Reflections on a decade at The Uniter

This week marks a major anniversary for me. Ten years ago, in the early days of 2014, I first started writing for The Uniter.  For the past decade, this newspaper has been my life.

The opportunity arose at a weird time for me. When 2014 began, I was taking “a year off” from university to save money, lay the groundwork for a move to another city and figure out my plans for the future. By the end of the month, I was unemployed, a romantic partnership ended, my move was cancelled and I was officially adrift.

Coincidentally, a friend of mine who was working at The Uniter texted me. “Hey, our film critic right now sucks,” he said. “You studied film, you know how to write. Want to try it out?”

I sent then-managing editor Nick Friesen a package of three sample reviews. “It’s a volunteer beat,” he said, meaning he couldn’t pay me for my articles, “but we’ll pay for your movie tickets.” I was in. By August, they liked my writing enough to offer me a staff position as a beat reporter.

I learned valuable lessons from the Uniter editors who taught me the nuts and bolts of reporting on the job, eventually moving on to other reporter and editor positions before taking on the managing editor position in 2019. Early collaborators like Nick, arts editor Meg Crane, city editor Danielle Da Silva, photographers Simeon Rusnak and Leigh Lugosi (my Whose House companions) and copy and style editor Danielle Doiron (who’s still my MVP) were some of my teachers.

More than anyone else, Anastasia Chipelski, my predecessor as managing editor, made it possible for me to become an editor and fall in love with the world of community newspapers. Anastasia remains my role model at the paper. The world needs more people with her commitment to community, justice and kindness.

Thank you to anyone who picked up a Uniter or browsed our website over the past decade, even if it was just to do a crossword or check what time doors opened at that Good Will show on Friday.

Published in Volume 78, Number 13 of The Uniter (January 10, 2024)

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