The Exchange District in downtown Winnipeg Manitoba is a great place for restaurants, art studios and out-of-the-box kind of businesses. There’s a great park where live music and other performances always fill the air – and the park has free wifi.
So we’re walking along and we see a sign that draws me like Yogi Bear to a picnic basket…
Random Acts of Journalism. Daily. Live.
How cool is that! It’s a restaurant operated by the Winnipeg Free Press.
Now, historically every city has a bar or restaurant where reporters and editors gather to digest their day, wash it all down with some adult beverage and revel in the relevance of their work. In the old black and white movies, it is a men-only kind of place dark and smoky and filled with intrigue.
But that’s not at all what the Winnipeg Free Press Cafe is. It’s bright and airy with nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. The menu is filled with healthy, locally-sourced food and sorry, smoking is not allowed here. And by golly, there’s a woman behind the news desk.
Sure, reporters can be found hanging out here, working on their deadlines and feeding off the vibe of this part of the city. There’s an elevated platform in one alcove with a control board not unlike some radio and television stations I’ve worked in over the years. There are microphones and cameras and computer screens.
What’s Happening in Winnipeg
Politicians stop by for live interviews via the newspaper’s website, as do sports figures and entertainers and anybody with anything going on in much of Manitoba. The cafe is the site of book and poetry readings, music and small one-act plays.
If you have an opinion you would like to share, or you just want to be in touch with news as it happens, this is a place to come. But be careful. There’s always a good chance you’ll end up on camera here, showing off you mug to the world. It’s not big brother watching, but it is all of Winnipeg watching to stay informed and up-to-date about what’s going on in their city, their province and their country – their lives.
That’s what journalism does for us – and it’s practiced here every day. Live. #loveit.