It’s all I ever thought I’d be when I first walked through the doors here at the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
I was a 24-year-old back then. I’d just arrived from southern Ontario after agreeing to work as this paper’s arts reporter on a three-month contract.
On paper, it was just a temporary job and nothing more. In my mind, it was an opportunity, a chance to cut my teeth in a newsroom and prove to myself that I could handle the work even if it meant being let go anyway.
Six years and hundreds of articles later, I’m still with the News Bulletin, but not for much longer.
This is my last week with the newspaper that has given me so much. I’ve decided to take the next step in my career and will be starting a new role with CHEK News in Victoria later this month.
In these past six years, I’ve gone from being an arts reporter to arts editor to a general reporter responsible for covering some of the biggest news stories in our community.
Stories like the refugee effort, dysfunction at city hall, Discontent City, the federal ministers’ cabinet retreat and so much more.
I’ve been fortunate enough to share incredible stories like that of the Al Mansour family of Syrian refugees, interview celebrities I grew up seeing on television like Steve Martin and write about issues that matter to the community.
Not bad for someone who was hired on a temporary basis.
I wasn’t always perfect at my job. I made mistakes along the way, but I did my best to build relationships and hold people accountable, all while being fair and objective.
When I arrived in Nanaimo, I had no connection to it nor did I know anything about it. I’d really only ever passed through it, but I do remember as a kid asking my parents why never went to Nanaimo when we were lining up for the ferry. But after six years of living here, Nanaimo has become my home and a place that I will never forget.
This is the city where I spent the majority of my 20s. It’s where I got my very first apartment, made lifelong friends, learned to appreciate nature, created lasting memories, discovered more about myself as a person than anywhere else in the world and where my wife (Jannelle) and I began our married life together.
From walking along the waterfront after work or hanging out at Barney Moriez Park during our lunch break to geocaching through the city’s many parks, exploring Newcastle and Protection islands, tubing down the Nanaimo River, biking around town, playing board games at the local café, watching hockey games and admiring the surrounding beauty, Jannelle and I have loved it here.
Change, for the most part, is a good thing but it’s not easy and my decision to leave Nanaimo and the News Bulletin was one of the hardest I’ve had to make. However, it is time to begin a new chapter in life which means saying goodbye to this city and my amazing colleagues here at the paper.
It has truly been a privilege and an honour to live in Nanaimo and work for the News Bulletin.
I will never forget it.
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