by Nelson Daily Sports on Jun 16 2013
by Contributor on Jun 15 2013
by Graham Kenyon on Jun 14 2013
by Arlen MacLaine on Jun 14 2013
by Castlegar Source on Jun 13 2013
by Murray Dobbin on Tuesday Jun 18 2013
by Miranda Holmes on Monday Jun 17 2013
by Katrine Conroy on Sunday Jun 16 2013
by Michael Jessen on Thursday Jun 13 2013
by Arlen MacLaine on Thursday Jun 13 2013
OUT OF LEFT FIELD: What was important in 2012
I’ve been trying for days to pen a year-in-review column, and God knows there’s no lack of material. Just within our little business world, there’s been the launch of The Trail Champion, The Castlegar Source’s Facebook supremacy (yes, that was a little bit of a brag, I’m so very delighted to see 1,632 people following our headlines on Facebook) and the thrill of welcoming several new contributors, the most notable of whom being our new columnist, Christine Esovoloff.
It terms of the news itself, what an eventful year! The Johnson’s Landing mudslide, the tragic loss of a Christina Lake child in a freak summer windstorm, the overdose at Shambhala and a daring river rescue in Trail. There were the amazing photo galleries sent in by readers during flooding throughout the tri-city area, with compelling images from Nelson, Castlegar and Trail topping news coverage across the country.
It was even a remarkable year for wildlife - I, personally, was taken aback by the cougar that just sauntered into a Trail woman’s home, not to mention a bizarre hike in home invasions committed by bears from one end of the region to the other.
The point being, I’m facing no lack of fodder for a column, but rather a lack of focus. Just outlining the top stories of the year is for articles, not opinion pieces. A column should talk, not just about the news, but about what it means; how we can (and maybe should) interpret the previous year’s news in terms of moving forward in our lives as individuals and as communities.
None of this year’s major headlines struck me as pivotal; none of them indicative of a groundswell change of which we need be aware. The shooting in Conneticut was sad, but even sadder is the fact that it’s not a new phenomenon. The mudslide was life-altering and tragic for everyone involved, but I don’t think it implied a necessary change in how most of us live, work or play. Certainly, the extreme weather made an argument about preparing for climate change … but that’s an argument being made by hundreds of people around the globe. No point in my re-inventing that wheel.
Instead, I was just spinning my wheels, trying to write a column in which I really had nothing to say.
And that’s when epiphany happened – my Facebook friends will tell you, when I’m suffering writer’s block, I tend to procrastinate by spending far too much time on Facebook, where I can be clever without ever really having anything of value to say (although they may argue the “clever” part).
So as I was procrastinating, a friend of a friend posted a series of photos about a missing dog named Luke on my personal Facebook feed. The owners were clearly frantic for his return. Meanwhile, on The Source Facebook page, someone had posted that they’d found a dog, and did any Source readers know who his people were?
It took very little back-and-forth to confirm the dog was, indeed, Luke, and an ecstatic doggie dad was reunited with his overjoyed furry family member… a small thing, perhaps, but ridiculously touching for those of us able to participate.
And THAT’S the important news coming from The Source and The Champion this year and, I hope, for many years to come. If the Internet has brought us a whole new way of delivering news, it has also brought us a whole new way of being a community – of coming together, of working together, of feeling like we’re in this together.
During the flooding crisis, we were able to provide updates to people who have family here but have relocated all around the world. We could ease their minds about the well-being of our community, and share images that made them feel connected and not so far away. But that was just our job – and only the tip of a massive iceberg.
You see, I and my colleagues weren’t the only ones posting. From mudslides to flooding to car accidents to lost dogs, we’ve been getting minute-by-minute information from readers throughout the tri-cities and beyond – all via Facebook. It’s wonderful.
It doesn’t always feel wonderful – the shared sense of fear when we learned of a fatal accident near Birchbank, the relief as we discovered our own commuting loved ones weren’t involved, then finally our shared grief for the friends and family of the man who was lost. I know several people who had children at Pines Bible Camp when a windstorm killed a child there, and I know I wasn’t alone in feeling deeply sick – with fear for them, and mourning for the family who would ultimately have to face the worst news the world can give.
But I think that’s the key here – I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling that. I believe a contributing factor in much of the strife we see, from addictions to violence to vandalism, is borne of a deep-rooted sense of disconnection, one we promote in our society with solitary pursuits like television, video games, even reading. We’re no longer pioneers who need our neighbours to survive – so many of us don’t get to know our neighbours at all.
The Internet has not only given a chance to deliver up-to-the-minute news – it’s also given us a way, despite our busy lives and frantic schedules, to share our human experience and connect with people we probably wouldn’t even know, otherwise.
So here’s my pick for top news story of the year, about a local lady who decided to use new media and the Internet to foster a sense of togetherness and community. Maybe not fodder for CNN … but still, in my humble opion, the most important statement local news has made all year (by the way, updated numbers have 94,839 people invited, 12,836 people attending, and almost 2,000 maybes) http://castlegarsource.com/news/local-woman-sparks-international-movement-thousands-followers-using-facebook-22493#.UOHty-Q0WSp
Whether it’s politics, tragedy, acts of God, crime or business, the news should do more than inform. It should provide us a baseline that tells us who we are, from whence we came and – hopefully – where we’re headed. I’m so grateful so many of you have chosen to share the journey with us and each other, and I hope 2013 brings more of the same. All the best to you and yours in the New Year, from The Castlegar Source, The Trail Champion, and all of us in the Lone Sheep media family.
Kyra Hoggan is editor of The Castlegar Source and The Trail Champion.