With a heavy heart, but eyes on the horizon, in this week’s edition of ‘Shoot First, Ask Later’ I will be announcing my fond farewell from The Voice of North Durham. After two wonderful years, It’s time for me to close the book on this chapter of my life – and begin a new page.
The past two years, beginning with my internship at the paper in April of 2013, have been nothing short of amazing. I’ve learned every step of the intricate process that takes photos in a card and scribbles in a notepad, to a full edition of the paper arriving on your doorstep.
This job has never seemed like work to me, because I enjoy all parts of my duties, and the wonderful people I have met, photographed, and interviewed along the way. North Durham holds a treasure-trove of local stories, personalities and photos – and I wish the best of luck to the reporter who is lucky enough to take my place.
Looking back on my first column, entitled ‘Have camera, will travel’, I held the mindset of a young and green Photojournalism graduate from Loyalist College – out to make a name in North Durham through my photos. Luckily, I was able to quickly expand my horizons to include Municipal Council meetings, the ‘Scugog Beat’, and in-depth feature stories.
The Standard has been the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet, become comfortable with approaching strangers, and learning to work on a tight deadline – but at 21, I’m a young photojournalist who needs to see as much of this ‘Big Blue Marble’ as I can.
I’ll try to answer the burning question – where will you see my by-lines appear next? For my next step, I’ll be taking a position that will allow me to focus on my photography - which will help me reach my goal of shooting with National Geographic.
Still, there's no ‘favourite’ or ‘best’ interview, no ‘greatest’ event, because there were simply too many over the past two years that left a mark.
Every person who I’ve interviewed, or stopped for a photo – whether they’re in the paper almost every week, or had never experienced their quarter-page of fame before – has been incredible. To all of those who have met me in person, or let me know they read this column, I’d like to extend a sincere thank you for helping me tell your story. It’s the advice and comments that drive me to push myself - as I strive to make the next leap.
Life in the news world carries its ups and downs – but it’s all a matter of perspective. Whereas some days, spending 13 hours straight hours in Council with only a coffee break can seem like a staggering prospect - when I’m hearing our local community voice their thoughts on the Greenbank Airways site, the Caesarea Skate Park, and the municipal budget - it’s all worthwhile.
There may not be a ‘best’ event to name, but there are a few highlights. One of the first which pops into my head is the Scugog election of a mostly rookie Council – as well as following the moves and shakes of those who held their seats before.
Other stories near to my heart are covering the annual powwows and drum social’s on Scugog Island, spending nights with the Port Perry FIRST Robotics team, and afternoons with the folks at the Port Perry Hospital, Kent Farndale gallery and Scugog Council for the Arts building.
Perhaps the most personally impacting moments were spending time with both Carol Hodgkins, and the men and women of the Port Perry and Uxbridge Legion - for our annual Remembrance Day articles.
The fact is, I’m proud to tell the stories of North Durham - and her people, and I owe it all to the readers. In a way, it’s all cyclical, and leads back to that first columns years ago. I have a camera, and it’s time to travel.
For those who wish to reach me, or stay in touch, I can be contacted via my web site - www.BenjaminPriebe.ca.