A word to the staff, from Senior Times publisher Barbara Moser

Please click here for stories and remembrances from The Senior Times newsroom as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The beginning

I have my brother David Moser to thank for The Senior Times. I’d never thought of publishing a newspaper before I visited him in Edmonton in 1986 and watched him put out the Alberta Native News, a five-year-old monthly. He suggested I try publishing too.

“I’m a teacher, not a publisher,” I told him. “I know nothing about journalism.”

“I’ll teach you.” And he did. Every night on the phone he taught me the art of selling advertising and how to start the business.

Why seniors?

I was lucky enough to have four grandparents, all role models, until I was 18. My grandfather, William Levit, was a father to me from the time my dad died in 1970 when I was 20. Zaida, who died at 92, was an artist who immigrated from
Russia at the turn of the century and started Levit Neon Signs in Winnipeg. I started The Senior Times in October, 1986 on $3,000, part of an inheritance he left me. I owe my artistic talents to my Zaida. I wish he could have seen just one issue of The Senior Times. He died just six months before I published the first issue.

Starting up the business

I rented a small office at 360 Victoria in Westmount with two phones and made the first call to sell an ad. It’s hard, especially when you don’t have a newspaper to show your potential clients. After 30 or so calls and rejections (“Send me a copy when it’s out,” they all said), I called my first advertiser, Alymer-Must Nursing Services. Edda Must only agreed to advertise because I cried on the phone. I’m sure of that. She remained a steady advertiser for at least ten years.

An advertiser in that first 12 pager was Harold Bergman, Optometrist. I climbed up the stairs to his office then on Somerled and made my pitch. He agreed to advertise and for 30 years he has continued to do so and has been our family optometrist. He has always supported The Senior Times often contributing articles on eye care.

In those days we hired typesetters to put the paper together on paste-up boards with pieces of text that spewed out of a machine and got slapped on to make up the pages. The first computer was a small Mac classic at Studio Apostrophe, run by Brian Topp. The Mirror also published with Brian in what was then known as desktop publishing. I remember the long nights spent waiting for copy and ads to come spewing out of the machines and the endless editing and proofing that went on until everything was a blur. Pete Wheeland, a Gazette copy editor for many years, was one of the two “typesetters” devoted to churning out the pages. The other was the long haired Brian Receiver.

Many editors later, many stories later, many devoted advertisers later, here we are, still doing what we know best — publishing a quality monthly newspaper targeting the older generation, of which I’ve now become a member.

To my daughters, Amy and Molly (in photo, top right)

You have been with me since the beginning when I asked you to give out the first copies of The Senior Times (October, 1986) at the Van Horne Shopping Centre to anyone with grey hair. You were seven and five and you bravely went up to reluctant people and offered them copies. They took one look at you and took a copy. I know you had to share me with my third child all those years, my Senior Times, and wait up for me to come home from the typesetters. You understood, most of the time, why mommy wasn’t home and as you grew you understood more and more what The Senior Times means to me.

You’ve shared in my successes, fears, worries, good times and bad.

I love you both very much!

Our glorious team

Dear Shirley

You started selling ads for ST in 1996 and you are still going strong, especially with those MPs and MNAs who can’t say no to you. I discovered you at the Creative Social Centre where you wrote poems and still do. You’re a woman of many talents, Shirley, an incredible team player, always positive, a great confidant and mother figure for me. When I see you walk in, I feel that all is well in our Senior Times office, or will be soon.

Dear Kristine,

You have been at my side at The Senior Times for 15 years and the light has been blazing with your engaging articles about health, well being and your life-long passion — music, invigorating us with your knowledge, depth, and sensitivity for all things senior. Your article on Gerdy this issue moved me to tears. You have an incredible way of making us feel and hear Gerdy’s voice as she speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Dear Sandra,

You’ve been with us for 10 years, a devoted, consistent, caring sales rep, copy editor, and confidant. Ever since I met your daughter, Sharonne, and she told me about her mom who had recently returned from living in Israel,  I knew we would be a match. And we are! Todah Rabah!

Dear Jodie,

You’re an accomplished sales rep. It’s your 10th anniversary  with us Jodie! Please stay for at least another ten. Your energy
is magnetic. And when you smile, you light up the office!

Dear Thelma,

You’ve been by my side at The Senor Times for 17 years! Thank you for holding down the fort, for your untiring dedication to our advertisers and staff, for your demands that our final product be as good as it can be, checking to make sure all ads and copy are accurate and all clients happy. You’re my rock! It’s a joy to see you every morning when I walk in the door.

Dear Albert,

You are the one and only! You’ve stuck with us as our graphic designer through thick and thin, and you are my best friend in art and design. I thank you for putting your whole heart and soul into every issue. You say you love what you do and it shows in every issue. We are so lucky to have such a dedicated and devoted graphic designer!

Dear Chad,

You’ve taken a huge load off me! You’re always by my side at the office, leaving me more time for writing, editing, and teaching at Dawson. Thanks for all your hard work and for being such a good student!

Dear Jack,

Thanks for doing the difficult job of distributing our paper. Distribution is a huge part of the success of a newspaper and maintaining those drops and creating new ones often goes unappreciated. Jack, know that you are very much appreciated.

Dear Jacquie,

You started with The Senior Times as a sales rep on the second issue back in November, 1986 in that tiny office at 360 Victoria in Westmount. You were as persistent in tracking me down and getting me to meet you as you are in convincing our advertisers that The Senior Times is the best thing since apple pie.  After a long break, you returned to us ten years ago as Sales Manager.

“You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches far ahead,”. I was at your wedding to Ivan, watched your kids grow up as you watched mine. Here’s to 30 more years together!

Dear Caroline,

You’re our photographer! Thanks for joining our team and bringing your artistic and photographic skills to our pages. Your enthusiasm and way with people is just what I’ve been looking for! And that picture on the cover! Need I say more about your talents?

Dear Gloria,

You came to us 10 years ago and have been selling strong for all of them. The last couple of years haven’t been easy for you personally and yet you continue to bring life and joy to this late career of yours and to us!

Dear Hayley,

Thanks for your marvelous editing skills and your magical Senior Times website, which you own, girl! You’ve definitely put us on the virtual map.

Dear Irwin,

When you came into my life in 1995 and eventually became a journalist for The Senior Times, you changed my life and the life of The Times. Your feature stories and editorials all have the mark of a veteran journalist who delights in what he does and enlightens his readers with thorough, balanced reporting in insightful articles that move our readers to think and act. What would The Senior Times be without you?

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