It is for the first time that I struggle with a topic for a column. A closure, such as the one announced just a few days ago, gets one down.
I am the one who has always said that life happens and we happen with it; you make the best of it. Tumbles are taxing, though, and positivity goes MIA for a bit. Losses drain people of enthusiasm and rip away their dreams of making things happen. I know: I have been there more than once.
This is a hard hit for those who put their lives into the paper for many years, weekends and holidays notwithstanding.
The silver lining, when finally located that is, is that people bounce, eventually. Yet things are more complicated than they appear, and the implications deeper than expected.
A newspaper like the Kamloops Daily News cannot just disappear, most of us would agree. The reason is its intricate connection with the community.
More than a place where people do their jobs, a daily newspaper — a thing of the past, some said — is a beacon of the community. The impact of its loss will hit in waves and it’ll be felt for a long time.
A daily newspaper keeps people connected. There’s magic to it, and it is done by the many invisible hands hard at work in the office and in the field, crunching life stories and community happenings into pieces that grip people, inspire them and initiate dialogue.
I stepped into the editor’s office more than a year ago, got a column to write and promised I would not let anyone down. It has been a wild ride since, full of learning and joy.
I’ve documented the way the open arms of Kamloops have received me and my family, and how we found a home here sooner than expected. I wrote about the outstanding beauty of the place where my boys learned about living closer to nature; frozen lakes, dusty hiking trails, starry nights and all.
Since the first column came out, learning has been exponential. I have learned about community, I got to know people; I got to know readers by their screen names. It’s easy to get attached that way.
And I have learned to aim to do good by them, the readers, because the paper was, after all, theirs. The community connector.
I have received countless emails from readers. Sometimes they wrote to celebrate joy, other times to show their support for when life tumbles got the best of my family. I realized along the way that while people eyes were reading, their hearts were also there. That has been a gift I can only hope I showed proper gratitude for. Because I tried my best to do so.
Since the writing of my first column, I have learned that behind every piece that’s published there are people who think beyond performing well at their job; they make it count. I got to know some better than others and learned a lot from each.
I know that many times people in the office went above and beyond their duty to make things happen. They showed their human side while raising the efforts to above human.
Perfection was never in the cards because that’s never the goal. It shouldn’t be. A community is far from perfect, and that’s why good things happen.
The Christmas Cheer Fund is but one powerful example.
The stories of remarkable people in Kamloops are another.
An established newspaper like the Kamloops Daily News is a terrible loss to people who depend on it for information about the community when their mobility is restricted. My nonagerian neighbour is one of them, and so are other people who cannot make their way into town anymore but are still part of it.
Where to from here? Big life problems do not come with a beeline for immediate solutions.
An incurable idealist might argue that an ever-blooming city like Kamloops not only needs a daily news hub, but it should and could sustain one through its plethora of businesses that need advertisement. Yet the fast pace of modern-day life and its many far-reaching and efficient communication platforms points to a different reality.
Sometimes there’s nothing more to say than extending a good comforting word and hope for the best. The community here did it and that’s proof that while life’s tumbles are real, there’s also open arms and thoughtfulness.
Here’s to hoping that good things will sprout of this challenge.
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