This is my last issue as editor of the Northern Journal. The word “last” feels a bit strange today, even in thought, like it was meaningless until this moment but now is so significant. I am moving on.
I arrived in Fort Smith four years ago to be a news reporter at the Slave River Journal. Thanks to the legendary turnover of the northern media world, within a few months I was the sole employee. Needless to say, I was a shoo-in to become the youngest editor in the paper’s history!
In late 2011, our publisher Don Jaque came forward to me with a crazy idea: what if we expanded the paper to be another voice for the people of the North?
In a world where newspapers are said to be the ghost of an already dead medium, it was a tremendous risk. To write investigative, in-depth print articles when the world was turning away from the page? Would anyone read it? But then, as now, I believed.
I believe in this publication, in one of the last bastions of truly independent print media left in Canada. I believe in telling full stories, of telling hard stories and of spending time with the written word. I believe in the people this paper represents, the voices that fill the pages every week.
For as many awards as we’ve received and praises sung, this paper could not exist without the trust of the people of the North. Thank you for trusting in me, in my efforts to create something new, through my struggles to find space for your important words and for caring so deeply about the world we live in. Without your concern, without your commitment, there would be no story. And without stories, we could never learn and grow.
I have written close to 2,000 articles for this paper. It has become a brief record, not only of our communities, but of my life in the North where I have made my home.
Thank you to the strong, proud and welcoming people of the North for allowing me to make a career and a home here, where I plan to stay.
I look forward to continuing to tell your stories as a freelance writer based in Fort Smith.
With all my heart, Mahsi, Marsi, Kinonaskomitanawa, Hai’ Choo, Quanaqpiaqqutin, Merci, Thank you!