The author of this blog, Joe Banks, has been an award-winning Ontario rural and suburban community newspaper journalist, editor, publisher, general manager for more than 30 years, and has been with Algonquin College as a full-time professor and coordinator of the journalism program since 2000. Banks began his newspaper career in May 1978 when, after graduating from Durham College’s journalism program, landed a job as a reporter/photographer at the Haliburton (Ont.) County Echo. Banks has worked since then as a reporter, photographer, managing editor, publisher and general manager for small town and suburban community newspapers in Fort Erie (Times-Review), Peterborough (Review), Arnprior (Chronicle), Almonte (Gazette), Glengarry County (News). Up until August 2000, he was publisher/managing editor of the Morris family community newspapers group in the rural and suburban south Ottawa communities of Manotick and Barrhaven.
Between 1989 and 1995, Banks was a member of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) Board of Directors and served as the organization’s second vice president in 1993 and 1994. In the course of his career, he has been recognized with several awards for his work as a community journalist, including as a three-time winner of the Bell Canada Award for column writing, the Ontario Ministry of Environment Environmental Writing Award, and the Ontario Hydro Feature Writing Award. In addition, the newspapers he managed have won record numbers of awards in their class for journalism, design, photography and commentary. In March 2000, Banks’ career in the community newspaper industry was capped when he was named by OCNA as one of 50 industry individuals who has made a major contribution to Ontario’s community newspaper industry since OCNA’s founding in 1950.
He started the first newspaper website in rural Ontario in 1995 for the community weekly he was then publishing, The Glengarry News.
In 2005, he self-published ‘The Osgoode Village Story’, a local history book which has sold 1,400 copies and counting, with all revenues donated to the local community association.
In addition to his teaching duties at Algonquin, Banks writes an occasional column for the daily Ottawa Citizen, with heavy focus on rural perspectives. He is past president of the Osgoode Village Community Association and is an active volunteer member of the Osgoode Ward Advisory Council. He makes his home in the rural Ottawa village of Osgoode.