Offer of part-time job leads to special time

NANAIMO - First editor Merv Unger remembers his tenure at the helm of the News Bulletin

It’s almost like some fantasy. Can it be 25 years already – a quarter of a century that the News Bulletin has been landing on local doorsteps with regularity?

I remember the day Roy Linder contacted me with the offer of an editor’s job for a new newspaper he was starting in Nanaimo. He said it would be a part-time position, but if things worked out it could build into a full-time job.

Thus the News Bulletin’s news department was born, complete with my old Underwood typewriter, operating from a room in my home basement.

After a while I got a computer – an old clunker that operated on 12-inch floppy disks.

Those disks went to the printing plant in Ladysmith where the pages of the News Bulletin were assembled for the little 16-page baby we hoped would grow into something big. At that time I never imagined it could grow into a monster of up to 100 pages, three times a week.

The beginnings were humble – I wrote a column and looked around to stir the pot, to create controversy, hoping readers would respond.

And they did.

In fact, one MLA went to a senior manager at Black Press insisting that I be fired. The answer was quick – “he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to.”

To give balance to the editorial content I invited Jamie Brennan to write a weekly column and also printed a Member of Parliament report from Dave Stupich.

Basically after that the pages were filled with pre-written material like home improvements and so on. Little holes were filled with household hints which proved very popular with readers.

As our news coverage expanded we began using freelance writers and part-timers. We also introduced summer students to the world of journalism, some of whom moved on to bigger and better things.

I moved on after a while, to other publishing endeavors, city council and then community service.

But, the Bulletin will always be my baby.

Merv Unger

first editor

Nanaimo News Bulletin

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