History Of The Bulletin
It’s been 87 years in the making, but the final issue of the Saskatchewan Bulletin in its current format has arrived. The December issue of the Bulletin will make way for a new, must-read quarterly publication for teachers and support staff across the province.
“The Bulletin has taken many forms in the years since the first STF newsletter in 1934, but there has been a constant focus on the successes and priorities of our members since the very beginning,“ says Patrick Maze, STF President. “I am really looking forward to seeing the new publication carry forward in the spirit and tradition that has been established by the Bulletin in the course of its long history.”
The Bulletin’s humble start began with the first publication in February 1934. The first issue was a four-page newsprint publication entitled A Message to Our Educators, which outlined the structure and aims of the newly formed Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. The new publication continued as the Monthly Bulletin of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation in the second issue before the name was eventually settled as Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Bulletin with issue #3.
This wasn’t the first time Saskatchewan teachers had received a newsletter. The first newsletter, called Mosaic at the whim of the Editor, was published by The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Alliance even before the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation was formed. Members of the Alliance attended the Canadian Education Press workshop in Ontario where they advanced the planning of the newsletter, thanks in part to John Clare, Managing Editor of the Toronto Star Weekly, who was a consultant at the workshop.
The enduring nature of STF’s Bulletin is highlighted by how much the world has changed since its launch. In 1935, average salaries ranged from $443 for a rural female teacher to $992 a year for male teachers. In 1937, Saskatchewan spent more on liquor than on teachers’ salaries.
In a 1938 issue of The Bulletin, Federation member Eugène Thomas submitted a column which boldly asserted, “It is strange but true that the majority of Saskatchewan teachers, namely the women teachers, apparently fail to realize their potential power. They fail to realize that with their help, active or passive, the education of this province would go further…than it is at the present moment.”
“The Bulletin has been a historical bellwether for education in Saskatchewan and a reliable source of information for members and sector partners,” said Bobbi Taillefer, STF Executive Director. “When something has impacted the sector and our members, people know they can turn here for consistent information, professional coverage and an adept analysis. As an organization, we take great pride in the excellent reputation of the Bulletin.”
As modern newspapers continued to develop, the December 1951 issue featured a full-colour illustrated cover. It was the first time a Canadian teachers’ journal had ever carried a full colour illustration on its cover. The Saskatchewan Bulletin – Journal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation continued with illustrations. In 1955, it celebrated Saskatchewan’s Golden Jubilee by featuring seven full colour reproductions of Canadian artists’ paintings of pivotal moments in Saskatchewan history on its cover. These Bulletin covers were from paintings made for the STF Golden Jubilee collection and include Dorothy Perehudoff’s (Knowles) Retreat of the Ice Age in 1400 B.C.; McGregor Hone’s Riel’s Peace Negotiations, 1884; Kenneth Lockhead’s Chief Piapot’s Defiance, 1882; Ernest Lindner’s The Founding of Prince Albert, 1866; Reta Cowley’s Royal Visit … Melville ... 1939; Arthur McKay’s Motherwell-Dayman Meeting, 1901, and Douglas Morton’s Votes for Women, 1916.
Big changes came to The Saskatchewan Bulletin in 1964. The Saskatchewan Bulletin: Journal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation was replaced with two new publications: a new Federation journal designed as “a popular professional magazine in a larger format,” which was planned to appear five times a year, as well as a new tabloid educational newspaper with 10 issues annually. The new journal was called Arbos: Journal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. Four years later, in 1968, the Saskatchewan Bulletin expanded its publication schedule to every two weeks.
“We have tried to pace the evolution of The Saskatchewan Bulletin in rhythm with the accelerated developments in education,” wrote Bulletin Editor Julius Friesen in a 1964 edition of the publication.
Another article from 1964 reported, “The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has reached the age of professional maturity. No longer is it struggling to establish itself as the voice of Saskatchewan teachers. No longer is it solely–or even primarily–concerned with improving the economic welfare of its members. The economic welfare of its members is still important, and the Federation is not abating its efforts in this regard. It is stressing, more and more, the professional development of teachers and improvement of the quality of education opportunities in Saskatchewan.”
Jens Neilsen was the STF staff writer and Editor of the Bulletin for over 20 years. “From the beginning, I wanted this to be a legitimate newspaper, so that meant presenting both sides,” Nielsen said. “So many people have told me over the years that when they visit ministry offices or school boards, there’s always a copy of the Bulletin on the desk. I think that gives it legitimacy, and that’s always what I wanted. I also wanted to give teachers the talking stick, especially those who had never been interviewed before.”
Every issue of the Bulletin is carefully preserved in Central Records at the STF office. “We believe the Bulletin is an amazing record of the STF and its members since the inception of the Federation.
The Bulletin is also a rich source of information on developments in the education sector,” said staff in Central Records. “We consult the Bulletin while conducting research and maintain past issues for the STF archives for reference and future generations.”
The words that long-time Editor Julius Friesen wrote in 1964 still ring true.
“While we review the history of the Saskatchewan Bulletin with nostalgia and appreciation, we look forward to our new publications with keen anticipating and the realization that, once again, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is in the vanguard of progress.
“I feel deep gratitude for Saskatchewan’s teaching community, past and present, for sharing their stories and engaging with this publication through the years,” said Maze. “We have been privileged to have had many gifted storytellers and individuals within these pages bringing the history and milestones of the STF to readers across the province.”
HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHT TIMELINE OF THE BULLETIN
1927: The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Alliance published The Saskatchewan Teacher before the inception of the STF.
1934: The first issue of STF’s newspaper is published. A total of nine issues were published in 1934. The first issue was entitled A Message to Our Educators and the second was entitled The Monthly Bulletin of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. For the third issue, the name evolved to The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Bulletin.
1936: In January, the first photograph appears in the publication and in December of that year, the first colour appeared in the publication on the issues’ Christmas-themed cover.
1941: The Monthly Bulletin of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is renamed The Bulletin – Organ of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and will be released six times a year.
1951: The newspaper features a full-colour, illustrated cover; a first for a Canadian teacher’s journal.
1955: The Saskatchewan Bulletin celebrates Saskatchewan’s Golden Jubilee year by featuring full colour reproductions of Canadian artists’ pivotal moments in Saskatchewan history.
1958: First full-colour photo appears on the cover as well as a photo of the Federation’s new home on Spadina Crescent in Saskatoon.
1964: The Saskatchewan Bulletin: Journal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is replaced by two new publications. Arbos: Journal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation would be published five times a year. The Saskatchewan Bulletin News Supplement was also introduced under the current publication schedule with new issues released each month except for July and August.
1968: The Saskatchewan Bulletin moves to being published every two weeks.
1970: Arbos: Journal of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is suspended after six years.
1974: Long-time Editor Julius Friesen resigns. Gary Genge, Audrey Kunkel and Claire Eamer make up the new editorial team.
1980: STF develops an advertising policy for The Saskatchewan Bulletin.
1983: The title changes to Saskatchewan Bulletin: The Teachers’ Publication. Connie Phenix Burrows is the editor along with assistant editors Audrey Jeanne Kunkel and Jane Bradley.
2000: After five years of a team of STF staff contributing stories for the newspaper, Jens Nielsen becomes sole Editor of the Saskatchewan Bulletin.
2013: The Saskatchewan Bulletin goes digital. The first online version, entitled the e-Bulletin, arrives in members’ inboxes.
2021: Long-time Editor Jens Nielsen retires in August 2021, and in December 2021 the final issue of the Saskatchewan Bulletin in the newspaper format is printed.