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LowDown 50th Birthday - A Celebration of Community Journalism | Fri May 26 @ 8pm

LowDown 50th Birthday - Celebrating Community Journalism

Friday 26 May 2023 at 8PM at Motel Chelsea

Writers Fête is delighted to team up with the Low Down to Hull & Back to launch the paper’s 50th anniversary celebrations. In an age of growing half-truths and propaganda, community journalism matters more than ever. Local newspapers and online news outlets promote civic politics, accountability, opinions and public engagement in local groups, recreation, arts and culture. Without them, special interest groups and social media fill the void. Such resources lack transparency, so-called “news” is often biased and unverified, and people are vulnerable to predators and posts that generate emotional reactions and feed misinformation campaigns.

Moderated by Adrian Harewood, journalists Sean Silcoff, Gary Dimmock and Low Down publisher Nikki Mantell will share their thoughts on the vital importance of community journalism, and the Low Down’s successful contribution. A Q&A will follow. Then discover how to become a Friend of the Low Down, visit the “merch” table for T-shirts, hats, hoodies, subscriptions and gift cards, and dance your feet off to the hip hop, soul, funk and disco vibes of DJ Dynaflex Mike Valerio.

NIKKI MANTELL is the owner and publisher of The Low Down to Hull and Back News, an award-winning, feisty, independent newspaper serving the Gatineau Hills. She got her start in the news business in 1973 at the age of one—the year her parents started the newspaper out of their house in Chelsea. Never one to shy away from child labour, they put her to work labelling newspapers, selling ads, and writing news stories.

At the age of 25 Nikki bought her parents out and took over as publisher. It was 1998—the year of the infamous Ice Storm, and the year the Low Down made international headlines taking on Quebec's Office de la Langue française. Since then, she has published over 1,200 editions, gotten married, had two children, and never missed a deadline.

SEAN SILCOFF is an award-winning business writer with the The Globe & Mail specializing in innovation. He previously worked for the National Post and Canadian Business Magazine, and he has been published in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Sean is also co-author, along with Jacque McNish, of the internationally acclaimed Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Blackberry. It won Canada’s National Business Book Award, was shortlisted for the international Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year and was the inspiration for the 2023 movie “BlackBerry.” He lives in Chelsea.

GARY DIMMOCK is a crime writer for the National Post. He lives in Wakefield.

ADRIAN HAREWOOD is an Associate Professor of Journalism at Carleton University. The former host of CBC Ottawa’s drive home radio show  All in a Day,  he was the anchor of CBC Ottawa News at Six from 2009 to 2022.

In 2020, Adrian won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Local Anchor, and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Interviewer in 2017. He has been the guest host of national CBC programs The Current,  As It Happens, Sounds Like Canada, The House, Counterspin, Hot Type, and Power and Politics. He was also the host of programs on BRAVO and PBS including Literati, The Actors, The Directors, Playwrights and Screenwriters.

Adrian has interviewed Angela Davis, Salman Rushdie, Eduardo Galeano, Bill Clinton, Wayne Shorter, Bob Woodward, Deepa Mehta, Naomi Klein, Ken Dryden, Alanis Obomsawin, Joy Kogawa, David Sedaris, Steven Pinker, Lawrence Hill, Barbara Gowdy, Austin Clarke, Andrea Levy, Branford Marsalis, Margaret Macmillan, Ken Burns, David Suzuki, Esi Edugyan, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Hedges, Femi Kuti, Tariq Ali, Niall Ferguson, John Irving, Dionne Brand, Conrad Black and Donald Trump.

Adrian is a board member of Journalists for Human Rights and of the Writers' Union of Canada.


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