The Inked-Stained Wretches is a grassroots volunteer advocacy group dedicated to appreciating the quality of public service Journalism in Canada. The film festival ran from the first Tuesday of March through June at the Apollo Cinema in downtown Kitchener. 

The Journalism Film Festival is an opportunity for like-minded people to celebrate the contribution that quality journalism makes to people’s lives. Inked-stained wretches partnered with Words Worth Books, CTV Kitchener, Waterloo Region Record and CityNews to produce each viewing.  

“We urged the federal government to sustain journalism because it is central to a healthy democracy,” Mirko Petricevic, chief “ink-stigator” said.  

Petricevic introduced The Network before the film started. He worked as a reporter, photographer and copy editor at the Waterloo Region Record from 1986-2014. He and his cohorts want the people of Waterloo region to support their local newspapers.  

“Journalism at it’s best is a public service,” Steve Paikin, The Agenda anchor said in his pre-recorded opening remarks.  

The festival featured Writing with Fire, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, All the President’s Men and finished off with the classic film Network. Each film was meant to highlight the importance of journalism in a health democracy.  

Inked-Stained Wretches is clear- eyed on how journalism will always evolve and continue to do so. They want to ensure the evolution is a positive one. 

The group was founded in early 2020 by a group of former Waterloo Region Record newsroom staffers. Ink-Stained Wretches was created out of frustration in watching the decline of journalism in recent years.  

“Now more than ever, local journalism is under attack,” Mike Morrice, Green Party MP said in his filmed opening remarks before the film started.  

All members of Ink-Stained Wretches want to effect positive change in the world of journalism.  

The advocacy group is composed of journalists, graphic artists and copy editors. They call on colleagues in the news business for all mediums including newspapers, broadcast or online news outlets to participate in keeping local journalism alive.  

“My hope is that you take that anger and channel it into advocacy,” Morrice said.  

As of 2022 the Ink-Stained Wretches partnered with World Press Freedom Canada, and journalism students at the College of the North Atlantic and Western University. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO is also involved to help promote “the freedom of expression to advance an inclusive, just and peaceful society.”  

There are many ways to support local journalism. These include telling local business owners, managers and front-line staff that you heard of their business through local news media, publicly thanking local advertisers over social media and following ink-stainedwretches.org on Twitter. Encourage local civic leaders such as ward councillors, mayors, regional councillors through social media or direct emails to support local journalism.