By Mike Baker
It’s 2 a.m. on the morning of my first real production day with the Echo. Despite already writing a dozen versions of this introductory piece, here I am, with a deadline fast approaching, still umming and ahing about what to say.
You only get the one chance to make a good first impression, right?
Well, here goes nothing. Take 13. Or 14… Honestly, I’ve lost count now.
I come to Haliburton after almost a decade working as a reporter and editor for a handful of publications across Ontario and Alberta. Most recently, I ran the newsrooms of the Orangeville Citizen, Caledon Citizen and Shelburne Free Press. Looking back over my career, I’ve had a lot of fun thus far. I still find it incredible that I get paid to go out into a community and listen to people’s stories. Of course, there’s more to the job, but that’s the most important one. Tapping into the pulse of your community and sharing its tales.
Before I can get started on all of that, though, I guess I should share my story. Or at least part of it.
Born and raised in Manchester, England, I moved to Canada at the ripe old age of 16. Living with my grandparents, I treated my first couple of years as something of an extended vacation. Sure, I enrolled in high school, playing out my grade 11 and 12 years at IE Weldon Secondary School in nearby Lindsay, but it was a far cry from the strict, robust schooling system I was used to back home. Think Potions class with Professor Snape… It’s a lot closer to the truth than you’d think.
I actually visited Haliburton on several occasions during those youthful years, as part of Weldon’s men’s soccer team. I got to know the four walls of the local Subway quite well during that period – now I hope to extend that to the wider community as I embark on this new adventure as editor of the Echo.
I have a tremendous job in front of me, of that I am well aware. The Echo has a great reputation, not only here in Ontario, but across Canada. As a serial winner of both provincial and national awards, the Echo is a publication that demands excellence and I’m incredibly excited to join its talented team of journalists.
I’ve truly loved what I’ve seen from this community in my first week here in town. My wife and I are in that stage of our lives where we’re really looking to lay down some roots, and I can think of no better place to do so than Haliburton.
I’m looking forward to meeting as many people as possible over the coming weeks and months – at a safe social distance, of course. Should you wish to reach out with a news tip, a helpful history brief of the town, or a good, old-fashioned chat about how the Toronto Maple Leafs are absolutely, positively going to break their decades long hoodoo and finally win a Stanley Cup this coming season, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at 705-457-1037 ext. 39. I will always make time for the people of this community.