Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Publisher bids adieu

Her reign at the helm of the Daily News was but a year, but a rather busy year it was for Publisher Tracy McCall, as many changes took place at Prince Rupert's Daily Newspaper.

A year which saw one of the more popular and long serving journalists at the paper, Leanne Ritchie leave town (never getting the opportunity to bid her farewells), with many wondering if the turmoil at City Hall and her coverage of the hiring controversy of the summer had anything to do with her departure.
The politicians took note of the paper and offered up some, er, helpful suggestions, with former Prince Rupert Mayor Pond and Mayor Dave McDonald of Port Edward, co-signing a letter of concern over their perceptions of the local coverage. (not necessarilly a bad thing for a paper to have the political class annoyed with it by the way, some would consider that a badge of honour)
The year also saw some changes in back room personnel at the Daily, changes in distribution procedures and how the paper was put together, and it was a year that featured more than a few angry words from local residents, perplexed at the delivery schedule and frequency of their local conduit for information.
It was also twelve months which saw the Prince Rupert economy continue to struggle, with the expected fall out in the world of advertising, with a noticeably thin paper at the start of each week, with more ads generated towards the last days of the week.
The Publisher finished off her hectic year, as the central figure locally as the Publisher in the negotiations over a labour agreement, one which resulted in an overwhelming strike vote and which resulted in numerous negotiating sessions, which only recently came to a successful conclusion without a labour dispute to add to the community's woes.

And now, Ms. McCall has moved on, destined for Management of Advertising Sales at the Prince George Citizen, but before she departed the city she provided a reminiscence of her time on the North Coast complete with some of the memories she will be taking down the highway eastbound.

Time to move on but city is so dear to me
By Tracy McCall
Publisher of the Prince Rupert Daily News
The Daily News
Friday, December 19, 2008
Pages one and two

I arrived in Prince Rupert a year ago almost to date. It was the last week in November and upon my arrival the sun shone for 10 days straight. Ten bright glorious days.

One morning the inevitable day came. I awoke to find rain. The next day, rain. The day after, rain and so on. On my walk to work I foolishly stopped at Zellers and bought an umbrella. Did I mention it was windy too? The ill-fated umbrella lasted two blocks.

It was a week later when I realized that glowing orb that used to grace the sky went into hibernation -- and would be for the better part of a year.

It has been a real privilege to be part of a paper that has such history and strong relationship with the community.

A community paper is nothing if not a mirror of the very community it serves
I thank everyone of you who expressed opinions, shared ideas, gave us news tips, letters, columns or otherwise contributed to our daily pages.

Without you there's no point to the work of any of us on the Daily News team.

Although my time here was short, it was exciting and rewarding.

I was pleased to be welcome once again into Rotary. The Prince Rupert Rotary Club is a diverse group and Thursday lunch meetings always provided a lesson and a laugh.

I felt honoured to be elected to a seat on the Chamber of Commerce Board. I believe these next few years will provide long awaited rewards for this city's and I am sure they will prove to be exciting times.

Stigma aside, there's plenty of sun here -- shining in the faces of Rupertites. I know, I know how cliché! Truly, nowhere have I lived (and I have lived all over the province) have I encountered such friendly, happy people merely walking down the street. Come to think of it, nor have I come across so many pregnant women. Ah, I just got it, the two are related.

It's true many smaller communities try to market themselves as "friendly" but held to Prince Rupert, those communities pale in comparison. I think it's about location. A little remote, this community learned a long time ago you have to work together. A lesson many could learn.

Things I learned while here:

There's really only one white fish, people with umbrellas are tourists, Hecate Strait Crab has much better flavour than just about any other I've eaten and the driest place to be in Prince Rupert is in a boat.

Things I'll miss:

Smiling faces, never having to shovel snow, fresh crab from our neighbours - thanks again, and of course the ocean.

For those of you wondering, I am moving on to become the Advertising Manager at our flagship paper, the Prince George Citizen. We are very happy to be moving back to our home town and I am elated with the career opportunity along with the exciting new challenges, I wasn't expecting the opportunity to come so soon but if you don't take them as they come you realize later your ship has sailed.

Here we are days before Christmas and as I watched the movers pull in to the driveway, what I noticed was, no rain just sunshine. Hmm, maybe... no, but we'll visit.

Thank you for your support personally and professionally.

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