Multimedia journalist bids fond farewell
"Can you write up a short piece on your time here and your departure?"
In the grand scheme of things, it should have been an easy assignment, considering that over the past six years I've covered municipal council meetings ranging from the refreshingly monotonous to the downright head-scratching, local human interest stories of all sizes and shapes and horrific tragedies both intentional and accidental.
In actuality, though, here I am on my fourth attempt to get this piece together. It's surprisingly tough.
Today will be my last day as a full-time, working journalist, wrapping up a career that started in the fall of 2009 writing freelance articles for the now-shuttered Barry's Bay This Week. Since the spring of 2011, I've been lucky enough to be working here in the newsroom of the Daily Observer.
From here, I'll be heading to law school in Ottawa, starting in September.
Over the past half-decade working out of the Observer newsroom, I've had the opportunity to tell some of the stories and meet some of the people who make Renfrew County one of the most diverse, rich and interesting places in the province. I've been able to learn about an incredible variety of institutions and traditions, I've had experiences I wouldn't have been able to get in just about any other job, and I've loved just about every second of it.
Perhaps more than anything else, this job has taught me that almost everything is far deeper, more complicated and more thoroughly interesting that it usually appears on the surface, and that every single person has at least one great story to tell.
It's been an interesting time to be part of the Canadian media landscape, which has become one of the most unstable places to call one's vocational home, but I genuinely, honestly believe that for all the budget cuts, scandals and talk of relentless losses and corporate debt, journalism is not only alive and well in Canada, but is incredibly vital.
The people who continue to write the stories for the Daily Observer (like those working at other newspapers) dedicate long, unpredictable hours to making sure that the stories that matter to you get told properly and professionally. They have tutored and mentored me over the years even just by their mere presence and work, and I will always appreciate it.
People in Renfrew County have a complicated relationship with their media, but everyone here should feel proud and privileged that they have such a dedicated team of professionals working hard to make sure their local stories are told, and that local news still gets the attention it deserves.
So, a big thank you to everyone that has made this job one of the most unforgettable of my working life, and here's to the next chapter. For anyone interested in staying in touch, I'm always reachable on Twitter - @PRyanPaulsen.