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Why hick towns rock

February 10, 2011

Chris Shepherd of In The Koots wrote such a great comment on my last post that I’m just going to repost it here, verbatim:

My first job was in Fort St. James, a logging town of 2,000 people at the end of the highway. I took the job there because nothing else was opening up at the time and I was desperate for work. Frankly, the drive up to the Fort was one of the most bleak in my life. I was leaving friends and family in Vancouver for a complete unknown in Central B.C.

I was sure my career was over before it even started.

How wrong I was. Fort St. James was great for all those freedom-loving reasons you listed, blogger. I was in a one-person newsroom where even the publisher was 45 minutes away down the highway so what I wanted to cover got covered. Yes, there was some rather tedious stuff, but I still managed to make the short list for the 2007 BCYNAs for a series I wrote there.

Small towns can have big stories. This blog has mentioned the great work done by the reporter in Vanderhoof around the murder of a 15-year-old girl is just one example.

While Fort St. James wasn’t my first choice, I knew I wanted to work in the Interior where I hoped the newspaper could play a vital role in the community. I was so cute. So earnest. I wanted to write stories that had a direct connection to the reader. My rationale was that a story about a development, for example, would have less relevance to readers in a large centre like Vancouver (where the development would be across town) compared to a development in a smaller community where everyone reading my story would drive by the proposed project.

Actually, even now that I’m 32-year-old grizzled news hound (ahem), I still feel that way.

I’m sure that idealism will be beaten out of me eventually.

I agree with it all.

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