Thanks for trusting me with your stories

By on September 27, 2012

For the last few days I’ve been mulling over what I should write about in my final column as the editor of the Merritt Herald.

My life over the last two years flashed before my eyes and I thought of all the great people I’ve been able to meet and all the fun experiences I’ve had, like portraying Lilly Priest in Happy 100 Merritt, or competing in the Nicola Valley Farmers’ Market corn eating contest for three years in a row and finally winning.

Then, this morning, I received an email from someone who told me I was leaving Merritt in shame unless I wrote an apology about an article we had printed that he didn’t like.

Immediately my happy memory bubble deflated.

In a small town it’s easy to make friends, but it’s also easy to make enemies, especially when you work in the media.

Newspapers exist to inform the public and to help make citizens aware of what is happening in the community. This information enables people to make better decisions and more effectively participate in the community.

As reporters, we strive to provide fact-based, objective information that is relevent. We also try to ask questions that will hold governing bodies accountable.

The newspaper does not simply exist as a community service to promote the city and various groups within the community.

When there are good news stories, we are happy to share them, but we aren’t going to hesitate about sharing news that might be perceived as negative if it’s in the public interest to share it.

(In my experience, this tends to upset people who are primarily concerned with promoting the city or their own interests.)

In portraying news as honestly as we can, reporters are able to provide the first draft of local history.

Overall, I am proud of the work that I’ve done and I don’t think I would change very many of the choices I’ve made. There are of course stories I would haved liked to write, but I did my best with the time and resources that were available.

I’ve appreciated the opportunity to act as a voice of the Merritt Herald. Thank you for consenting to interviews and trusting me with your opinions and your stories.

When I first arrived in Merritt and breathed a lung full of sawdust I wondered what I had gotten myself into, but I embraced the experience and so many people welcomed me. Now, as I go, I’ll be leaving a piece of my heart in the Nicola Valley.

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