Longevity with newspaper boils down to sense of loyalty

NANAIMO - New publication took a chance on new writer

For someone who spent the first 13 years out of college driving a truck and working in a warehouse, I’m a little surprised to be approaching my 20th year as a journalist with the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Don’t get me wrong, trucks and warehouses were good careers and gave me a foothold on the road of life. But this was the late 1980s and early 1990s, and work was never stable.

It was, in fact, those seasonal layoffs that led me to re-schooling and a chance to join the Bulletin’s team.

Former publisher Roy Linder took a chance on me. I enjoyed photography and remembered enough of my English studies to phrase a sentence or two, but that was about it. My only experience with newspapers was reading the Bulletin the first five years it came out before joining in August 1993. I don’t think green would describe how much of a rookie I was.

But Roy – who made it clear the money wasn’t too good (even though the raises came) – stuck with me and under the guidance of editors David Holmes, Rollie Rose, Kevin Laird, Mitch Wright and now Melissa Fryer, I have made a career of it.

I’m happy to say I’ve won a few awards, got a chance to spend a day on a Canadian submarine and two navy surface vessels, covered Nanaimo army cadets training at Fort Lewis in Washington state and bungy jumped in the cold of February (not naked) thanks to the job.

I’ve met some great people covering sports, police, and city hall, and my skin is certainly thicker from writing articles or opinion pieces others have disagreed with and haven’t hesitated to let me know.

But if there is one thing working for the News Bulletin has reinforced within my belief in life, it’s loyalty.

The Bulletin took a chance on me when a degree in journalism was the prerequisite for a job. I drove a truck but had a camera.

Job offers came from other publications over the years, but I’ve had a sense of loyalty that wouldn’t allow me to entertain them. Besides, it’s been fun.

The people I’ve worked with for the last 20 years have become more than bosses and co-workers, they’re my friends.

You can’t beat that.

Chris Hamlyn

Assistant Editor

Nanaimo News Bulletin