Michaels: Turning a page and keeping it real

Kathy Michaels is the new managing editor of the Capital News

Facebook has an awkward way of keeping it real.

There’s no shining up the sulky messages from my disgruntled early 30s that are now being re-distributed to me on a daily basis. Nor is there a word that expresses how thankful I am that I’m too old to be held accountable for the thoughts of my teens and 20s.

This week, one of the memories the social media monster directed me to was from eight years ago and read “time to circle the wagons, friends” because my days in reporting were over.

A plucky little news website I worked for died a sudden death, making me unemployed for the third time in two years. It was a tough time to be a junior reporter in an industry being shaken by the interweb and I thought, perhaps, it was time to call it a day.

It felt like being knocked down by a ton of bricks, if I recall correctly — I’m sure Facebook “memories” will help beef up what my grey matter has let go, in the days to come.

For one, I spent a lot of money getting a degree and was very disappointed to learn there was no refund policy.

Also, this industry — next to my child, husband, dog — is my great love.

Stories, ultimately, are my jam. Before I had a print product to help fill, I was telling people the news. My news, mind you. And it was gloriously overblown to make me seem all the more amazing.

Thankfully, I was hired on at the Capital News within days of this old Facebook post and I got to keep telling stories, in print.

Working here taught me a few things about telling stories. One has to tone down the hyperbole and do the reader a favour. Give them the facts, ma’am — the world is mind bending enough without giving in to sensational slants. Also, it’s completely cliche and true, everybody has a story to tell and it’s almost always surprising.

That’s not to say it’s all been roses. There has been a healthy dose of angry mail and phone calls also keeping it real over the years. Once I had a business owner tell me, without realizing who he was speaking to, that there was a real beast at the Capital News, saying hateful things about the elderly and disparaging her mother.

I couldn’t figure out who it was until he quoted me to me. I’ll be honest, having my words twisted and being misunderstood was slightly less painful after realizing I was being quoted— #reportergoals. Also, my mother was grateful someone was there to keep me on my toes, so I owed thanks for that.

While I haven’t always realized it as it was happening, there’s cause to be grateful for all of these experiences.

Now, however, it’s time to take on a new challenge. In the same building, mind you — you’re not getting rid of me that easily, my favourite detractors.

It’s time for me to step into the Kelowna Capital News managing editor’s chair —the first woman to do so, by the way — and I couldn’t be more thrilled. There will be less time for my own stories, and more time to get a refreshed team of reporters motivated to come up with new ideas and fresh views on the issues of the day. Isn’t that sensational?

In the days and weeks to come you will see the Capital News infused with new energy. We’re turning a page, so to speak and we can’t wait to hear what you think.

So, pick us up. Click on us. Find us on Facebook and help us keep it real.

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