Interim Staff:

On July 18, LifeSiteNews held a gala dinner in Markham, Ont., to mark a quarter century of online pro-life journalism.

Growing from a small operation in 1997 – the actual 25th anniversary was last year and celebrated with a gala dinner in Naples, Florida – to a media organization with more than 75 employees and contractors, LSN has had nearly 32 million total pageviews and 82 million video impressions. Last year, LSN raised more than $5.6 million to cover operations.

LifeSiteNews columnist and pro-life activist Jonathan van Maren was the master of ceremonies.

Speakers included LSN Editor-in-Chief and co-founder John-Henry Westen, LSN president and co-founder Steve Jalsevac, Campaign Life Coalition president emeritus Jim Hughes, student activist Josh Alexander, and Medical Freedom Heroes Award recipients Dr. Mary O’Connor, Dr. Byram Bridle, and Dr. Mark Trozzi.

Westen and Jalevac both paid tribute to Hughes, who supported the project from the beginning. CLC covered the initial costs for LSN although Westen said that Hughes’ first impression of him was that Westen was a Planned Parenthood plant.

Westen recounted the humble beginnings in which an email was sent with short stories about life and family issues in Canada to becoming a global media outfit that routinely gets millions of views on exclusive stories. He chronologically detailed the stories that put LSN on the map, including breaking the stories of the Catholic Women’s League and Catholic bishops support of an international women’s march that endorsed abortion rights and exposing the pro-abortion groups that Development and Peace helped fund in the developing world.

Westen also described how they provide an online fundraising platform, LifeFunder, for other worthy causes related to life and faith.

Jalsevac opened his speech by noting that this is probably the “sanest crowd” most in the audience had been part of for a long time, before talking about the importance of LSN and how it connects the disparate threats to life, family, and faith.

Hughes told some stories about LSN and other pro-life personalities in the crowd, which had the audience laughing in their seats. Turning serious, he explained the importance of having a pro-life presence online.

The doctors spoke about their efforts to offer alternative views to the official narrative on Covid, from coerced vaccines and medical privacy to vaccine efficacy and lockdown measures.

Hughes told The Interim that it was wonderful mingling with staff because “everybody was gun-ho and positive and upbeat.” Hughes said “those in the room were the backbone of LSN and others like them across the country, they trusted us and with their donations they kept it going.”

The evening concluded with a taping of Faith & Reason with Westen, Fr. James Altman, and Liz Yore.