By Emily Stonehouse
I sleep with a notebook beside my bed.
Usually, my favourite ideas slither into my groggy mind at approximately 3 a.m.
I had a few ideas for this week’s editorial. Conversations around council meetings. The sleepiness of the economy during the winter months. How there is still no decision about a Bob Lake boat launch after years and years of talking in circles.
Despite a scribbly notebook chock full of local news stories that I see the value in unpacking in an editorial at some point in time, that wasn’t what stood out to me the most this week.
This week, it wasn’t the traditional “news” that had me diving for a story. It was the people. The community. The kids.
I was invited to join a two-day workshop and performance with Razzamataz Kids’ Shows. They were featuring a dance troupe called Odawa Wiingushk, who are an indigenous group based out of Ottawa, and represent three different dance styles to educate the youth of communities across Canada, also known as Turtle Island.
I watched as over 20 kids, all under the age of 12, joined this group in laughter, celebration, and dance. It didn’t matter that there were different upbringings. Different challenges. Different perspectives. What mattered, in that moment, is that they all felt seen, heard, and together.
Following the workshop, I wandered over to Jack Rabbit ski lessons at Glebe Park. I heard squeals of kids whooshing down hills around me. The sweet smell of hot chocolate as volunteers doled it out; cold fingers curling around steaming mugs. I watched as tiny children slid along in their first pair of skis, barely able to walk yet, but thrilled to be slipping along with the other kids. A large group of people, feeling seen, heard, and together.
When it’s your job to find the news, that’s all you do. Every interaction has the possibility of a story behind it. I’ve read through editorials in other newspapers. I’ve waded through the subjective stances of editors and writers who feel it is their job to cut to the truth. The meat of the papers. The headlines that will sell the most issues.
I understand that many decisions are made with business in mind, and I get that. I also understand that it’s human nature to want to understand the dirt; to know the names, to dig deeper, to cut to the chase.
There’s a time and place for this news. It does belong out there in the world, readers do deserve to see it, editors do have to write about it.
I was worried about writing an editorial that focused on community connections, but all week, I kept coming back to it. Some weeks aren’t like that (debatably, most), but this one was. I feared that if I skipped the big points and wrote a piece on the teeny tiny workings of our town, it would be considered “fluff.” That the readers wouldn’t take our paper seriously. That I would be seen as soft.
Like any week, there have been highs and lows. I kept looking for more news. To cover more ground. To break more bulletins. I was looking for the big picture, when in reality, the “news” was happening right in front of me. It was kids giggling together in the warm winter sun. It was parents waving proudly while they snapped pictures of their little skiers. It was a community that showed up together to learn, listen, and reflect.
So, at the end of the day, beyond the breaking news and the notebook of ideas, I still believe that the content that should get out there in some form, is the stuff that makes you feel seen, heard, and together. And this week, that’s what our community was all about.