Shannon Lough reporting on the salmon fishery on the Skeena River in 2018. (Chelsey Ellis photography)

Shannon Lough reporting on the salmon fishery on the Skeena River in 2018. (Chelsey Ellis photography)

This Prince Rupert editor is signing off

Reflections on moving to B.C’s North Coast, choosing to stay, and 3.5 years of community reporting

Four years ago, I was living in a brand new suburb on the outskirts of Ottawa driving or bussing in and out of the city for work.

I’d caused a fuss with the chief bylaw officer over planting an edible garden, and the ski hill was too far for my liking.

I wasn’t in the right place, and felt that I needed to go north. Then I saw a posting in Canada’s journalism job board for Prince Rupert. I brought a GPS to help navigate me to the North Coast, but once I reached Smithers my new publisher messaged me and said, “If you hit the ocean, you’ve gone too far.” I haven’t used my GPS since.

It was dark when I drove through the slush along the Skeena Highway, to the rain on Kaien Island.

Shannon Lough, editor, The Northern View. (Chelsey Ellis photography)

My first memories of the city were of a giant Moby Dick mural, Winterfest in the courtyard, someone asking me at the grocery store if I was new, a chili cook-off at the Wheelhouse that led to a night of Settlers of Catan and friends.

I wanted to work in a community where I could make a difference by sharing the stories of the people who live there, and keeping them informed on their elected governments, policy and economic development. When I first started at the newspaper, I wanted to use my multimedia background to add to the stories the Northern View was sharing. My timing was perfect. Black Press Media was also transitioning into the digital platform.

I’m proud of this newspaper. We’ve created more than 950 videos in the past three and a half years, and that includes podcasts and award-winning material. I’ve worked with other journalists who were more like members of a team, and sometimes like family, reporting together at all hours to keep our community informed on what is happening right here and now.

Being the editor of this newspaper has been a labour of love.

I thank every person who has taken the time to speak with me, and for every reader who has taken the time to pick up our weekly newspaper, or browse through articles and videos online.

All of this has been for you.

In return, I ask that you continue to support us, and know that we put more than our words on a page. We use our journalistic principles, judgement, we reach out to mentors, and draw upon lessons from university or college on how to do our job that strives to be fair, balanced and accurate.

As penned by the Washington Post president and publisher, Philip Graham, we are writing the first rough draft of history for Prince Rupert.

From Hammy the deer, to Tanny and Hanny the goats, a totem pole raising on Lelu Island, and giving a World War II veteran the burial he deserves next to his beloved wife, I have written a few rough drafts of history on my own.

This is my last week at The Northern View before I move onto a new role as communications and fundraising manager with Ecotrust Canada in Prince Rupert. It’s time to pass the torch, but I’m not leaving this town, there is still much to do.

READ MORE: The Last Post Part 3: The final chapter


Shannon Lough | Editor
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