The Independent Is Back

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The Independent is back. The paper, which folded in 2008, is contacting local advertisers and announcing a launch in February 2011. Apparently, the new product will launch within the next week.


But it won’t be a paper product. This time, it will only be available online, at


Don’t scoff! This is for real. According to its web site, the paper will have 26 people contributing to content. That is enormous for any local publication.

The new editor is Emilie Bourque, who holds a BA in Anthropology from MUN and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King's College, specializing in Advanced Online Journalism. She has written for several publications, including The Scope.

What’s more, Stephanie Porter is back, as columns editor and profile writer.

I sent a message to Brian Dobbin, owner of ‘The Independent’ name in this province, to request an interview. I will have more, if he responds.

Meanwhile, you can find out a fair bit of information by clicking on the advertising link, which is being sent out right now to local businesses. Here are the people who will be writing for the new Independent, as journalist and columnists, with descriptions copied right from the site:

Adrienne King grew up in Corner Brook, studied Journalism at Ryerson, and worked as everything from a dog groomer to a town councillor in Portugal Cove-St. Phillip’s. She writes a regular column for the Indy called Skewed, “a look at ordinary life and ways to get around it”.

Aimee Wall, a native of Grand Falls-Windsor, currently lives, writes, works and plays in downtown St. John’s. A graduate of MUN’s English Department, she received a 2010 Provincial Arts and Letters Award for short fiction. She will be covering general news, arts, music & life in St. John’s.

Andrea Barnes studied International Relations overseas. Nowadays she works for the Faculty of Medicine at MUN doing research, and will be contributing general news with a focus on provincial health happenings.

Bruce Bourque retired in 2003 after thirty years with CBC’s Here & Now. Free now to pursue his writing dreams, he contributes articles to a historical quarterly about growing up in rural Nova Scotia in the 50’s. His work has also appeared in Saltscapes. He writes a regular column for the Indy called Too Foolish to Talk About, “a commentary on life in this place, and in this age. And AT this age”.

Darrell Duke has published two books, with another on the way. He loves singing, photography, Newfoundland history, old people, rocky beaches, driftwood and cast iron. Born in Placentia and now living in Clarenville, he loves digging in the past and will be covering both the past and the present in those two regions.

Dana Hawco is a podcaster/blogger/geek from St. John’s, Newfoundland, with an impressive following in NYC, where she presents her podcasting talents at “PodCamps”. Professionally she has been making a career for herself as a website designer and IT consultant for 10 years. She will be reviewing podcasts from near and far for the Indy.

Emilie Bourque was born and raised in St. John’s. She holds a BA in Anthropology from MUN and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King's College, where she specialized in Advanced Online Journalism. After cutting her teeth in local business news and beyond at The Scope, she went on to write for several publications in Halifax. Now settled back home with a head full of online media possibilities, she is the editor for the all new

Gavin Simms was raised in the blissful isolation of Hermitage, NL. After school he left the province for UNB. He eventually arrived back and took a job as a reporter/photographer for Clarenville’s newspaper The Packet, where he honed his story-telling skills. Now he’s our province-wide lead reporter, video editor, photographer, and author of regular column Hopeless Bay, “an episodic fiction about a young man hired to save his hometown”.

Gina Gill hails from Gander. She hit the ferry in 2001 and earned a BA in English by 2005. A year later she found herself in the nation’s capital to pursue a journalism diploma. Now freshly married and settled in St. John’s, Gina will be covering a wide range of news, arts, music and life events in the big city.

Hans Rollmann was raised in St. John’s. His previous work experiences include radio-broadcasting, archaeology and labour union activism. He’s currently completing a PhD in Toronto, while sending the Indy a powerful column, To Each Their Own, which “looks at political issues impacting Newfoundland and Labrador”. The column’s title is a quote of 19th century Newfoundland labour leader William Coaker and reflects his dream of a fair, just and equitable Newfoundland and Labrador.

Heidi Wicks is a communications coordinator at MUN and freelance writer based in St. John’s. She also volunteers in the local film industry and writes a regular blog on the Telegram website called Wicks on Flicks. For the Indy, she will be contributing regular reviews of both movies and TV on DVD.

