It seems like only a few short weeks ago that I did a post about Raymond’s retirement as executive editor of the Montreal Gazette – the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. And there’s a reason why it seems like that post was such a short time ago: it was just a short time ago – this past Aug. 30, to be precise. But in the six weeks since then, there’s been a new development: I too am leaving The Gazette, and in fact today was my last day as its deputy editor.
What makes this new role more exciting than just any journalism-teaching position? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s because Loyalist College has put a huge commitment of new resources into establishing a program that trains young journalists to be skilled and agile on all platforms (digital, broadcast, social media, print), and able to adapt quickly to changing technologies and the changing demands, interests and habits of the consumers of news. The training is heavily focused on giving the students real-life hands-on experience instead of a lot of theoretical classroom instruction. (Don’t get me started about how unprepared students who’ve only received theoretical instruction are when they first enter a real newsroom. Believe me, I’ve been watching this for years from my vantage point at The Gazette and other news-media operations.)
In addition, Loyalist has joined forces with Trent University in Peterborough, Ont. (of which I am a graduate) to establish the Trent-Loyalist Journalism Program. Students in this program will graduate with a B.A. or a B.Sc. in journalism plus whatever other discipline they choose. And I think that is absolutely marvellous; in my long experience, the best and most well-rounded journalists are those who’ve studied something – be it political science, philosophy, biology, architecture or engineering – before, or along with, or sometimes even instead of, a program of journalism alone.
The showpiece of the Loyalist program is a beautiful spanking-new “integrated newsroom,” a real newsroom where all this practical instruction takes place. The equipment is state-of-the-art, the layout is clean and ergonomic, and it’s just a totally exciting, challenging place to be. (You can read more about it here.) I am convinced that thanks to Loyalist’s smart decisions and serious commitment to this new venture, the journalism program can and will be one of the best in Canada. I am thrilled to be involved, and I can’t wait to start!
But the other great thing about this big change in our lives is this: my new workplace is only a pleasant 40-minute drive from the Manse. If you put two and two together you’ll quickly figure out that Raymond and I are – wait for it – moving to Queensborough!
The move will be gradual; we don’t expect to put our place in Montreal up for sale for several months yet, and we will certainly be back in the big city fairly often (the newly retired Raymond probably more often than me) to see family and friends and stay involved in the church and cultural activities here that mean a lot to us. But slowly but surely our centre of gravity will be shifting from the big city to tiny, quiet Queensborough.
To the Manse, the house that I grew up in.
Which means: I am going home.