By Chad Ingram
2020 has been a year of many changes, and readers will notice some at the Minden Times and its sister publications starting next week.
After more than a decade as the managing editor of the Times, the Haliburton County Echo, and sister publications in Bancroft, Jenn Watt will be departing the newspapers to pursue new career opportunities.
A journalist with the papers for 13 years and managing editor for more than 11 of those, Jenn has guided the papers with steadfastness, grace under pressure, acute attention to detail, utter intelligence and a deep commitment to the community of Haliburton County. Journalism is a challenging, often stressful and sometimes thankless vocation, and the community owes Jenn a huge degree of thanks for her many years of very hard work.
There’s what readers see on the pages of the newspapers – the writing and the photos –and then there are the countless hours of compiling page plans, editing and re-editing, fielding phone calls and emails, research, conducting interviews, covering meetings and events, managing websites and social media accounts, and making sometimes difficult decisions about editorial direction. It is often unglamorous work, often a slog, and only someone with an immense passion for the craft of journalism and heartfelt dedication to community could do the job as long and as incredibly well as Jenn has. I often refer to the papers’ editorial department as a well-oiled machine, and Jenn has been the engine of that machine for many years.
At the newspapers, there will be some reorganization on the editorial side of operations. Rather than having one overarching managing editor, in Bancroft, long-time reporter Nate Smelle will become editor of the papers there. Here in Minden, yours truly will become editor of the Times. In Haliburton, we’ll be joined by a new team member, Mike Baker, an experienced journalist who most recently was managing editor of the Orangeville Citizen, Caledon Citizen and Shelburne Free Press and will become editor of the Echo, as well as weekly publication County Life. Welcome to Mike.
2020 has demonstrated in many ways that life’s only constant is change. And while change can be daunting, it also teaches us new things and allows us to grow. While sometimes painful, it is also sometimes necessary.
After a dozen years of working together, or nearly one third of both our lives, it’s an understatement to say that I will miss Jenn, and I wish her all the best in her life’s new direction.