Ian Vardy is an IT analyst, stage manager and photographer for and Shooting since 2004, Ian credits Paul Daly and Rhonda Hayward as early influences. Ian will be our regular photographer, providing the vivid, eye-catching and impactful shots The Independent was once well known for.

Jessica Butler is a craftsperson with a degree in Metalsmithing. She has a passion for getting youth to stay and create in Newfoundland and Labrador. She works in tourism, presenting this beautiful province to visitors and residents alike. Dividing her time between Conception Bay and Bonne Bay, she will be covering the arts from all corners of the province.

Jessie Forman was born and grew up in Alberta. She graduated in 2006 from The Alberta College of Art and Design with a Bachelors Degree in Drawing. Jessie now resides in Vancouver where she teaches and practices art of all kinds, and is the Indy’s illustrator, pairing her work with Gavin’s Hopeless Bay series and bringing his imaginings to life.

Jon Seary is the owner and technical manager of a computer and networking business. He has been a cabinetmaker, a DJ, an advisor for young entrepreneurs and a municipal councillor for Portugal Cove-St. Phillip’s. Jon’s interest in better energy sources led him into wind turbine farms, solar generation systems and geothermal heating plants. He is a general contributor for

Jonny Hodder, after being raised on the foggy shores of Marystown, NL, left in 2003 to tackle the BA and B.Ed. programs at Memorial University. Working for years with local publication Current, he now resides in Gander and will be providing the Indy with general coverage in Gander and surrounding areas.

Jordan Flynn lives in St. John’s and teaches theatre arts at PWC high school. Having also worked for years with his own theatre company, he knows the local arts scene inside and out and will be providing the Indy with local theatre and film stories, plus movie and music reviews.

Liam Herringshaw is a palaeontologist and professor at Memorial University, studying the ecological and geological impact of burrowing organisms. He moved to St. John’s from Scotland but is an English cricket fan, and has recently started St. John’s first cricket club. He contributes both sports stories and a regular column for us, called Old Lost Sea, “about the natural history of Newfoundland & Labrador”.

Matthew Ryder has been covering sports for over seven years, with time spent working on the air for CBC Radio One and Rogers Television, as a weekly columnist for Spector's Hockey and and as the Media Relations Director for the St. John's Fog Devils, where he also wrote a weekly column for the team's website. He is the Indy’s sports columnist, writing Speaking of Sports, “our weekly look at the world of sports, in St. John's and beyond”.

Megan Coles is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and MUN. She has contributed to the CBC’s Radio Noon, Canadian Geographic and is a regular columnist with the Northern Pen. She writes a regular column for called You Listen Here Now, which “shouts the things you whisper when you think no one's listening”. She also covers news, arts, life and has created a music database which will eventually cover all musicians in the province.

Melissa Tobin is a self-proclaimed townie who grew up in Torbay. She has worked and volunteered in various media outlets all across the province including CHMR, Rogers Television, VOCM and the CBC. With a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King's College, her interests lie anywhere between politics and pop culture. She is a general reporter for

Niquae McIntosh was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but has spent recent years as a freelance copy editor in New York City. Now residing in the entirely different atmosphere of Fogo Island, she focuses her energy writing poetry, short stories and informative essays, addressing social issues and scenarios impacting people. She will be contributing in all manners from that region, giving us an outsider’s eye into the events in Fogo and surrounding areas.

Stephanie Hawco recently moved back to St. John’s after 11 years of constant travel. After earning a BA from Dalhousie University, she went on to become a tree-planter, waitress, art gallery assistant and late-night free-style spoken word poet. Now she’s a pregnant mom, working on baby #2, and writes a regular column for The Indy called AdLib Mom, “a ticket into the world of parenting on this manic planet”.

Stephanie Porter, for almost five years, was managing editor of this site’s predecessor: the newspaper version of The Independent. She loved that scrappy, spirited showcase of Newfoundland and Labrador’s past, present and future. These days, Stephanie is a freelance writer/editor with a variety of projects on her plate, and is excited to be back as columns editor and profile writer for the new online Indy.

