Breaking the Taboo
Sault Ste. Marie
Episode 5: The Promise and Peril of Small Town Journalism

Episode 5: The Promise and Peril of Small Town Journalism

An Interview with Steffanie Petroni, Founding Editor of Northern Hoot

This is episode five of Sault Ste. Marie, a podcast series focused on current affairs in Sault Ste. Marie.

In this instalment, I speak with Steffanie Petroni, the Founding Editor of Northern Hoot.

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Steffanie made an appearance in a recent story for Sault This Week (about two high-profile lawsuits quietly coming to an end).

Northern Hoot operated roughly from 2014 to 2017 and was known for doing local journalism a bit differently, often wading into uncomfortable territory with in-depth storytelling.

Steffanie starts by explaining her entry into the world of local journalism, and what motivated her to start Northern Hoot.

She then explains some of the Northern Hoot stories that stand out in hindsight, and the importance of principled journalists in a small town.

We spend some time getting the backstory of how she stumbled across the issue of Timothy Mitchell’s controversial arrest by Sault police in 2016. As you may already know, her reporting attracted a $1.5 million lawsuit from a dozen Sault police officers.

That lawsuit was unsuccessful, but her experience highlights some of the challenges journalists face in a small town if they want to pursue risky stories. Her experience also leads her to ask a good question: “What else is being suppressed in the community?”

We end with Steffanie reflecting upon some of the lessons learned during her time with Northern Hoot.

Thanks for listening, and please stay tuned.

Breaking the Taboo
Sault Ste. Marie
Welcome to Sault Ste. Marie, a monthly podcast covering current affairs in Sault Ste. Marie, ON and hosted by Dax D'Orazio. Connecting with a wide range of academic experts and local newsmakers, it delves into some of the most important social and political issues of the day. Part of the 'Breaking the Taboo' newsletter on Substack (