A fond farewell to the newsroom

A career in journalism has been the adventure of a lifetime

Katherine Mortimer

Morning Star Staff

After almost 23 years at The Morning Star, I find myself trying to sum up my career in 600 words for this, my final column.

It’s difficult to know where to start and it’s difficult to not be emotional as I look back on a career that has taken me from a summer internship in Revelstoke, to publisher in Jasper and then to Vernon when my husband, Scott Douglas, was hired as a sports reporter shortly after we were married in May, 1995.

I worked as an advertising rep while I waited for an opening in the editorial department and was thrilled when I was promoted to editor of the Lifestyles section, which we at The Morning Star have always affectionately referred to as “the pink ghetto.”

Everyone has a story to tell, and I have loved giving people a chance to tell that story. It’s a privilege to be trusted with that story.

One of the reasons I have loved this job is the chance to make a difference in someone’s life. Journalism can be a powerful tool. A newspaper exists to tell people what is going on in their community. The stories we run give us a chance to see what our neighbours are doing, the kinds of lives they are leading and that there is still good in the world.

I have written about kids, seniors, RCMP officers, veterinarians, teachers, parents, families, Zamboni drivers, artists, dancers, writers, diseases, collections, beer, wine, spirits, grief, joy, fraternal organizations, Special Olympians and Paralympians, veterans, lawn bowlers and carpet bowlers, covered court and cops, been to countless school board meetings, interviewed women in the sex trade, attended hundreds of Christmas bazaars and teas, introduced dozens of new church ministers, drunk endless cups of coffee. I’ve met cuddly lambs and fluffy puppies, been scared by a stallion and scratched by a cat, judged pie contests and scholarship competitions and I’ve been stymied by words in the Adult Spelling Bee (flibbertigibbet, anyone)?

Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories. It has been an honour and a privilege to bear witness to your lives. Your notes, letters and gifts have meant so much to me.

And finally, to my colleagues in the newsroom, in advertising, in the creative department, in circulation, in classifieds and in the press, as well as our longtime columnists: you are more than co-workers, you are my friends. Please know that I have cherished every day we have worked together. I could not have got through the past two decades without you.

We have said goodbye to colleagues who are no longer with us. We have bid fond farewells to those who have moved on to new adventures.

We have seen each other through all of the highs and lows of life. We have cheered the births of babies, and the university graduations of those grown-up babies, we have cried with each other over the loss of our parents. We have commiserated over unpleasant phone calls from the public because most of us, it turns out, don’t have particularly thick skins and it does in fact hurt when we are criticized.

We have gone from processing film in a darkroom and cutting out stories and headlines with an x-acto knife, to getting stories up on Facebook and making sure photos on Instagram have the right hashtags.

But through all of it, from the pressure of constant deadlines to the changes in print journalism, it has been a privilege to have been on this crazy journey with all of you.

Here I am, at a crossroads, saying goodbye to a career I have loved but looking towards the next adventure, whatever that may be.


 


lifestyles@vernonmorningstar.com

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