Time for a dramatic change in direction on this journey of mine

It’s been a great journey, but now, I feel, is the right time to change paths.

It’s been a great journey, but now, I feel, is the right time to change paths. And change paths towards a completely different direction.

After more than 40 years associated with the newspaper and printing industries, I’ve accepted a position with a locally based company, Formation Fluids, to get into the oil and gas industry.

I have been with Sylvan Lake News for 11 years and during that time I’ve met many fantastic people, reported on a lot of joy — some sadness — and provided my sometimes controversial opinions on a variety of topics.

Involvement in the community has brought an added dimension to my tenure in Sylvan Lake, whether it be with the Rotary Club, Legion or shorter term commitments like the Kraft Hockeyville campaign, Spirit of Sylvan Yuletide Festival and Market, Friends of Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and Rotary lighthouse project. I’ve probably missed one or two other activities, but suffice to say I’ve enjoyed being part of organizations which are contributing to the community’s growth and quality of life.

At this point I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has assisted in my time at Sylvan Lake News — particularly those who contributed their articles and letters and those who phoned with story ideas.

I’ve always worked with the philosophy that a community newspaper should mirror what’s happening in the area it serves. While we haven’t been able to accomplish that totally, we’ve certainly made great strides every week to do what’s humanly possible. And the added help has assisted greatly.

Young people have held a special spot in my goal of producing a quality newspaper. I’ve certainly appreciated the support of all schools in Sylvan Lake and vicinity who have invited us into their facilities, have made sure we’re aware of events and have contributed their own pictures and stories.

As I look back over a career that has included work in more than 10 different Western Canadian communities and several others in Eastern Canada, there are many memories I cherish of accomplishments and of the people I’ve worked with in various roles.

I also remember well many, many hours growing up in a family where my father, grandfather and uncle operated newspapers in southern Ontario. As such, I started by sweeping, cleaning equipment, inserting newspapers and delivering them. At a young age I was attracted to newspaper photography and by the time I got my driver’s licence was heading out to various assignments, whether fire calls or sports events.

My retirement from the industry will bring to a close my part in a history which began about the start of the last century. One of my brothers continues to work in the industry, lengthening our family’s involvement. And there’s interest about a career in journalism from one of my granddaughters.

As I reflect, there have been many more positives than negatives during my career — obviously the reason for my longevity in such a deadline-driven and sometimes stressful job. Top among the positive experiences, besides the people, has been the opportunity to portray such a varied series of subjects. There’s never a day that is the same as the last. That also results in an independence which I’ve grown to love.

I’ve seen many changes from type set letter by letter through Linotype machines that created words in lines of lead and then to computers — punch tape to optical character recognition to the current variety where pages are created and transferred to the printer over the internet.

Changes in technology have eliminated the need for those many hours I spent in a darkroom developing film and making prints. It’s led to more time in front of computer screens and reduced the number of employees at newspapers across the country.

Yet the same heart goes into the newspapers as is reflected through editions many years ago. In many different newspapers I’ve had a chance to appreciate the wealth of information contained in archival editions. It’s sparked a lifelong interest in the history of communities I’ve served, something I will no doubt pursue further in the future.

While I’ve enjoyed my years of dedication to my craft, there are some things I’ll enjoy more now that I’ve made this change. Weekends without schedules, evenings without lengthy meetings and the lack of pressure necessary to meet weekly deadlines. I’ll have time to pursue some of the hobbies that have been left dormant for far too long.

Farewell and thanks again for your part in my journey.

(Tomorrow, August 22, 2014 is my last day in the office at Sylvan Lake News.)


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