Interesting, what? I recognize a bunch of these names, and know them to be credible and talented. They hail from, and will be writing about, all regions of the province. And the editor sounds like she was tailor-made for the role. This is exciting news indeed.

Here’s the descriptive blurb you will find at the advertising sales site:

With the economic and cultural resurgence of our great province comes new ideas and new voices. A new media has emerged to give Newfoundland & Labradorians an alternative to the tired old sources of the past; a new 'paper' which engages our future but embraces our history and our culture - appropriately named is a fresh take on journalism in Newfoundland & Labrador. Based solely online with a new young team of journalists, columnists, and digital contributors, it offers the province a media experience it has never seen before. not only provides news and stories independent of other 'local' papers, but also presents them with cutting edge technology, allowing readers to interact and become engaged with the story as never before.

I wonder if the online version will pursue the aggressive Newfoundland-nationalist bent that characterized the old Indy? More on this later.... 

No matter how you cut it, this is great news. The new online Indy is definitely a product to watch.

The link to the official site – – is not live yet. However, you can poke around the advertising site - and there's plenty to read - by clicking here:


An earlier version of this blog entry suggested that Jeremy Eaton and Josh Pennell would both be contributors to the Independent online scheduled to launch next week. In fact, their names came from an earlier mailout to potential advertisers and they are no longer affiliated with the Independent online.



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Recent comments

  • refurbish print head
    February 10, 2011 - 03:54

    Thanks for the supportive blog post . I just wanted to give a quick update on some of our contributors and/or past contributors... Our team has been growing and evolving rapidly over the past year.

  • Liam Herringshaw
    February 08, 2011 - 18:34

    Just to clarify something: I am not, and have never claimed to be, a professor at Memorial University. I was a postdoctoral fellow, a rather less senior and distinctly less important position, and the biography is incorrect. Many thanks.

  • Steve Winslow
    February 08, 2011 - 18:20

    I'm looking forward to a thoughtful and factual local site on local affairs. I'm just hoping they don't get on with the nationalistic, half-baked, short-sighted unsupported fantasy nonsense they were getting in with under Ryan Cleary/Brian Dobbin regime. That was just a sad pitiful mess.

  • Jon
    February 08, 2011 - 10:07

    Excellent news! Glad to see this back, even if it is just an online version. What happened to Ivan Morgan, I just to really enjoy his columns.

  • Peter Jackson
    February 08, 2011 - 08:06

    Just a generational clarification... The Hans Rollmann mentioned here is Hans Rollmann Jr., not Hans Sr., who writes a religion column in The Telegram.

  • Dups
    February 07, 2011 - 22:23

    This is Awesome news. Congrats to the Independent. I am REALLY looking forward to this and I'll even buy a subscription to keep it going. I hope they get an iPhone/iPad app out there.

  • Emilie Bourque
    February 07, 2011 - 20:25

    It's true--The Indy's (just about) back! Thanks for the supportive blog post Geoff. I just wanted to give a quick update on some of our contributors and/or past contributors... Our team has been growing and evolving rapidly over the past year that we've been cooking up this new Indy and these bios were posted last season, so please allow me to give you a more current snapshot of them: Jeremy Eaton - Apologies to you, Jeremy, and to the fine folks at CBC who might be scratching their heads over this. Jeremy was considering sending us some lighter weekend coverage from Labrador just as he was moving there, but recently bowed out since his CBC work keeps him busy enough for one journalist. Josh Pennell - Now working full-time for Rogers as co-host of Out of the Fog, Josh, too, is a busy man these days and we're excited for him in his new position. The Indy days for him are now Rogers days. Other than a couple of changes in location, the rest of the people listed are still at the ready to deliver you Indy coverage within the coming days. And... Gavin Simms - Once in place as lead reporter, Gavin has been promoted now to news editor, with reporting on the side. Kerri Breen - The newest addition to our team, who we are thrilled to have on board. Kerri will be taking the reins on our news coverage. We look forward to telling you more about this project very soon!

  • Eileen
    February 07, 2011 - 20:02

    Very interesting! Looking forward to reading articles from Darrel Duke. I’m sure I will enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed listening to his music.