Oddly enough, a year has passed since I became editor last July.
Time really zooms when editing this newspaper. Whether we are in June or December, the process remains similar. Every Thursday, I take a look at the paper as it arrives in the office in paper form, and then proceed to think about the next one.
Hopefully, that week is not a slow news week. Long weekends tend to be the slowest of news weeks, as is summertime, with the reduction of District of Hope council meetings and no school board meetings.
Yet despite the pace of this role, many stories I have written still stick saliently with me.
I remember my first edition, on July 21 last year. The front-page story was about the Kinder Morgan pipeline. In the north, I have always steered clear of writing pipeline stories because there were more experienced reporters there. Not anymore down here in this single-person newsroom.
Let’s not forget about Benny Wolfe, who sought a business licence to start his entertainment business. Council denied him one because of his sex offence record.
Then came the fall. Former Premier Christy Clark came to town, and then W. P. Kinsella passed away through assisted death.
Oh, and remember how we’re talking about street issues in Hope? Last year, a similar topic that riled up Hope residents involved Chilliwack mayor Sharon Gaetz’s comments which many misinterpreted that she would send homeless people to Hope. Mayor Wilfried Vicktor certainly shared his outrage with The Standard, in council and at the Fraser Valley Regional District level.
Somewhere within that time period, Fraser-Cascade School District 78 trustee Rose Tustian returned to school board meetings in person.
School board meetings got longer and more heated, but The Standard cannot dismiss someone because he or she stirs up controversy, especially in Tustian’s case as she was elected.
Let’s not forget a classic news item that started long before my time here — Station House.
At first, I only recognized Station House as a contentious project because of how much money and emotional investment townsfolk have put into it.
Then I learned about the $500,000 Kinder Morgan benefit agreement which was slated for projects at the Coquihalla River Park. Some council members have discussed allocating it towards Station House. That complicated it.
The peak of the Station House controversy came out in the April 13 edition where the front page published the $1.93 million cost. That information went to our website before the print edition.
A few days before publishing that edition, I attended another meeting. Chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky asked me if I had a minute to speak outside of council’s chambers. He told me that nothing has been finalized.
There are heartwarming moments within the past 365-odd days. Two weeks after becoming the editor, I received a card from readers Rock and Nancy Hutsul. A good-luck card that welcomed me to Hope, “and thank you so much for taking on the challenge of editor of The Hope Standard.”
“We recently moved to Hope and are anxious to know our new community better,” said the card’s message. “Many times, reading the local paper left me baffled and laughing woefully.”
“Already there is new energy, new information and a ‘thoroughness’ to The Standard.”
Then, this year, The Standard won multiple awards such as general excellence. It motivated me a lot to get such an accolade early in my career.
Sports reporter Barry Stewart also won gold with his photo of RiverMonster Violette Freimark. I went on stage to receive the award for him and in my speech, I said something to the tune of, “As a one-person newsroom, I depend on Barry Stewart to save me every Wednesday morning when I’m on deadline, so I thank him.”
To everyone, thank you for reading The Standard and thank you for your submissions, news tips and enthusiasm. The Hope Standard hopes to keep setting the standard.
– X. Y. Zeng is the editor of The Standard. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.