Edmonton's Multimedia Federal Election Results 1926 Style

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Edmonton's Multimedia Federal Election Results 1926 Style

Postby jon » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:33 am

Sept. 15, 1926: Journal a multimedia dynamo at disseminating election news
By Chris Zdeb, Edmonton Journal
September 15, 2013 7:47 AM

When municipal election night rolls around Monday, Oct. 21, you’ll be able to get up-to-the-minute Journal results from various multimedia sources: our website, our Facebook page, writers’ blogs and tweets. But even 87 years ago, innovative ways were pioneered for getting the word out when voters went to the polls federally.

Thousands of people received a continuous stream of information by calling the Journal telephone operator. Both the main number and a special election results line were clogged with calls throughout the later afternoon and night.

Practically every Journal employee was on duty throughout the evening, The paper also had a boy stationed at every Edmonton polling booth to phone in results as soon as each deputy returning officer completed his vote count.

Stereopticon slides projected on a daylight screen in front of the Journal building gave a progressive summary of results in ridings throughout the dominion. Timely political cartoons by “Peke” were an added feature.

(The stereopticon was a slide projector or “magic lantern” with two lenses, usually one above the other, which were used to dissolve between images when projected. It dates back to the mid-19th century, and was a popular form of entertainment and education before motion pictures.)

Radio summaries were broadcast every hour from CJCA, Alberta’s first radio station, which was originally owned and operated by the Journal. (The station currently operates at 930 AM as AM930 The Light.)

Edmonton had only two federal ridings back then and as soon as the results looked reasonably definite, the four local candidates gave respective speeches to listeners.

Despite the lousy weather — cold, snow and slush — a large crowd gathered around the Journal building to receive the returns. A Brunswick Panatrope machine, playing popular records, provided entertainment.

The regular afternoon edition of the newspaper was followed by two extras providing early returns form the eastern provinces.

In the evening, three pink editions were issued, each giving up-to-the-minute returns from across the dominion.

By 8 p.m., people knew that Liberal Charles Stewart, Alberta’s third premier from 1917 to 1921, had been elected in West Edmonton and that Liberal Kenneth Blatchford, Edmonton’s mayor from 1924 to 1926, had topped the polls in East Edmonton.

Liberal William Lyon Mackenzie King was elected prime minister, defeating former Conservative Prime Minister Arthur Meighen.

To read more stories from the series This Day in Journal History, go to edmontonjournal.com/history
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