Parnell: So long journalism, it’s been a great ride

Long time Capital News staffer Kevin Parnell calls it a career

I remember the first day I walked into the Capital News back in 2003, fresh off a couple hard months on my friends’ deck, drinking hot coffee in the morning sun and cold beers at night. I had arrived in Kelowna midway through a 24-year journalism career, jobless for the time being.

I was hot off a promotion/demotion with the Kelowna Heat, the short-lived Canadian Baseball League (CBL) team, where I had been selling souvenirs and eating peanuts while I looked for work. On a Monday in mid-season, the Heat promoted me to media relations director (thanks Kevin Jeffries!). I had made a big jump, I told the parents.

That was Monday. On Wednesday the entire CBL folded; an experiment in Canadian pro baseball gone wrong.

But funny how things work. In the span of those two days I called every media outlet in the city, asking them what they needed. I was back drinking coffee on the friends’ deck (thanks for putting me up Dean and Kim!) when the phone rang. The Capital News was trying to track me down (thanks Warren!). Would I want to cover some holiday relief? Yes, sir I would, and I was off to cover summer relief in the newsroom.

And that’s the morning I remember. Walking into the newsroom’s story meeting, hungover, I was safe in the knowledge that as the summer relief guy, I‘d be covering tiddly-winks and that wouldn’t be a problem.

But managing editor Barry Gerding had different thoughts and sent me down to meet the army, which had moved into town to help fight the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire.

From that day forward the Capital News became like family. Summer relief turned into part-time work by the fall and the next spring a full time offer, as the paper was hiring and expanding.

I covered virtually every beat: Sports, business, education, supplements, Lake Country, whatever needed to get done, we did it. It was a great ride, with amazing people at my side the whole way. Sixteen months ago I was lucky enough to be promoted to managing editor (thank-you Karen!). But this week, my journey with the Capital News is over.

After 24-years in journalism, beginning in Smithers, then Quesnel and now Kelowna, I’ve accepted a position with Interior Health to move on to a different phase of my career.

In the end it’s the people that I will remember. I came to love those people sitting at that table in the newsroom as we fought the good fight, standing up against power and representing the little guy.

Some left, and others joined the family, but we always had one thing in our mind: People. How does the news affect people? There’s more to the story than just meets the eye. We went deeper and beyond the headlines and I am proud of the work that we did and are still trying to do, in this new era for journalism.

It was always about people. Thank-you to my colleagues for so many laughs and good times. Thank-you to my real family and my other family, the Kelowna Rockets. Thank-you to those that I worked with in the community. It was an honour and a privilege to represent and support you.

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