Com­pass earns praise from sea­soned writer

The Compass - - OPINION - — Bill West­cott writes from Clarke’s Beach.

The man­date of any re­spon­si­ble com­mu­nity news­pa­per, like The Com­pass, is to in­form its read­ers about cur­rent events that mat­ter. In this par­tic­u­lar case, the staff con­sist­ing of se­nior ed­i­tor Terry Roberts, and re­porters Ni­cholas Mercer and (new to the pro­fes­sion of jour­nal­ism) Melissa Jenk­ins are faced with an awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity.

For one who has worked my en­tire pro­fes­sional life as a news­pa­per reporter/colum­nist and press re­la­tions of­fi­cer for the CBC, I know very well what an awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity there is in the pub­lic use of names and events and how, to use Jack Webb’s (Drag­net) slo­gan, “The facts, ma’am, just the facts,” are the hall­mark of any suc­cess­ful pub­li­ca­tion.

Roberts and his team are handed the torch as this pop­u­lar weekly news­pa­per en­ters its 45th year. For­mer pro­fes­sional writ­ers, re­porters, pho­tog­ra­phers and ed­i­tors, who made this weekly com­mu­nity news­pa­per such a suc­cess, (as­sur­ing its cred­i­bil­ity and im­por­tance), left be­hind a legacy that is “sec­ond to none” in the Transcon­ti­nen­tal news­pa­per fam­ily. Hats off to each of them.

It is a hec­tic pace to is­sue a weekly news­pa­per on a nor­mal ba­sis. How­ever, at a time of elec­tions, par­tic­u­larly mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions, the pace is hor­rific.

Pro­vin­cial elec­tion cov­er­age is much eas­ier, I would imag­ine.

Mu­nic­i­pally, there are so many towns and com- mu­ni­ties that have to be cov­ered, prior to and dur­ing the ac­tual elec­tion, in this case on Sept. 24.

Places in Trin­ity and Con­cep­tion bays are scat­tered, some easy to reach and oth­ers a fair dis­tance away from the Com­pass head­quar­ters in Car­bon­ear. It is a long haul, one might say.

In the Sept. 10 is­sue, the Com­pass news team pro­vided cov­er­age in depth from eight sep­a­rate dis­tricts. In­clud­ing Clarke’s Beach, Heart’s De­sire, Spa­niard’s Bay, Har­bour Grace, Cupids, Bri­gus, Salmon Cove and Bishop’s Cove. A re­mark­able as­sign­ment for a larger news­pa­per like The Tele­gram, but a stag­ger­ing ac­com­plish­ment for a weekly with a jour­nal­is­tic staff of three.

Next time you browse through your Com­pass think for a minute, all those sto­ries (and pho­tos) with all those facts come as a re­sult of mak­ing ap­point­ments, re­search, travel, in­ter­views, pa­tience, be­ing well-pre­pared and hours on the com­puter where the fi­nal story is writ­ten and checked be­fore go­ing to press.

I say hats off to the Com­pass staff for an ex­cep­tional job well done on each and ev­ery is­sue. No won­der you’re called “the gem of the bay.”

As for cur­rent mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion cov­er­age, sadly, your work has only be­gun.

So folks, stay tuned!

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