Tuesday, May 25, 2010

26 years strong

Twenty-six years is but a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. Yet in the life of this journalist, it’s practically an eternity. If not that, well then it constitutes half of my life.

I was thinking about the passage of years just the other day. Who could have imagined back in 1984 that I would still be at The Canadian Jewish News in 2010? I know I couldn’t. Hopefully, all being well, I will have many more productive years to contribute to the Canadian community’s premiere Jewish publication. I often wonder: have the best years already happened or is the best still to be? Whatever, I’m certain it won’t be disappointing.

We may not be the largest Jewish newspaper in existence these days, but I’m certain we have one of the best workplaces. The camaraderie is fantastic. When something has to get done, it gets done, whether the newsroom has a full complement or is short-staffed, which is often the case during the summer months. Everyone pitches in for the greater good. Perhaps this is why we have such a low staff turnover. Everyone realizes what a great atmosphere exists around the office. We have had people leave and come back months and years later, all singing praises of our work environment.

This continues to be one of The CJN’s greatest strengths over the years. Many of the issues we delve into have changed over time (although surprisingly many are still the same) but the people here continue to make this a great place to spend most of your prime time.

Among the many are three special ones I have had the honour of working with, namely the editors of The CJN. All of them have been very different in style and temperament. Yet I have learned from each of them and they have helped make me the journalist I am today.

It’s also been interesting going from being one of the youngest people in the editorial department to being one of the “senior” staff members. Of course, it’s not only personalities that have changed around here.

Back in 1984, I was thrilled when I got a new electric typewriter (I was using a manual machine when I started). The arrival of the fax machine was a real eye-opener at the paper allowing us to get news copy from freelancers without them having to come to the office. Prior to its arrival, we relied on a teletype machine to connect our Toronto and Montreal offices.

Today, news copy and photographs arrive at a rapid pace through e-mails, things we could not have fathomed 26 years ago. Every piece of news had to be typeset and proofread before being laid down in production. Now a single page is created in minutes on the computer and printed out.

I have noticed that the pace of technological change keeps changing, mostly for the better. Where will we be in another 26 years? I’m certainly not one to guess because I still marvel at the changing pace around the office. Where The CJN was once just a print publication, it now encompasses so much more with links to YouTube, Facebook and the Blogosphere.

Wherever we go from here though, I firmly believe that there will always be a place for our Jewish newspaper. We provide information that can’t be found elsewhere.

Will we look the same in 2036? Probably not, but that will be the decision and responsibility of journalism’s next generation.

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