and fast-grow­ing area of the prov­ince,” Pick­ett in­formed the read­ers of his Bay News.

He re­al­ized “ the heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity” he was as­sum­ing, along with “the many long hours of work ahead.” Still, he was “ happy to un­dergo the nec­es­sary tra­vail, if we can bring to the peo­ple (that is, ev­ery­one of us, in all walks of life) a jour­nal of de­cent stan­dards.

“In a democ­racy, the peo­ple need a voice if they are to reach any de­gree of po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity. Full in­for­ma­tion ( facts) is nec­es­sary be­fore any­one can make an in­tel­li­gent de­ci­sion.”

The edi­tor aimed “to bring to the peo­ple … such in­for­ma­tion that in­forms, ed­u­cates and en­ter­tains, at the same time pro­vid­ing a voice of opin­ion through its col­umns.

“ This paper is backed by no one ex­cept you, the peo­ple; be­hold­ing to no one ex­cept you, the pub­lic.”

Pick­ett so­licited his read­ers’ sup­port, prayers, praise and crit­i­cism.

Reread­ing the news­pa­per to­day shows the things that were on peo­ple’s minds in the area in the late 1950s.

The first news item is “Man moves hill and builds home, garage.” Vic­tor Mercer of Bay Roberts moved the hill at Woody Point, at the en­trance to Spa­niard’s Bay, in or­der to build a home and garage. It also elim­i­nated “one of the worst high­way haz­ards on the Con­cep­tion Bay high­way — a sharp, blind curve.”

Squid were plen­ti­ful. Tourism was on the in­crease. Thieves were be­ing sought af­ter a “wave of re­cent breakins” in Clarke’s Beach-Makin­sons. Car­bon­ear was lead­ing a “ big build­ing boom.” Sheep farm­ers were dip­ping their flocks, as “a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure to keep sheep free of dis­ease.” Church news takes pride of place. The new Ro­man Catholic Church at North River was blessed. In Cen­tral United Church, Bay Roberts, a set of chairs, do­nated by Pearl Elms, was ded­i­cated. The Angli­can church in South River was “ los­ing its weath­er­beaten ap­pear­ance and get­ting a new coat of paint.”

So­cials were an in­te­gral part of the news­pa­per.

Alice Mercer of Bay Roberts East and Robert Cater of Grand Falls were united in mat­ri­mony. At Car­bon­ear, Mrs. John Rorke Sr. “re­turned home af­ter a brief visit to hos­pi­tal in St. John’s, where she un­der­went ex­am­i­na­tion and has the as­sur­ance her health is good.”

The C.L.B. Ar­moury, Bay Roberts, was pur­chased and handed over to the town, to be the new site of coun­cil busi­ness.

The Bay News re­lied on ad­ver­tis­ing.

The pro­pri­etors of Mar­shall’s Hard­ware, lo­cated on Wa­ter Street, Bay Roberts, of­fered a wide va­ri­ety of mer­chan­dise, in­clud­ing sou­venirs of the town, fish­ing tackle, bi­cy­cles ($34.95), elec­tric lamps, ket­tles, hot­plates, irons, fry­ing pans, toast­ers, beds, springs, mat­tresses, daybeds, cups and saucers.

Pow­ell’s Su­per­mar­ket in Bay Roberts, on the Con­cep­tion Bay High­way, stocked pick­led trout, salmon and pigs’ feet. There were also pigs’ jowls and ri­blets, along with fresh let­tuce, cu­cum­ber and wa­ter­melon. The shop spe­cialty was home­made bread and cakes, “ fresh daily.” Fi­nally, “ we stock a book rack and make keys.” Pick­ett of­fered ed­i­to­rial com­ment. For ex­am­ple, “ Since the Depart­ment of High­ways was re­or­ga­nized two years ago, it has done more ef­fec­tive work on our sec­ondary roads than was done for the past 50 years.”

Noel Mo­tors & Tran­sit Ltd., pre­sum­ably of Car­bon­ear, of­fered “com­plete au­to­mo­tive ser­vices, in­ter-town trans­porta­tion.” A re­built car­bu­re­tor and a volt­age reg­u­la­tor could be pur­chased for as low as $8.35 and $6.50, re­spec­tively.

There was even an at­tempt at hu­mour.

A me­chanic, speak­ing t o a mo­torist seek­ing car re­pairs, said, “If your car were a horse, it would have to be shot!”

In Sports, lady wrestlers were a big hit at the Har­bour Grace sta­dium. And so on. . . The Bay News shut its doors less than a year later. It was the end of a valiant at­tempt on the part of the edi­tor, Pa­trick H. Pick­ett, to pro­duce a pub­li­ca­tion that was, in the words of Diane P. Janes, “concerned with lo­cal events and con­sid­ered non-po­lit­i­cal.”

An old-fash­ioned game of Red Rover got the adren­a­line pump­ing the the com­pet­i­tive juices flow­ing.

The cards were fly­ing and the bids were in­creas­ing as par­tic­i­pants vied for a share of the pot in a friendly poker com­pe­ti­tion.

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