It's that time again, Cochrane. Time for another Eagle to spread her wings and take flight.
I am failing to find the craftiest of words or punchiest of analogies to sum up a decade of covering this community, from my beginnings as a weekly music columnist to a wheelhouse of all things editorial (lucky for you, I left the sports reporting to my co-workers who are actually qualified to write about it).
With a lump in my throat, I must admit I loved every second of it.
Fire trucks were chased, complaint emails were answered, politicians were tested, heroes were sung and falsehoods were uncovered.
As I spend my final days in the newsroom for the mighty Eagle, I can smile knowing that I have made some of the most fantastic friends a girl could ask for, coworkers most would envy, and life experiences that pale to none. I am grateful to have dedicated most of my adulthood to the written word and to honing my interviewing skills to achieve this with a healthy sense of self-deprecating humour that I will take with me wherever I go.
While I could share with you countless tales of a day-in-the-life of a not-so-small-town reporter, I think I would prefer to leave you with this: that objective, responsible and fair reporting has never been more important than it is today – in an age of reckless keyboard warriors and "news outlets" with questionable motivations – and I hope you will continue to support your community newspaper into the future.
A short decade ago, when our news model was almost entirely based on traditional print and our population was nearly half of what it is today, our team would scramble to fill all the pages each week. Sometimes, this was due to a quiet week, but more often than not it was because some stories just couldn't make it to print because they didn't achieve editorial principles.
As journalists, there are certain ethics and principles we must uphold, just as there are sensitivies and conflicts of interest. In an age where people will disseminate "news" with hardly a thought, it would serve you well, dear reader, to scroll forward with that knowledge.
Great photography, feature stories, and the lively page two columns week-over-week by our late publisher/founder, the indelible Jack Tennant, was what readers looked forward to.
Fast forward to today, our print product has shrunk and our website and social media platforms have exploded. Most days, multiple times each day, there are events or breaking news that simply cannot wait until the next print edition and the Eagle staff is always there to report it in a timely fashion that feeds an impatient, eager audience hungry for a constant supply of breaking news. The 24-hour news cycle leaves my pragmatic editor and I making painstaking decisions over what is the most important content to include in our print edition.
I can say that I gave it my all, Jack. I always tried my best to take the high road and to let the story take its own direction and I will smile about that each and every time I cross the Jack Tennant Memorial Bridge – a proud moment for all of us at the Eagle when the people picked you as the bridge namesake.
You taught me well and you left Cochrane with an award-winning, dedicated, local news source that I hope the town will continue to value and support in the years to come. While I spread my wings to follow suit with the many Eagles who have gone on to do great things, I will always remain that small-town reporter willing to sit down and listen to your story over too much coffee.