Trent Ernst, Editor
Dear John: By the time you read this, we’ll be gone.
Not, you know not gone for good, just gone from the office downtown.
As discussed previously, we are down to two people in the office, and have too much space for too few people.
We tried seeing if anyone was interested in sharing space with us, but that proved to be a non-starter (which, by the way, is the title of the new single from Downwater Union’s new EP, whenever we get around to releasing it).
So, we’re out of here. This space.
I like this space. It’s bright, it’s airy, it has an air conditioner, though not like we needed it this summer.
More importantly, it’s downtown, right across from the Shop Easy. It’s easy to find. It’s Shop Easy to find.
(Almost had a gag there. A joke, that is. )
I like being here. I like the landlord. But we live in a time where the average revenue for the average community newspaper across Canada has dropped 30 percent over the last few years.
And we live in a place that has seen its main economic engine—mining—idled down for the last couple of years.
It’s an almost perfect storm for those of us in the newspaper business in town.
If we were your average community newspaper, there’s a good chance we might have just been told to pack up and called it a day.
But we’re an independent, meaning there’s nobody in Vancouver counting the beans and calling the shots.
Which gives us the freedom to explore options.
In this case, what it means is we are moving to a virtual office. Which is a fancy word for no office at all.
Instead, we’re moving all the desks and stuff that didn’t sell back into the owner’s basement.
Our ad person Lisa, who spends most of her time communicating with people via the phone or email is able to work from where ever she has a phone or Internet access. Which, in this day and age, is most anywhere. Seriously. A couple weeks ago, I was standing on top of an unnamed peak hours away from the nearest trailhead, and I still had reception. Truly, we live in marvelous times.
And me? Well, I’m going to split my time up between working from my basement, working from the owner’s basement (which is technically going to be the office), and from various locations downtown, including the library.
I may or may not have posted hours for when I’m going to be at the library; I shall keep you, well, posted.
So no, we aren’t dead yet.
That last was a Terry Pratchett reference. I just finished reading a collection of his non-fiction writing, including stories from back in his newspaper days and stories that reminisce about his newspaper days.
Reading the book reminded me, again, about the role that newspapers play in small communities. Some journalists think the role of journalism is to tear stuff down, to upend institutions. This is a stance that publications like the recently late and not much lamented Gawker took. Others think it is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.
But a definition that I heard recently that I love is this: Journalism’s job is to “cultivate an educated, empathetic, and engaged society.” We seek to educate, yes, but we also seek to engage people in what’s happening and help them truly understand the world that surrounds them.
Just a reminder that we have started a Patreon campaign to help pay our carriers. If you want to tip your carrier virtually, and help the local kids gain some work experience, go to bit.ly/trncarriers.