My perspective - The end


By Kate Jackman-Atkinson

Neepawa Banner & Press

Like that, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. Earlier this year, when I gave my notice, I planned to spend a lot more time reflecting on the almost 14 years I spent at the Banner, including the 13 years writing this column. It’s amazing how quickly the world changed.

Last week, I found two plastic bags of Neepawa Banners from 2007 and 2008.

Included in those bags was my very first column. It appeared in the Apr. 30, 2007 edition and was started when Banner owner and publisher Ken Waddell stepped back from his column to run in the provincial election. That first My Perspective was about the election, a topic I would come back to almost as frequently as I shared my thoughts on small businesses, rural living, agriculture and the dismal state of rural connectivity.

Writing this column has been a favourite part of my newspaper career, though it wasn’t always that way. The first year of writing My Perspective was nerve wracking. Every other type of writing relies on quoting other people, reporting someone else’s words and thoughts. It’s different with a column– the whole purpose is to share your own thoughts, opinions and interpretations. It’s yourself you’re putting out there and you have to defend your opinions when angry readers call. It took a while to get used to, but at some point, writing My Perspective became my favourite part of the week.

While the column was me, most of my work at the Banner was about others. It was about people sharing their best and worst days with me and for that, I am extremely grateful. It gave me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and learn so much, experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

It’s hard to pick favourites, but a few stories stand out. One was a happy story, the interview I did with Darryl Kulbacki and his sister, Karla Hall. I talked to them while they were recuperating after Hall had donated a kidney to her brother, who had been experiencing kidney failure for close to a decade. It wasn’t all good news; talking to those who had experienced a destructive fire is hard to forget. I remember taking a picture of Rick Knechtel in November 2008, standing where his office was, before the major fire at Prairie Forest Products.

The most memorable story I had the privilege of working on though, was a team effort— our commemoration to the 70th anniversary of VE Day. In putting together this feature, we talked to numerous area residents about where they were and what they were doing when they heard that victory in Europe had been declared. The interviewees included those who had been on the front lines in Europe and the Pacific, as well as those at home. For me, this feature was so special because over the next few years, many of the people I spoke to passed, and today, there are very few who can speak to this experience first-hand. I feel proud we were able to record those memories when we did.

I’ve had the great pleasure of working with so many talented colleagues over the years. I feel proud of the work we’ve done and my contributions to informing Westman. I know the current staff will keep the Banner’s valued readers informed and entertained.

I’ve written columns all sorts of places– in the office, at home, on vacation. But they were most often written at my dining room table, in the dark and quiet, when there were only my thoughts. I’ll still have thoughts and opinions and I’ll still be happy to share them, when you see me around.