In December, Tempo marks its 35th anniversary of giving the greater Brome Lake community information and news about local government, local business, and each other. A good thing, too.
When so many newspapers have given up their paper version, it is noteworthy that readers still anxiously await the publication of Tempo in its current print format. Social media supplies all the news that fits, and so much more. But in 1983, the general public was woefully uninformed about the machinations of the municipality. Montreal, national and global developments were only a radio or television remote away. Brome Lake stories, not so much.
Co-founder and continuing Tempo mainstay Claire Kerrigan remembers the state of affairs that led her and others to found the not-for-profit paper. “There was no voice for the community. We were desperate for local news. When the Knowlton Lions Club promised up to $2,000 to get a paper started, we were ready to go.” This money was soon repaid, with thanks. She remembers the initial Tempo team included about 20 local residents, with five stated objectives that remain core values in 2018.
They include a commitment to publish articles in both English and French to promote better understanding between the two cultures. Tempo hoped to foster a greater sense of community among many diverse communities; and to keep residents better informed about the workings of municipal governments and of various organizations and individuals in the area. A fourth tenet was to support business activity through stories and advertising. Finally, the paper pledged to publicize the area to investors, visitors and new residents.
From the beginning, Tempo attracted a large and varied group of voluntary contributors and workers. The team is still overwhelmingly made up of volunteers. “There was strength in numbers,” Kerrigan recalls. “There still is. Together we bring news from many different sources, and we have fun doing it.”
Of course, the more things stay the same, the more things change. After years of cutting and pasting on ‘blue sheets’, (the old fashion way of doing layout work), Tempo went digital in 2006.
Kerrigan believes the decision to launch an online version of Tempo two years ago, as well as a Facebook site, was crucial. Suddenly, community news was available to homesick ex-pats and the merely curious anywhere, anytime with a simple key- stroke. An organization that began before smart phones, Google and online shopping had joined the 21st century.
But a core belief from 1983 holds fast. Tempo is published by a group of local people as a service to the greater community. We are here to see it stays that way.