Next month marks my third year with Tabletalk. Reflecting on my first year makes me shudder when I consider how little I
knew about the community I would be working in.
But it has been thrilling getting to know you and meeting and greeting all the characters who make up this wonderful, wacky, and challenging, but never boring, community I serve.
Indeed, time has brought with it experience, self-confidence and the courage to stand up and ask questions that make one less than popular (and the subject of many Facebook threads) but which are vital to the telling what needs to be told.
Time has also not changed the fluttery feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see my blood, sweat and tears brought to life in a freshly printed Tabletalk on a Wednesday morning.
I am always grateful and a little surprised by just how willing people are to share their most painful experiences with the paper. In the past three years, I’ve covered tragedies — among them the loss of a child to a cruel and unyielding illness and the death of a man in his prime while his new bride weeps – and triumphs — the teen with a failing kidney going on to compete in the World Transplant Games and two brothers’ five-year-long labour of love to build a 30-foot yacht.
The people behind these stories remain in my thoughts long after I have hammered them out on my keyboard.
I am grateful for the professional recognition I have received for my work on Tabletalk, winning an award in the human interest category of the Community Journalists’ Local Excellence Media Awards earlier this year, but the real satisfaction of my job comes from seeing how the stories we publish make a real difference in the community we cover. I also cannot reflect on my time with the Tabletalk without giving credit to news editor Graeson Haw, whose advice is worth more than its weight in gold.
He has taught me how to shape a good article by asking the right questions, and his constructive criticism and ability to smile after a painful deadline is always appreciated.