I remember walking into a shop on Main Street my first weekend in town. I was here to get a feel for what Smithers was all about after I had said yes to a job as this paper’s editor.
I had only been a reporter at the even-smaller town paper the Kitimat Northern Sentinel so taking the spot as editor here was a daunting prospect.
I talked to the guy behind the counter and remarked that I hoped that, given my ‘freshness’ to the job, people would give me a fair shake and time to adjust. I suppose my fear was that this town was going to rip me apart in the early days.
In a calm, soothing voice the guy replied that no, the town wouldn’t.
That was the television moment where I took a comically large gulp before a break to commercial.
Well, it’s been 903 days since I published my introductory column in the paper (I used an online ‘date calculator’ to figure that out) and for the most part I think things worked out pretty well in the end. At least from what people are telling me.
I haven’t come out of this experience entirely bruise-free. I’ve been rightly, and sometimes not-so-rightly, chewed out for things that were in the paper by, um, some of our more passionate readers.
Really, though, that tells me people take intense pride in the paper, and want it to be the best and most accurate source for news. It’s a mandate that I’ve strived towards ever since arriving.
I’m confident that my replacement, Percy Hébert, will take this paper and make it even better. He’s a finalist for two Ma Murray newspaper awards this year, it should be noted, an indication of the quality of work you can expect from him.
I’ll let him fill you in on what he’s all about next week. March 7 will be his first issue of The Interior News, incidentally the last day that I’ll be a resident of the Town of Smithers. From myself, I wish him a great 903 days and more as editor of the paper.
A big thanks needs to go to everyone in the Bulkley Valley who have supported me, pushed me to be better, and who have sent in letters over the years. It’s been a wild ride.
Of course thanks to my Interior News co-workers who guided me along in my early days and who continue to be a rock solid newspaper team.
I will certainly miss this town, I’ll miss the Bulkley Valley as a whole, and I’ll miss seeing a constant stream of my eye-rolling puns in this paper’s headlines. I’ve had fun being here, and I hope you’ve had fun having me.
Okay, you asked for it. Three of some of my best puns:
Work to take place on the double double – Article on Tim Hortons’ renovations.
Rotary dials — a photo from the Rotary Club’s telephone auction.
Nothing to grouse at —photo for the Rod and Gun Club’s annual game dinner, which included grouse.
Cameron Orr (was) the editor of The Interior News.