How do you sum up 30 years in 600 words?
For those of you who haven’t heard already, as of this week, I’m moving on from my position as the Editor and General Manager at the St. Marys Journal Argus and the Stratford Gazette.
It’s not without some regret, of course; the Journal Argus will mark its 160th anniversary this year and I would have enjoyed being around for that celebration. Nonetheless, I’m so proud to have been a small part of the newspaper’s long tradition of serving the St. Marys community.
And the Gazette is coming on strong in Stratford, providing a distinct, total market circulation product that’s proving to be a viable alternative to the daily — for readers and advertisers alike.
Please indulge me as I take a few of these 600 words for reflection.
I’ve worked with some amazing people over the approximate 1,560 weeks of producing a newspaper or two, far too many to mention, with two exceptions. Thanks to the other two diehards, as we like to call ourselves; Susan Monteith, who has been my absolute rock through thick and thin, as I hope I have been for her, and to our Sports Editor Pat Payton, who just happens to be my husband. I do hope the sports community in St. Marys appreciates what they have in Pat. He’s one of a kind and you’d be hard-pressed to find a sports reporter at any newspaper that works as hard or is as dedicated as he is. The three of us started at the Journal in the same year, 1983, which created a bond that no ‘package’ could ever break.
I’d also like to offer a public thank you to my children, Katy and Sam, who have only known their mom in this business. I’m sorry I spent so much time working when you were small, but I’m proud to have raised two kind, caring adults both with a strong work ethic, a social conscience, and strong, smart opinions — on many things. I’d like to think my job here, with all it’s taught me, has lead to at least some of that.
Through my years as a typist, reporter, editor and manager, I’ve met many, many people, and was honoured to write their stories, or, as editor, help bring their stories to the community. And whether the stories were about hobbies, family, careers, illness, animals, life changing experiences, all had a common denominator, all the people I interviewed were so nice and so real.
For that hour or so that we chatted, a bond was formed. It’s a very personal experience, and without a doubt, the absolute best part of my job. I took pride in telling their stories, and sincerely hope they were happy with the results.
In recent years, a particular satisfaction has been our Sideroads magazine. What a treat giving my writers enough time and space to really use their gift, offering advertisers a product with some serious coffee table life, and for the public — a good read. The magazine has been a rewarding experience for myself and my staff, and hopefully for you as well.
And just to be clear, I’ve not been fired or laid off, I’ve been offered and accepted a package which will allow me a bit of time to relax, regroup and move on to something new and challenging.
And it’s time.
Some things, however, won’t change. I’ll still want to be connected to my community, particularly St. Marys, and to the friends I’ve made through my years at the newspaper. So here’s my personal email: Laurafpayton@gmail.com, please do stay in touch.
Oh, and I’ll still love newspapers. That could never change.
- Laura Payton