Changing of the guard

We have begun a new era at the Fort Frances Times with a trusted new editor.
My first writing adventure was an assignment by Mr. Steve Bond, my English teacher. At the time I didn’t think of him as a good teacher but over time I have come to realize that he taught me about research, essay writing, and making sure assignments were in on time. He had no forgiveness as a teacher.
This particular assignment had me interviewing Times’ editor Carl Schubring on his expectations of what economic benefits the Noden Causeway would bring to the community. The interview lasted about 15 minutes and afterward, my father inquired if I had gathered enough information in those 15 minutes to write a 3,000-word essay. Schubring told him that it would have to be the best padding of a story ever just to get it over 1,000 words.
Needless to say, when the essay handed in was marked and came back graded, it hardly achieved a “C.” There were some harsh remarks in red stroked over the paper.
It wasn’t until I had returned to Fort Frances and came under the demanding eye of Carl Schubring that I realized how difficult he was to please. Mr. Schubring did not suffer fools and if he had to rewrite your story, you knew about it. Your byline could only be part of the story if it was a superbly written story.
It took me two years to finally get my name associated with a story and not just “Times Staff.” That first byline felt tremendous.
When Carl Schubring retired, Harry Vandetti assumed the role of editor. We still were using typewriters and he could pound out stories easily.
The issue with Harry was that he knew almost everyone in the community and if you were directed to write a story, you better submit it with more information than Harry had gained in his coffee shop discussions. He seemed to have his fingers on the pulse of the community from Mine Centre to Rainy River.
Recommended by his uncle, Mike Behan came to us fresh out of Carleton University. Two years into his career, Mike was made editor–a position that he held for 28 years.
Mike was a teacher. He mentored and trained over 20 journalists who passed through the doors of the newspaper.
Mike was a stickler for details and accuracy. He edited for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Then he began meticulously reviewing the story or column for details, often calling back reporters for clarification and requesting more information. I trusted Mike that my column would be well-edited and often the final result was far better than my original as he reviewed it.
We welcome Duane Hicks as our newest editor. Duane brings a slightly different focus to the job, having evolved in the news room from rookie reporter to senior reporter often assuming the role of editor during Mike’s holidays.
He has written some of the toughest stories across the district. Well-known and well-respected, I congratulate Duane on taking over the helm of the newspaper.

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