A dream realized- Where I’ve come from and where we are going

After a few subtle hints, the offer had been made.

I was learning the business of media at the foot of former Gazette editor Ross Lees in the spring of 1996 through the PECI Cooperative education program and my dear mentor had finally instructed me to give up this idea of pursuing a career in radio and focus on print journalism because there was a job awaiting after I graduated from a post-secondary institution.

But like many a young county boy with an idea in their brain and a head full of steam, I was convinced I was going to be the next ‘Rodney Radio.’

It wasn’t until a year and a half into successfully navigating a two year program for a Radio diploma at Loyalist College I realized my on-air acumen would necessitate using a station in the hinterlands of Dryden or New Liskeard, ON as a launch pad for a career of reading bus cancelations and promoting a new album of some description.

That wasn’t for me.

I loved Prince Edward County and couldn’t want for a better place to live.

Always have, always will.

This place was in my blood.

In the faces and voices of my friends and family.

So I graduated Loyalist, returned to the farm to plant my father’s soybeans, sharpened skates at DeRoche Sports World and wondered what was next.

After a few aimless years, it was my dear aunt Wanda who finally took me to task and explained I was wasting my talent.

Your humble scribe wasn’t sure what my talent was exactly and neither did she but it had be something more than my current employment which was a tech support job that required walking southerners in the United States through installing printers and scanners and such.

Luckily Lees was still at the helm of Canada’s oldest community newspaper and open to a sports column that would tackle current local and national subjects.

After a few months of churning out columns, my friend once again came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse and, starting in January of 2005, I was the greenest reporter ever to set foot in the Gazette editorial department.

Over these past 14 plus years I’ve had the honour of working under Lees and later Adam Bramburger, two balanced and thoughtful editors that cared so deeply for this community.

Both guided me and my writing with a strong hand, an available ear and shoulder to lean on in times of personal and professional glory and turmoil.

I treasure their mentorship and friendship greatly.

Accepting this duty to correspond with you is not some lark taken lightly.

It’s the highest of high honours for me to undertake this role of representing the newspaper of record for this community.

As has been our trademark for generations of Prince Edward County readers, this space commits to providing a balanced and thoughtful voice, offering congratulations and criticisms concerning the news of the day. In the coming weeks, the Gazette will be welcoming a pair of new faces that are eager to tell your stories and report on the news and the happenings in Prince Edward County.

I look forward to sharing this new adventure with you.

-Jason Parks