The Brandon Sun will be taking a page out of the history books this weekend — literally.
On Saturday, as the world marks the centennial of the beginning of the First World War, the Sun will present its readers with a reprinted historical front page from 100 years ago. And they’ll even be able to buy it from a real live newsie.
The "Extra! Extra!" front page containing the declaration of war was recently digitized from an original paper copy preserved by the Sun, and modern readers will be able to learn the news of war exactly as Brandonites did a century ago.
"The First World War affected Brandon and its citizens deeply," said Sun publisher Eric Lawson. "The Sun’s archives provide one of our city’s most important records of its history, and we thought it was important to bring that history to life."
Inside, the paper will contain all the news, sports, analysis and advertising that it normally does, but the outside wrap will be a throwback to 1914. If the period style isn’t enough, a special memorial banner will ensure that no readers believe Britain and Germany have gone to war again.
"From a marketing perspective its always fun to have something new or different for our readers, but also attracting more eyes to our advertisers’ messages is what we try to do," said Sun sales and marketing director Glen Parker. "This will be a win on both fronts."
Adding to the vintage flavour, the Sun has hired an actor to dress up as a newsboy and to stand on a street corner flogging copies of the paper.
The Sun newsboy, in full costume, will be on 18th Street at Brandon Avenue, outside of Forbidden Flavours, and he’ll be selling copies of the paper from 9–10 a.m. on Saturday morning. Copies of the Sun are $1.50 on Saturday, but all proceeds and any additional donations are being forwarded to the Shilo Military Family Resource Centre.
"If there was a breaking news story back then, paper boys and girls would have hit the streets to get the news out quickly," said circulation manager Lori Timms, who will be helping the actor out. "On Saturday, we’re bringing part of history back. This will be a little bit what it was like in the past."
The historic front page reprint officially kicks off a major initiative of the Sun, which will track the progress of the First World War from a Brandon perspective "as it happened" for the next four years. The retrospective coverage actually began in June, with a look back at the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand — the war’s inciting event. Saturday’s edition will include local perspectives on the lead-up to the war itself, as well as stories about how Brandon reacted in the first days of the conflict.
The ongoing coverage will continue regularly, and will also be presented online at www.brandonsun.com/firstworldwar100.
"It’s sobering to look through Brandon’s history as it was presented in the pages of the paper," managing editor James O’Connor said. "There are important lessons to learn from any community’s past, and the Brandon Sun is lucky to have access to nearly 130 years of history that we can learn from."