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Quarter century at the helm of the good ship Mirror

To a young(er) man, 25 years would have seemed like an eternity
Alistair Taylor is editor of the Campbell River Mirror.

There’s nothing worse than some old timer saying, “Wow, where did all the time go?”

But the good thing about being an oldtimer is that you don’t have to care about what everybody thinks. So...

Wow, where did all the time go?

Sometime next week – I believe it is May 12 – I will have been editor of your publication for 25 years. I don’t know what to make of that. On paper, 25 years is a long time.

To a young(er) man, say, a 29-year-old man, 25 years would have seemed like an eternity. To a 54-year-old, 25 years didn’t seem to take all that long to go by.

I’ve seen a lot of changes in the way newspapers do things and I’ve seen people come and go through this office. I myself am now sitting in the spot where I started lo, those 25 years ago. Since then, through various expansions and two or three renovations, my work space has moved all the way around the office to the other side and now I’m back again to the space where the editorial department was located in 1989.

The company had only moved into this building a couple of years before. The owner of the paper was Gerry Soroka, a feisty, former reporter and editor turned publisher. We were one of the last independents for a short while before being bought out by David Black’s publishing empire. Interestingly, David will be in Campbell River on Friday to address the Chamber of Commerce. What’s interesting about that, to me, is that I know David. He’s no absentee owner. Over the years he’s dropped by the office a few times and he’s taken the staff out on his yacht a few times.

Since Gerry, the Mirror’s last owner-publisher, I’ve worked with three publishers (manager-publishers) Iain McClymont, Jim Hayes and Zena Williams. I feel like I’ve got along with them all and we’ve worked hard together to put out the best newspaper we can. I’m now working with current publisher Dave Hamilton who joined us last year. He looks like a keeper, so far. It’s the first time I’ve worked with a boss who’s significantly younger than me, though.

The best part of it all is the great people who currently work here or have worked here over the years. One of the main reasons I’ve stayed in this job is the great working atmosphere. The Mirror staff have almost universally been genuinely nice people. This is a group of employees with a great sense of humour (above all) but with a dedication to putting out a professional product.

It’s not always like that in the newspaper business – or any business, I suppose. But it’s the people in this office that make coming to work a pleasure. I would hate to work in a place where conflict, distrust and animosity reigns.

When I consider why I’ve stayed here so long, I often come back to: I know this is a great place to work and I know how rare that can be out there in the great wide world.

But really, where did all the time go?