Change. It’s pretty much a constant in the media business. (I can’t even say in the newspaper business anymore because with the advent of digital news, we are so much more now than ink on pages.) And with change comes growth and opportunities.
So, after nearly 22 years working for Black Press, another opportunity has presented itself and I feel it is time to try something new. I have accepted a communications position with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, and will be moving from journalism to the ‘other side of the tracks’ to take on a new and exciting challenge. It has been a decision I have had to think long and hard about, as this newspaper has been like another child in my life – one that I have nurtured for so many years.
There are so many things I have loved about being a reporter and editor for the Observer, Market News and Eagle Valley News, but the most constant thing has been the people. I have worked with some amazing journalists, starting with the venerable Gord Priestman, who gave me my first shot in the business and marked up my copy with his bold handwriting as he sat behind his paper-covered desk and looked over the top of his glasses at me (somehow with both frustration and fondness) in the run up to deadline. Hard to believe that when I started those years ago, we still cut and pasted the paper together on actual hard-copy pages. There was Heather Persson, the first female editor of the paper, who taught me so much about knowing your own worth, taking a position and sticking to it and never letting the nay-sayers get the best of you.
My team has also been full of exceptional individuals, some of whom I’m proud to have hired, spotting their talents and seeing them grow. There’s really been too many to mention and frankly, I don’t want to miss anyone in my haste.
To my current newsroom team, Martha Wickett, Lachlan Labere, Jim Elliot and Jodi Brak, my hat is off to you for your dedication and willingness to go the extra mile in keeping this community informed.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to all the people who have agreed to share their stories – their life-defining moments with me. It truly is a privilege to have been the person who got to convey the sports victory or the new album or the writing prize to everyone in town. It was also a privilege to be able to express to this community those moments in life that are on the flip side – to hold a grieving mother’s hand as she spoke of her son just killed in a car crash, to try and get the message out about a missing teen, to see the resilience of people who had just lost their homes to fire. The fact that people trusted me enough to share those things – it was never something I took lightly.
I’ve also been gifted with the chance to have done many unique and interesting things. I’ve driven a Zamboni, been dragged behind a horse and helped the police burn seized marijuana (in a safe and non-inhaling manner.) I’ve climbed over derailed train cars and witnessed this community’s biggest fire jump from the Fly Hills over to Mt. Ida.
Now the time has come to nurture something new in my life and in my community. I’m excited for what lies ahead but also proud of the legacy I’m leaving behind. And I will look forward to picking up the paper, or turning to my computer or my phone, and continuing to find out everything I need to know.