I wrote my first good-bye column eight years ago.
It was penned at the conclusion of my two-week practicum placement with a weekly newspaper in my hometown, Taber, AB.
Looking back, it was almost vain to think I had earned 500 words of opinion real estate with only two weeks of experience under my belt.
The conversation with my editor at the time went something like this:
“Is there any chance I can write a farewell column? You know, a look back at my days here at the Taber Times.”
“Umm, you mean the last two weeks?”
“Yeah, I’d really like to share how this experience has shaped me.”
When I strutted back to my desk, eyes must have rolled.
Now, nearly a decade later, I’m writing my second farewell column. I’ve accepted a new challenge with a different company, outside the media industry, here in Kelowna.
Although I’ve been at Capital News for years—three—instead of days, I still feel a bit sheepish about bidding readers adieu when some of my co-workers have been here decades longer than I have.
But I’ll use these few hundred words to say I’ve had a hell of a time over the past three years.
This job took me to concerts, movie sets and Disneyland.
I interviewed Barenaked Ladies (Ed Robertson) and I interviewed bare naked ladies (ZipZone Peachland’s Naked Zip event).
I spoke to people who watched their homes go up in flames. I chatted with a family who was given a home, through Habitat for Humanity.
I even broke the news West Kelowna was considering banning ice cream trucks from playing their nostalgic tinny music while driving through the district.
But what impacted me most over the past three years was the day-to-day interactions with those in our talented newsroom.
“There’s a lot of pride here,” my editor, Barry Gerding, told me the day I interviewed to be a reporter at Capital News.
“We try to offer some depth. I think people appreciate that.”
The days when I merely went through the motions, pumping out a 250-word story with only one source, it wouldn’t go unnoticed. My cubicle neighbours would push me to do better. They’d help out by e-mailing me the link to a previous story they’d written on the subject, or send me the phone number of someone I should talk to.
During my three years, there were times friends my age asked why I continued to work for a newspaper when so many other 20-something journalists were working online.
My answer always referenced the pride, ethics and intelligence of the Capital News editorial department.
Though I’m stepping away from reporting, I’ll continue to turn to this newspaper and its website, kelownacapnews.com, for coverage that goes beyond low-hanging fruit.