Into the crystal ball - Shawn Loughlin editorial
When the calendar turns to October, I’ll mark 15 years with The Citizen. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but it’s also hard to believe that it’s gone by that quickly. There is part of me that feels like I’ve been a journalist for the better part of my life and there’s another part that feels like it was just yesterday that I was working retail or washing dishes back in Pickering, unsure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
It was in the first week of October in 2006 that I began as a reporter with this fine newspaper. I started on a Monday, which I didn’t know was deadline day and was thrown right into work. On my second day, I covered my first Huron East Council meeting and then I worked my first weekend. Before I knew it, I was seeing my name in print, above stories I’d written and below pictures I’d taken.
Working under Editor Bonnie Gropp and Publisher Keith Roulston, I learned a lot in those early days. At his retirement dinner, Keith said I was “as green as the grass” when I started, but acknowledged that, in the years that followed, he had seen me grow into the position and into the community.
At that time, I certainly had a sense of pride when Keith explained why he felt comfortable handing the reins of the organization to Deb Sholdice, who did not have a background in journalism. He said that The Citizen and The Rural Voice had solid teams in place and that Deb could focus on what she knew best, which is balancing the books and running a company.
To think that I had come all the way from being “as green as the grass” to being the editor of a newspaper that has, under my watch, been named the best in the country, made me feel pretty good.
The lineage of that dates back to that first week of October, 2006. Growing up outside of Toronto, admittedly I didn’t know if I was cut out to be a long-time Huron County resident.
But, as time went on and I was able to build something here, both in terms of family and friends and with The Citizen, my comfort level continued to grow and now I feel like part of the community, both as a person and because of the important work we continue to do here with The Citizen.
As the editor of an independent newspaper with a proven track record of representing and serving its community (and being recognized for its excellence at both the federal and provincial levels), I feel like an important part of this community. While the fact that I may feel more important than I actually am could be a discussion for another day, I am one of the cogs in the machine that keeps this community running and that fulfills me daily.
In a poor attempt to fuse two ideas together, the gift for a 15th anniversary is meant to be made of crystal (a nice watch is apparently a popular choice for this one). If I had a crystal ball 15 years ago, I would have had a hard time believing all the events in my future.
Now married, a father and award-winning professional, it’s hard to think of a better way to have spent the last 15 years.
Keith and Jill first demonstrated confidence by hiring me and Bonnie first supported me as I learned not only the ropes of an industry, but of a community. Now, Deb, Denny, Dianne, Joan, Brenda and the rest of the team continue that support, allowing The Citizen to do what it continues to do week after week.
My co-workers, my family, my friends and the community have all made it easy to be here and made me want to always strive to improve, week after week, for 15 years. Thank you to everyone who has made them fly by.