Monday, August 22, 2011

My exit from the Daily Graphic

Here is the last (and only) column that I wrote for the Daily Graphic– a goodbye to all the wonderful people I met.

Rolling into Portage la Prairie last May to start my summer job as a reporter for the Portage Daily Graphic, I wasn’t sure what to expect– this was my first paying gig out of journalism school.

I’ll admit, being from Winnipeg, I wasn’t overly familiar with the community, but I was excited to learn about Portage and all it had to offer. I was also stoked to meet the people who call this place home. From covering the weekly lunches at the Portage Rotary Club to meeting new business owners like Jennifer Lamber of Memories In Time Scrapbooking, or the Aggarwal family who own the two Olina shops in town, there was a learning experience in every story I wrote.

There were also some days that the challenges of this job became personal; even though a reporter is never supposed to become emotionally involved in a story, it’s sometimes impossible. Covering this year’s historic flood that destroyed so many peoples homes and livelihoods, or speaking to Amber McFarland’s mom Lori a day after the missing woman’s 28th birthday were some of the hardest stories I’ve ever had to write. Yet, while my heart broke for these people, it also warmed to the fact that I saw a strength and resiliency that is so rare in the outside world, yet almost ‘normal’ here in Portage.

Outside of the city, in the Central Plains region, I have also been lucky to have met some awesome people, like the folks in MacGregor, who I’ve written a number of stories about this summer. I am in awe of the entire community for how much passion they have for their beloved NorMac arena. When they went up against Arborg for the Kraft Celebration Tour on July 21, I was assigned the duty of following them through their journey. It was an absolute pleasure to report that they had won the contest, and I look forward to celebrating with them on August 27 when TSN’s SportsCentre broadcasts live from MacGregor.

This is an experience is one that I will never forget. Besides being a wonderful career stepping stone, my position at the Daily Graphic has left me with so many wonderful new friends, not only in the office, but out in the community as well. Rest assured that you will see my family and I at the ninth annual Potato Festival next year, and you might bump into me at the MCC every now and again. I’ll definitely be back next strawberry season to indulge in some of the tastiest berries I’ve ever eaten, and if I’m in the city on a Tuesday afternoon, the Rotary Club can expect an extra guest for lunch.

To my colleagues at the Daily Graphic, you have all been so nice, thank you for everything. Everybody in the office keeps telling me the newsroom will be super quiet without me, I am still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing...

Portage la Prairie you have been an excellent host, I will never forget this summer. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

STFU: Things you should never say to people...

Inspired by a tweet I saw this morning, I felt compelled to give a little lesson on etiquette when speaking to other people. Please read carefully, and follow these basic rules of life...

You look tired:
First of all, everybody knows that "you look tired" is code for "you look like shit." Seriously people, nobody ever looks good when they're tired, so you may as well say "you look like a shit with a side of bags under your eyes." Ugh. Second, if I look tired it probably means that I am tired and if I am tired I don't need you to remind me of it, especially if your comment isn't followed up with a solution to my exhaustion. If there is no cozy bed and warm glass of milk at the end of your statement, don't say it. Just don't.

The only exception to this rule is if mom or grandma says it to you, because they gave you life and can therefore say pretty much anything to you, and they're also most likely saying it in a sympathetic way that could land you a nap and a sandwich...

Are you expecting or When is your due date?: I make it a point to NEVER ask a woman if she's pregnant. Never– even if she's nine months along and all baby, I keep my lips sealed. I learned this little trick after someone asked me if I was expecting. ("Um what?! No. No I'm not...")

If mom-to-be slips it into the conversation, go nuts. If someone else slips it into the conversation, go nuts. Just don't bring it up, cause if there's no baby at the end of that question, you've just ruined someone's day and self esteem.

Oh, and if someone calls you out for not noticing or thinks you're rude for not congratulating them, you can just tell them you did notice but you make it a point to never bring it up until someone else does, then tell them about the time you awkwardly congratulated someone who wasn't with child. they'll understand.

Any reference to a person gaining weight: I can't stress this enough: DO NOT TELL SOMEONE THEY'RE GAINING WEIGHT. First of all, they know, good lord do they know! (It was probably super apparent to them when they couldn't zip up their jeans that morning and they had a nervous breakdown because they had nothing to wear that fit...)

If you tell someone (in any way) that they are getting fat, have gained weight, or anything like that, you are an asshole. This includes girls, guys, kids...Anyone. Nobody wants to hear your opinion on their weight. Nobody. Plus, saying this only ruins someone's day and makes them feel bad about themselves.

This includes backwards compliments as well. I know you likely mean well, and you're only trying to be nice when you tell me that I have a "pretty face," or that I "wouldn't look good as a skinny person." But damn, can't you say something nice without bringing my flubs into it?! A simple "You look nice today" will suffice.