When I started writing for Houston and Burns Lake, I vowed to write as if everyday was a learning experience, I vowed to not assume the problems and issues and be just and objective and understand what people really cared about. It has been a year and change, and I have definitely learned to write about the northern communities as if I would about my own hometown, with conviction, passion and love.
This was possible mainly because not once was I ever made to feel like an outsider peering in. Instantly, the community accepted this new reporter in town as their own. There of course, was some reluctance for some folks to start sharing; after all, a journalist and a community’s relationship needs time and trust. Gradually though people have been opening up, writing in, chiming in and sharing their opinions and stories. That feels like a success to me.
In the one year and change that I have been here, I have made friends I never thought I would; the kind you make when you are little kids — those forever kind of friendships.
I have seen people fight for their sick and elderly, I have seen people band together for better education, improved opportunities for those deprived of it and I have seen people fight for their rights.
I have even seen those in power reminding me of the word “politics” to not hold such a negative connotation attached to it. I have seen these politicians or leaders of the community strive for a better life for the village and its people and not in a bid to line their own pockets or any of those typical things politicians are usually infamous for.
I have been blessed with coworkers who were constantly supportive, kind, never once made me feel like an outsider, always had my back and were such an excellent learning resource constantly! A landlord who, in a world filled with unpleasant tales of tenant-owner relationships, was kind, fun and ever so caring.
I have encountered bears in the backyard, seen glimpses of the Northern Lights, have been able to connect with nature like never before.
And now, it is time for me to bid adieu to all of you for the time being. You will still see my name pop in the papers for a little while but physically, I will be moving away from the North.
Burns Lake and the North has been special for me. This was my first home in Canada and will forever have my heart.
While I have seen openeness to news media, I continue to see small clusters of those reluctant or untrusting of news. I hope that changes though. I hope you, as a community, continues supporting the local news, trusting local news and being open to sharing with us, because despite social media and despite the chants over “fake media”, here is where you will get the most in-depth, most caring and possibly most accurate news. There is more though; many years down the line, it is this newspaper that will provide a glimpse into the history of your town and I hope you, as a community continues coming forward with your stories and photos and help this town have the best local journalism there is out there.
Until next time, Houston.