I reached a personal milestone recently. One that actually surprised the “you know what” out of me as I had no idea how long I have been a part of this newspaper until Black Press congratulated me on 25 years with the North Thompson Star/Journal.
It truly was a jaw dropping moment when our publisher, Martina Dopf, stopped in at the newspaper office to present me with cards of congratulation, a bouquet of flowers, lunch, congratulations from those further up the ladder and a Black Press watch to mark the occasion.
Where did all that time go?
Seems like only a few years ago that I was head of the newspaper’s mailroom. Our mailroom ran out of the basement of the old forestry building on Borthwick where the Yellowhead Star resided before it became the Star/Journal. Tim Francis was owner and publisher at that time, and when I applied for the job I remember him clearly saying to me that he was looking for someone long term for the position – who could’ve guessed where that would lead.
Tim sold the newspaper 25 years ago to the company known today as Black Press, and we continued to be “The first word in the Valley” for our readers.
At some point in time the gal in reception moved on, and when that happened I moved to full time with the newspaper by taking over the reception position. I still ran the Sunday mailroom, but I did love getting out of the basement.
I especially loved the opportunity to learn how a newspaper is built from scratch every week, and I’m pretty sure this was the beginning of my journalism career.
In later years I moved into the advertising and production department. What a fun place to work when it came to letting your creative juices flow in ad design and promotional materials. It was also a gigantic leap into the world of computer programs, and of course the internet and digital photography were also improving.
I moved into a corner of the editorial department when I began paginating pages for our editor Ann Piper. For many years most of this was done by physical cut and paste methods, but thank goodness computers came along and they now do the job for you.
During this time I started doing some reporting and photography for the Star/Journal as well, and I even did a stint as the editorial cartoonist for about a year.
In 2004 Ann Piper retired and I moved into the editor’s chair. What a ride that has been and continues to be to this day.
Being an editor means you find the stories, take the pictures, inform your readers and embrace the pulse of your community. Together we have been through good times and bad. We have laughed together and cried together. We have fundraised, protested and made our voices heard at the right time and in the right place to help our community grow, prosper and continue to be a “great place to live and raise a family.”
We have weathered floods, ice storms and wildfires. In fact, during the McLure Wildfire in 2003, the only living being left on duty at the Star/Journal when Barriere was evacuated was my budgie! Yep, my budgie.
It was actually 24 hours before we could get back in, but there was the newspaper building and there was the bird cage in the basement on the table — and the budgie was just fine!
That’s something like the Star/Journal, it will always be here — and it’s just fine as well.
Thanks for listening and being constant readers, hopefully I can continue to inform, entertain and be your voice for a few more years yet.
District of Barriere