Times publisher Inducted into industry Hall of Fame

Press Release

The Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA) has announced its first inductee into its Hall of Fame – Fort Frances Times’ own Jim Cumming.

Jim was born with ink flowing through his veins. His father, grandfather, grandmother and several aunts and uncles all worked in the newspaper industry, from Ontario through to Saskatchewan.

Sure enough, Jim followed in the footsteps of his relatives and began working as a newspaper carrier for the Fort Frances Times, which his family owned and operated. He took a break to pursue a University Degree in Chemistry, but when he was unable to find a job in that field, Jim returned to the newspaper. He was hired as a salesperson and reporter, on the condition that he could sell enough additional and new advertising to pay his salary. As you can probably guess – he did.

In the 1980s, Jim and his siblings, Don and Linda, purchased the Rainy River Record. Together, they transitioned it to desktop publishing, buying some of the first MAC computers for production. They always believed keeping up with technology was important.

In fact, shortly after Jim took on the role of Publisher of the Fort Frances Times in 1995, his first major task involved launching the newspaper’s website. The first online archives date back to 1997, when most people were not even connecting online.

“Jim, at the helm of the Fort Frances Times since 1995, is everything a publisher should be: he is a person with vision, dedicated to and knowledgeable about the newspaper business, and engaged with his community,” said Abbas Homayed, Vice President and Publisher of Sudbury Northern Life.
Not long after, Jim became a director of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association board and climbed the ranks to President. He was instrumental in the creation of the ComBase readership program and pushed to broaden the OCNA’s membership criteria, to recognize multicultural and geographical communities.

Following his leadership role on the provincial board, he served as President for the national board, the Canadian Community Newspapers Association (now known as News Media Canada).

In 1997 Jim received the Community Award in Memory of Mary Knowles in recognition of his work on town council, and for being a scout leader, a Jaycee president, and chair of the region’s Tomorrow Strategic Planning Committee.

Jim and his publications have hired some 40 student reporters over the years, helping young journalists get their foot in the door, and ensuring the newspaper industry remains a career option for younger generations.

While he officially retired from the Fort Frances Times on October 3, 2019, Jim continues to write a column and helps with deliveries across the district when needed.

Which is why the Ontario Community Newspapers Association is thrilled to announce Jim Cumming as an inductee of the OCNA Hall of Fame.

The OCNA Hall of Fame Award recognizes and celebrates individuals who have made exemplary contributions to Ontario’s community newspapers. Inductees are respected community news professionals who have remained passionate about the industry throughout challenges, opportunities and changes. They are leaders who have helped community newspapers adapt and grow.

The OCNA is a non-profit industry association comprising roughly 240 member newspapers located throughout the province.