Monday, May 06, 2013

Forty years and Briarpatch still scraping by,
still scrapping

There's a certain "inside baseball" feel to many reflections by magazines as they reach significant marquee anniversaries. However, the feisty, lefty, scrappy Briarpatch has put together an interesting package of recollection in its May/June issue to mark the occasion. 

It recalls its struggles for funding -- its endless struggles for funding -- and how it has wrestled with whether it should be a Saskatchewan magazine with a national following or a national magazine with a Saskatchewan core. The issues it has confronted are a potent reflection of the changes that have taken place over the past four decades in Saskatchewan and in this country.

"Reflections on forty years of scraping by and thriving" appears in the May/June issue and it reflects the magazine's other tagline "Fiercely independent". 

The magazine,which grew from a four-page newsletter put out by a welfare rights group in 1971, has had more than its share of problems with government, losing funding and charitable status in an effort to punish, or silence, it.  
"There are two schools of thought," says longtime contributor and activist Clare Powell. "One is that government should be neutral and provide funds for magazines. The other is that if you’re reliant on government for funding, chances are that you’ll back off from criticism, which we never did, and we paid the price."



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