Christmas 2022 is nearly here, with the arrival of 2023 shortly behind.
The last year for me has been one of growth and challenge.
I have been full time in Stettler and Castor for just over a year now, taking the position on a temporary basis Dec. 1, 2021 before moving into the role permanently in January of 2022.
In that year a lot has happened both personally and professionally.
Personally, I’ve finished another pair of course in my quest to complete my university degree — at this rate I’ll be done when I’m 50 — as well as some continuing education opportunities provided through work.
I’ve become more active in the Castor community, sitting on a trio of boards and commissions, and I am exploring volunteer possibilities in Stettler as well for 2023. My goal, personally and professionally, has been to become more engaged in the community around me, and that goal, I believe, I am succeeding at.
Professionally, the last year has thrown some challenges my way in general, and towards the media industry as a whole.
Over the last year I have written stories touching on everything from local Freedom Convoy rallies, the line-of-duty death of a Castor firefighter, the drastic increase in prices due to inflation, and municipal and provincial politics.
In short, 2022 has not been short of newsworthy content.
I have striven to cover what I can, when I can with an as fair and balanced perspective as I can possibly give it. However, I am not an all-seeing eye. I can’t be everywhere, nor do I know about everything happening in the community without people telling me.
Compounding the issue of coverage, as has become the norm in newsrooms across North America, budgets have been reduced leaving fewer people to do more work. With the added labour shortage and the general anger towards the media over the coverage of the pandemic, the few open positions we have have been a challenge to fill.
For events I can’t make it to, I’m always willing to take submissions and can be reached at 403-741-9921, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still, my goal coming into the Stettler Independent and Castor Advance as a staff member has been to work towards making them viable community information resources once again for people close to home and afar.
Despite the challenges I have faced in my first full year on the job, I feel I have been mainly successful in my goals.
There is more, regular, local content on both the websites and social media pages of the papers.
Community events are being covered, and often the Independent or the Advance are the only newspapers there.
Over the last few weeks, the efforts I have put in have been paying off with both websites showing increased traffic flow.
Going into 2023, my goals are going to be more of the same.
Personally, I’m already registered for another course set to begin Jan. 1, 2023, with plans to start a second on April 1, while also attempting to maintain some semblance of work, school and life balance.
Professionally, I aim to keep doing all the continuing education I can, either through my employer or others that I can find on my own. I aim to keep myself as active in the community as possible, making people aware that the newspapers are still here, still relevant, still viable, and still a trusted source for local community information.
While the last year has definitely been a steep learning curve, it has definitely been a fun ride.
I’m looking forward to what challenges, and rewards, 2023 has to offer.