Sat, 12/20/2014 - 19:21

Posted by Belinda Alzner on November 01, 2012

For the first time in the newspaper’s history, The Winnipeg Free Press welcomed a guest editor to its pages. Mikhail Gorbachev, former Soviet leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was at the helm of Free Press for Tuesday’s print edition.

Gorbachev was in Winnipeg to give the keynote speech at We Day Manitoba, an event for which The Free Press was a major sponsor. According to its website, We Day Manitoba was attended by 18,000 youths.  

Gorbachev, who was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until its dissolution in 1991, wrote an editorial for the Free Press that outlined his contemporary concerns for the planet. He wrote:

I urge young people to question leaders about what they are doing to address the main challenges that face the world today:

-- What are you doing for the abolition of nuclear arms and for reduction of military spending?

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-- What are you doing to bridge the divide between wealth and poverty?

-- What are doing to save our planet from environmental disaster?

The Free Press reported on Monday that “Under Gorbachev's editorial direction, the Free Press will produce stories throughout all sections of the paper that not only reflect the themes he wants addressed but also connect with today's youth, a generation that fills him with hope for the future”

Through a translator, Gorbachev, 81, approved the front page of Tuesday’s print edition of the Free Press with editor Paul Samyn. As Nick Martin reported, Samyn told Gorbachev: "You told our reporters what you wanted to see, and we tried to have our paper reflect that."

J-Source and ProjetJ are publications of the Canadian Journalism Project, a venture among post-secondary journalism schools and programs across Canada, led by Ryerson University, Université Laval and Carleton University and supported by a group of donors.