Trent Ernst, Editor
I think some of you out there might be suffering from a misunderstanding. It’s okay, I understand how easy of a mistake it is to make, but you need to know: this is not my newspaper. I only write for it.
The paper is owned by Loraine Funk, but, ultimately, it’s not her newspaper, either.
The newspaper belongs to the town.
No, not the District. You. The people who make up Tumbler Ridge.
By “belong” I don’t mean that you have to pay the cost of getting it printed and paying for my dental coverage or anything. I mean belong in the way that it is created specifically for you, the people.
The advertising in the paper is there to alert you to events and activities that are happening and of businesses that may be of benefit to you. The stories are all written for a Tumbler Ridge audience, informing you of things that may affect your life.
Recently, we hired a new writer, but, after six months in Tumbler Ridge (nary a one without snow) and barely one month here at the News, she decided to move back to Ontario. (That’s the same excuse that our previous writer gave, too. I think “moving to Ontario” is just shorthand for “Trent smells funny…”)
This of course, puts me in a position where I’m the only person writing regularly for the paper, while at the same time I’m also editing it and laying it out. Oh, yeah, I take the pictures, too. It can be done, and has been done, by (mostly) one person. It probably will be done for a while yet, too.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to be the only person writing the paper.
No, I’m not trying to shirk my responsibilities. Okay, I am, but only a little bit.
More importantly, I’m looking for different voices from around town to be heard, rather than just mine. You see, the paper, just like the community, is made better by a diversity of voices, not a paucity of them.
You might be thinking that the paper doesn’t really reflect your point of view, your politics and your take on town. And you’d be right, because unless you’re me, or one of the handful of columnist who write for the paper, you’re voice isn’t being heard.
But here’s the thing, the reason it doesn’t is because you’re keeping all these things to yourself. We’d gladly give voice to your perspective, assuming you can string a sentence together in an interesting way and your perspective isn’t illegal, immoral or just plain stupid.
If we replaced our previous reporter with a new reporter, there’d still be only two points of view, two sets of eyeballs to observe, two sets of ears to hear. Worse yet, they’d both be in the same office, looking out the same window. This does not lead to a diversity of perspectives.
This is why we’re hoping to find a bunch of people who are willing to freelance for the paper. Rather than find someone else to come in and sit at the big glass desk in the office to write seven or eight stories a week, we’re hoping to find seven or eight people willing to write one or two stories a week. Or 14 people who would write once a fortnight. Or even 28 people who would want to write once a month. But now we’re just getting ridiculous.
We do have some regular folks writing our opinion pieces, for which I am thankful for. The paper is made better by the thoughts and experiences they share. But we need people who can tell us what’s happening around town: news, sports, features.
This whole thing might just be pie-in-the-sky optimism. Finding one person who wants to write can be challenging. Finding a half dozen? Outrageous. Outlandish. Impossible. Or is it? We’ve got cookies. (Well, usually doughnuts, and only on Wednesdays.)