June 19th, 2024

A few final thoughts and a goodbye

By Medicine Hat News Opinon on July 17, 2018.

Six-and-a-half years ago I packed my trustworthy Chevy Malibu to the brim with worldly possessions and one disgruntled orange cat.

My trek took me from working at a rural newspaper in Northwestern Ontario across the prairies to Medicine Hat. The weather was -40 C, the winds were reaching 80 kilometres per hour. Raging winter grassfires were in the headlines.

I wondered what I had gotten myself into by accepting a position with the Medicine Hat News. I also questioned the veracity of the city’s claim to being the sunniest place in Canada.

The weather — thankfully — warmed up, and the fires were put out.

This past June marked my 10th anniversary working in the newspaper industry. Considering burnout rates, buyouts and the general state of the media in today’s world, 10 years in journalism can be measured like dog years.

I began with weekend shifts at the News, then transitioned to covering all things to do with education: School board meetings, smiling children, exciting projects, funding announcements and fighting funding cuts.

Two years ago I had the opportunity to switch beats and cover court and crime. It’s an interesting but difficult area, one where those involved are at their rawest, worst moments in their lives.

Folks may complain that the City of Medicine Hat is a snooze, but there’s never a dull moment in the newsroom. I’ve covered floods, fires, homicides, fatality inquiries and other heartwrenching moments. There’s the uplifting stories as well: The graduations, good Samaritans, talented and brave people with new ideas and projects that keep this community moving forward. There’s the big stories —but also small stories and photos that seem insignificant, but mean the world to people.

As you’ve probably guessed, this column is building up to a big farewell to readers, as my last day of with the News was this Monday.

It’s not a full goodbye —you can’t get rid of me that easily, Medicine Hat!

I’ll be joining the wonderful team at the Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society as their community education and awareness coordinator.

It’s difficult to put together a goodbye column without coming across as saccharine and overly sentimental. The easy way out would be to copy and paste some inspirational quotes about goodbyes. That’s not quite my style.

Journalism for me is about service to the community. Giving people a voice, creating connections, holding power to account, keeping people informed so they can be good citizens of the world. With false information and rumours and snarky ill-informed posts can spread like wildfire thanks to social media, the work of journalists and communities matter now more than ever.

What did I get myself into six-and-a-half years ago? Something pretty amazing, and I hope it continues.

(Peggy Revell was a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to https://www.medicinehatnews.com/opinions.)

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