My first editorial for the weekly Hants Journal, Windsor NS

Life on a Small Town newspaper.

Hants Journal
Jan 8 2010

There’s something peculiar about people who choose to work on small town newspapers. The job is not rewarding in the conventional sense: the hours are long, critics are numerous and the pay– well let’s not talk about the pay.

So why do we do it? We can trot out all kinds of pomposities, like saving the world and shining the light of truth into dark corners but we’re fooling ourselves. In fact if we shone that light of truth into our own minds, we’d probably find something entirely different and not so flattering.

Scratch most good reporters and you’re likely to find a curious ten-year-old, a kid more likely to poke a dead cat with a stick than bury it, all in the spirit of irreverent curiosity.

We had a perfect example of small-town journalism the other day. Reporter Christy Marsters took a phone call from a woman who said her chicken had just laid what was probably the biggest egg in the whole world.

Most people would have dismissed that phone call, but Christy was swooning with delight as was the entire newsroom.

We gleefully planned how to take a picture of this alleged egg. Should we include the chicken? Would it co-operate? Was it even alive? Perhaps the owner would pose with the egg or maybe we should shoot it alone so it could be shown at its exact size allowing readers to compare it with their breakfast.

Alas, our front-page story disappeared the next day when our source phoned to say she could no longer find the stupid egg. “First time somebody ate my story,” Christy moaned.

This, believe it or not, is what we love. And so, we’re betting, do you. You’d have talked about that story and laughed about it. And in the process, if you’ll forgive our high-minded justification, we’d have built a stronger community, strengthened the ties that bind, just by talking about a chicken egg.

So here’s an assignment for the readers still with us: find us a story. Let your inner ten-year-old loose and tell us what occupies his or her mind. We promise, as seasoned journalists, to leave no stone unturned in our never-ending search for the truth behind the most irreverent inquiry.

–Stu Ducklow