Hard as it may be to believe, but this issue marks the ten years of the North Grenville Times, an anniversary that will bring, perhaps, a mixed reaction among the residents of the municipality. I must say, I find it hard to credit too, there have been times (many, many times!) when I doubted we would ever reach such a landmark. But here we are, thanks to you, the readers, and thanks to the many advertisers who have kept faith with us over the decade, and the writers of letters, articles, and op-ed pieces in which the people of North Grenville have had their say on numerous issues, both humble and grand.
To be accurate, this is the tenth anniversary for the Times, but it was built on the foundation of the NG Community Newsletter, a monthly publication that had been operating for eight years before 2012, which makes it almost twenty years that I’ve had this forum to meet and chat with friends and neighbours. Not all of them were friendly friends, I must say, and especially over the past year some of them have been most unfriendly, but they are a tiny minority: the people of NG are not nearly as bitter and angry as some keyboard crusaders.
In the very first Editorial, way back in November, 2012, I wrote about our vision for this paper: “There is room in the Times for reporting, for opinion, for analysis, for information, for news and for fun. You don’t have to agree with everything you read in these pages. It has to reflect so many aspects of North Grenville life that it will be impossible to keep everyone happy all the time. But that is the great potential of an independent voice: you can join in. If you don’t like something, write about it. If you love something, if you want to publicise something, write about it. You will be published because you are part of this community and deserve to be heard. We have no party political bias. We want to see all shades of opinion free to speak through these pages, and leave it to the people of this community to make up their own minds.”
I hope, and believe, we have lived up to this vision over the last ten years. And it has not always been appreciated. Some have complained that “there’s no place for religion in a newspaper!”, or others have argued against allowing members of Council to have a platform here. My favourite complaint is that: “It’s not really a newspaper”. The fact that we are members of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association, that we have received funding from the Canadian Government as a newspaper, and that the Times has won awards for articles and its website, (not to mention the ten years thing) may be relevant here. But there are those who will find fault regardless, so what can you do?
We have reached an interesting point now: an anniversary, a re-elected mayor and council, a feeling that we have ended one era and are heading into a new, perhaps less secure, one. It seems to me to be a good time for me to step away from the Times at last and let fresh minds and younger people deal with the future ahead. I think I must have written well over 400 Editorials since 2012, each one with its own song title attached. And, no doubt, I’ll be back in the future to rant about something, or to add a history article, or a Christian one, to the mix.
But before I go, I have to thank all of you who have supported the Times in its first decade. Whether you agreed or disagreed with what you found here, you have made the paper possible and vibrant. You have made the vision expressed in that first Editorial come about. It has been a genuine honour to get to know this community and its wonderful people. My style, if you can call it that, is a very Irish or European one: it is not the modern style of Canadian journalism, and that has sometimes been offensive to some. But I always believed that honesty is valued by the majority, so long as it is respectful and open to response. And you have responded! Perhaps one sign of the success of the paper has been the loud condemnation that has been heard from people who enjoy abusing us personally and in very nasty terms. They have accepted that we have allowed all sides to have their say, even them. Now, however, when their attacks have become so bitter, we have stopped allowing comments on some articles. Censorship! We should continue to allow them to lie and misrepresent. Well, they have the Letters pages, if they want to go public and display their character there.
The Times is not, and never has been, a paper that followed normal rules of behaviour. We trust readers to think for themselves and make up their own minds, and so we give them the full story. That will continue.
I thank Rob Lunan for getting us started on this path in 2012. Thanks to Gord Logan, Peter Peers, Hilary Thomson, Rachel Everett-Fry, Shannon Lever, and all those who have contributed to making this the Voice of North Grenville. To Jim and Judy, and all of the faithful advertisers without whom no paper would be possible. To all of you who have written letters, op-eds, articles, emails and texts: you make the vision happen every week.
And to all the people who work on the Times now and ever, Pat, Christine, Melissa, Ashley, and Brandon: it has been a pleasure and a challenge for all of us, and I deeply appreciate it. Best wishes to Brandon as he takes on the Editor role: it may be a bumpy ride, but what fun it is too! To Maggie, who designed the Times, who makes it the vibrant and readable thing that it is, my partner in crime.
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Hi David and Maggie
I first met you when I joined North Grenville Business Builders. I had opened my retail store in Creekside Centre in 2006. I remember Maggie would update us on the progress of the NG Community Newsletter. I was glad to see that you have grown this community paper by 2012, called North Grenville Times. I live in Winchester and have for over 48 years and we had a weekly paper, The Winchester Press, which we paid only $1.00 for.
Unfortunately our paper was discontinued when the owner retired and no one took it over. It is great that we have some of yours and Brandon’s Editorials in our Winchester Times. I am also that we not get bi-weekly paper. I like your approaches of leading us to make our own conclusions, but I really like how you both share your observations and beliefs, and not afraid to do so. Free Press, right!
David, enjoy your semi retirement and I know you’ll keep busy and you and Maggie can continue to travel. I know you’ll be sharing more of your thoughts in the months to come.
Oh oh, I didn’t proof read this message very well.
9 lines from the end, please eliminate sentence ,I am also…….paper. It should read I am also glad we now have a bi- weekly paper and hopefully it may become weekly.
David and Maggie
You have done what almost nobody else has achieved recently – opened and successfully run a weekly newspaper in Canada. It’s quite an accomplishment and a testament to your love and devotion to this community. Best wishes going forward in whatever you do and where ever you go.
Congratulations …. a milestone in this age. So glad the NGTs will continue. It is our link to the news of home since making the move west 3 years ago. Enjoy your semi retirement and stay well.