Citizen at 35: Lifelong friendship formed in 'Citizen' offices
BY DENNY SCOTT
For 35 years, The Citizen, as well as the other publications put out by North Huron Publishing, wouldn’t come together without the efforts of Dianne Josling and Joan Caldwell.
The two make up the production team at North Huron Publishing and are near-inseparable, having shared close quarters office space for years and becoming the best of friends throughout that time. Dianne has numerous responsibilities, including layout and design, and Joan is responsible for advertisement design and helps sell advertisements for The Rural Voice, alongside numerous other responsibilities.
Dianne has been involved with the company since the first issue of The Citizen was published in 1985 while Joan joined a month later, however Dianne’s story starts much earlier than that.
“It was 46 years ago that I first started working for [former The Citizen publisher Keith Roulston],” Dianne said. “He hired me right out of high school in 1974.”
Josling said she was amazed with “Myrtle”, the compugraphic machine used for typesetting for The Blyth Standard, The Village Squire magazine and The Rural Voice.
After several years, the newspaper was sold and Josling found herself working at the Grand View Restaurant. In 1985, Bev Brown came to sell advertising for The Citizen, which Keith and Jill had recently put plans in motion to create, leading Dianne to get in touch with the Roulstons to see if they needed help.
“As luck would have it, they hired me back,” she said. “So Oct. 17, 1985, was the start of my now 35 years at The Citizen.”
In November of that year, Joan signed on, having heard from her sister-in-law Evelyn Caldwell, who had worked for The Blyth Standard, that the new newspaper was starting up. While Joan was nervous at first, having no experience in the field, she decided to go out on a limb and join the team.
“We worked great together,” Dianne said, “and developed a friendship to last the rest of our lives. We have grown so close, people comment about us being joined at the hip.”
When asked what has made them stay with the company for 35 years, both said it had to do with Keith and Jill’s vision for what the newspaper and company as a whole could be.
“Pride and commitment [are what keep me here],” Dianne said. “Keith has always instilled in us [the desire] to produce a good quality, informative [and] truthful product that people want to read and, in turn, make the people proud too. It requires hard work, long hours and sacrifice.”
She said her family supported her through those long hours with love and encouragement, and said that being close to work was also a benefit over the years.
For Joan, it was carrying on the Roulstons’ dreams.
“I’d have to say it’s because of what Keith and Jill have started,” she said. “Their passion to put out a product of quality, that people would love to read, has been instilled in me as well. I love what I do and try to do the best I can.”
Joan went on to say she’s proud to be a part of The Citizen team because of how well it’s received.
Over the past 35 years, things have changed significantly at the newspaper, and both say one of the biggest changes has been computers, followed by Keith re-acquiring The Rural Voice.
Dianne said things were very different when she first started doing typesetting.
“When I started, everything was typed on the compugraphic machine - news from the correspondents, even editorial pieces - Keith would type out his news stories, editorials, etc. on his typewriter, edit them and then I would reset on the typesetting machine,” Dianne said. “It would go on to this photographic paper which would feed into a cassette (as it could not be exposed to light).
“You would type so long and then cut it off in the cassette and take it into the dark room and put it through a developer (which you hoped didn’t get stuck - otherwise you started all over again, which happened many times). Then it would be hung to dry and then put through a waxer and then laid out on waxed sheets to create the page,” she said. “Now, we do it all on computers. Most of the news copy and correspondents’ copy that I set comes by e-mail, so a lot of the time it is copy, paste and format the page. The bulk of the typesetting I do is done on deadline day.”
Other parts of Dianne’s job have been modernized as well. She points to invoicing and bookkeeping, which was done on a typewriter or by hand, that is now all computerized.
Joan said she could fill an entire issue of The Citizen with the changes that have happened over the years, but said her biggest adjustment was when she returned to work after being on her second maternity leave.
“Not only did we have computers but we had The Rural Voice magazine,” she said.
Joan said she doesn’t always take to change right away, so it was chaotic for her.
“We had a lot of people crammed into a small space,” she said. “At that point, I personally didn’t have a lot to do with the magazine. They moved in with their own advertising production - we just had to stay out of the way more or less.”
Dianne agreed, saying that having The Rural Voice back and switching to computers provided a steep learning curve and several adjustments.
Joan said that, with people joining and leaving the company, a chance came for her to try her hand at advertising production for The Rural Voice, which she took on with Keith’s encouragement.
“This gave me the opportunity to have full-time work,” she said. “The magazine had a whole new setup to what the newspaper did, but I enjoyed setting advertisements for both publications and continue to do that to this day.”
She said that working on the two different publications provides two unique experiences, and, with technological improvements, preparing advertisements has become a much more streamlined process.
“The fact that we can produce an advertisement in way less time than 35 years ago has allowed customers to see their ads before they are printed,” she said. “This is great, knowing they can approve their ads but also it offers them the chance to change them as well.”
While the technology proved a learning curve, it also proved a chance for the community to become even more involved with the newspaper, Dianne said.
“People wanting to submit pictures or news articles can do so now through e-mail and we, in turn, can send back proofs before publishing,” she said, adding that, without the technology, The Citizen might not have been able to be published throughout this year’s pandemic.
Both Dianne and Joan agreed that, while things are different now than they were 35 years, the goal of putting out a quality product has remained the same over the years, despite the challenges and changes.
Dianne said one of the biggest challenges was when Keith and Jill retired over the past several years.
“The retirement of Keith and Jill was hard for me,” she said. “I had worked with them for such a long time – they had become part of my family. There were adjustments and emotions to deal with.”
Both Dianne and Joan say that working for The Citizen brought them one of the best aspects of their lives: their friendship. Both talk about how their friendship has bloomed over the years, including taking on activities together, travelling and just being there for each other.
“She is the best friend that anyone could have,” Joan said. “She is someone I can confide in and she helps me ‘weather the storms’ at work and outside the office.”
“Joan and I have gone through a lot of ups and downs in our lives, and I’m sure there are more to come,” Dianne said. “The love and support we have for each other will get us through it. I’m thankful for her every day.”
Both said they plan on staying at The Citizen for the future as long as they can continue to do the jobs they love. Dianne says the job gives her purpose after the passing of her husband Paul while Joan says that, throughout it all, North Huron Publishing Company is a family and she’s grateful to have a job she loves.