When Merv Unger dropped an off-colour joke on my desk one morning, I knew I’d found my home.
I was just 23, still a kid by some estimations, and living away from family and having moved from my first job up Island, it was a challenge to fit into a new community with quirks that I simply didn’t understand.
A fight with my (ex) boyfriend the night before and the stress from the new job piled on and I can only imagine the frown I wore that day. So Merv printed out an e-mail joke and left it for me, saying he thought I needed a smile.
People here went for drinks after work, they mountain biked together, and attended events together – it says something about a workplace that socializes after the day is done.
So many mornings started with Roy Linder’s booming voice, asking how you were. It wasn’t courtesy – he really wanted to know.
That care couldn’t help but extend to coverage in the community.
Community journalism is something unique to media and it’s also what’s insulated us from factors affecting print publications across Canada.
We’re hyper-local – we focus on the area from Nanoose to Cassidy and on stories that directly affect people who live in these parts.
We tell stories about the accomplishments of our neighbours, their problems and their fears, and offer constructive criticism, guidance and leadership on community issues.
We won awards for writing, photography and are consistently recognized nationally for our opinion section.
Kevin Laird set that standard from the first day I showed up on the job. He established a reputation for excellence at the Bulletin, with a focus on news, features and enterprise journalism – finding the story beyond the story.
He put people in place that held the same level of professionalism – John Kimantas, Catherine Litt, Mitch Wright – and by their example, I learned much more than I ever did in j-school.
That legacy led me to take the job of editor when it was offered – I didn’t want this chair falling into the hands of someone I didn’t know or trust with a paper that I loved.
It’s a huge responsibility that comes with daily challenges, but I have an incredible team dedicated to the same values as me. The quality of work under increasing time and deadline pressure that Rachel Stern, Chris Bush, Chris Hamlyn, Greg Sakaki, Jenn McGarrigle and Toby Gorman perform every day never ceases to amaze.
It’s a pleasure to come to work not knowing where the day will go. Someone might have to bungy jump for charity; you might have to interview someone famous; or Toby might pick your request for Friday Afternoon Song of the Day.
Over the years, there has been more laughter than tears; more compliments than complaints; and more good memories than bad.
And I wouldn’t change one minute of it.