Mirror welcomes J.R. to editorial staff

Campbell River always rolled up in the windshield as our gateway to the south

J.R. Rardon

Hello, Campbell River.

As the latest addition to your stable of scribes at the Mirror, I’m glad to be aboard and looking forward to getting into the community and meeting you.

My family, however, is still trying to come to grips with the concept that we’re now on the “North” Island. After all, having lived the past nine years in Port McNeill, Campbell River always rolled up in the windshield as our gateway to the south.

Since 2006, I have been sharing the stories of the good folks of the Mount Waddington Region, through the North Island Gazette. That experience provided valuable perspective on both community newspaper reporting and on Canada itself.

See, my wife and I brought our three daughters here from the U.S., where my background was sportswriting and editing on daily papers. Starting with a daily student paper at Portland State University in 1989, from which I graduated in 1992 with a BA in history, I went on to write for the Oregonian, daily papers in Kodiak, Kenai and Anchorage in Alaska, and finally for the Seattle Times before we set our sights on British Columbia.

I eventually wormed my way into the Gazette, first as a freelance writer, then part-time sportswriter, full-time staffer and, in May 2012, editor.

That experience taught me the importance of the local paper to a community interested in the policy decisions of local government, in the contributions of social organizations, in the achievements of athletes, artists and students.

It also taught me this was a land and a people we wanted to be a permanent part of, and last summer we were rewarded with Canadian citizenship.