By Trevor Busch
Well, it’s been a good run.
After more than a dozen years at the Taber Times and Vauxhall Advance, I’ve departed this month to take on the city editor role at the Lethbridge Herald. And while that will no doubt be a new challenge and next step in my career, I still have mixed feelings leaving a community I’ve dedicated myself to through good times and bad, and I will miss the people I’ve met and formed friendships with over the years.
That being said, not everyone will be sad to see me go. Through Community Standards bylaws, new fire halls, franchise fees and all the controversial stories that can come and go and that make up the fabric of a community, journalists inevitably rub some people the wrong way.
All I can say is I always tried to do my best to craft well-rounded, ethical stories that carried both sides of an issue. The jury is probably still deliberating about that statement, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business it is this — when you’re a writer, you’re never going to please everyone, and trying is an exercise in futility.
If everyone on both sides of an issue aren’t that pleased, that’s how you know you’re probably doing a pretty good job. That probably sounds terrible to some people, but for those in the journalism game, I assure you they know exactly what I mean.
That always makes most good journalism a pretty thankless job, but thanks to anyone who reached out over the years to thank me for the work I’ve done in promoting and exposing issues and holding local governments to account. It’s human nature, of course, more people will reach out to complain about a story than will congratulate you. Unfortunately, that’s just the business.
I’ve always had a passion for editorial writing, columns and comment, and I’d like to think I’ve generated a small following over the years for my forays into the printed word through my semi-regular book reviews in “The Last Word.”
For those who subscribe to the Herald or wish to keep reading my work, I hope to continue this tradition in Lethbridge.
History has always been important to me, and it was perhaps inevitable — and a constant source of great pride — I served a community institution that has served this community, through good times and bad, for 110 years.
Few businesses in this region can claim such an unbroken track record of continuity, and community newspapers are living examples of history, a reflection of the hopes, the fears, the prejudices, the triumphs, down through the decades. I truly hope this tradition continues for another century and more, but with digital giants like Facebook and Google monopolizing more and more ad revenue in Canada and the federal government foot-dragging over controls and restrictions in this area, community newspapers are under threat like never before. Don’t take these institutions for granted and assume they’ll always be here whether you support them or not. And anyone who believes broadcast or other media is immediately going to step in and fill that vacuum has taken a permanent holiday in cloud cuckoo land.
Ably taking over the reins at the Times-Advance is new editor Stan Ashbee. That name might sound familiar to readers who have been subscribers for more than a decade, as Ashbee started out his journalism career at the Times, as a reporter/photographer in the early 2010s before taking over the Sunny South News, and later the Westwind Weekly News, numerous freelance gigs and most recently as managing editor of the Maple Creek News/Maple Creek Advance-Times in Saskatchewan.
Stan has a passion for entertainment writing and features, as well as news writing — and will be bringing this to the next level for local readers in 2021, along with reporter/photographer and Vauxhall Advance editor Cole Parkinson.
As I close one chapter in the book of life and open a new one a few miles further out west, I find myself reflecting on the recent past and the twists, turns and curveballs life sometimes throws us. I never planned to be here as long as I have been post-college, but it is a testament to the greatness of this community that my original two-year plan transformed into a dozen.
Before I go, I want to say I’ve spent some of the best years of my life in this community, down or up, thick or thin. Don’t sell yourself short Taber, you deserve every accolade and pat on the back that comes your way. There are only a handful of communities I’ve witnessed in my time that are as dedicated to charity, community spirit, youth and the betterment of our fellow citizens — as this one.