Sunday, June 16, 2024

It Takes a Village to Produce a Community Newspaper

By Stephen Vance, Editor

In an attempt to remain calm under pressure, my mantra over the last week has been “stuff happens”. Well, my actual mantra has used slightly less polite language, and has at times been followed by additional expletives, but reminding myself that sometimes stuff does happen and the best course of action is to forge ahead was surprisingly helpful.

When “stuff” does happen, it certainly helps to be located in a community like Meaford, where to a great degree residents are always more than willing to offer a helping hand.

It is a minor miracle that you are reading this editorial. Actually, the fact that this week’s paper is even on the newsstands is somewhat amazing, and there are certainly people deserving of my appreciation as a result.

A computer disaster last Friday rendered my trusty Sony laptop useless, and as a result, all that I had been preparing for this week’s print edition – the articles, the photos, and other research files – was held hostage on a hard drive that for whatever reason had bit the dust.

Saturday morning I took my computer into the shop to see if they could get it running again. Initially I was told that I would most likely have it back Tuesday, but it could be as late as Thursday.

Given that our deadline for getting our paper to the printer is Wednesday night, the prospect of not having my computer back until Thursday caused my head to begin to throb.

Stuff happens,” I kept telling myself as I hauled out my old clunker of a laptop – a trusty Toshiba that has been very good to me over the years, though in today’s digital environment it is painfully slow. “Stuff happens,” I told myself as I patiently waited for the old computer to work at my speed, not at 2004 speed. How quickly we forget how patient we used to have to be.

On Monday morning I received some good news and some bad news. The folks at Kerry’s Computers & Music had my computer ready to go with a new hard drive installed along with the operating system and all the various drivers required to make a computer do what it’s supposed to do.

All of my files however were still held hostage on the damaged hard drive which will need to be sent to a specialist to retrieve them, but at least I had my computer back.

So a big thank you to Kerry’s Computers & Music who worked on my computer over the weekend because “we knew you had to get the paper out”. That is fantastic service, and a true respect for the customer. I hadn’t asked them to put a rush on it, but they did so because they care about their customers.

By Monday afternoon I had all my own software installed on the computer, and files aside I was ready to go.

The second thanks I’d like to extend are to a couple of organizations that I was unable to attend meetings or announcements due to my being very far behind, and with my deadline fast approaching.

So to the Meaford Skating Club and the Kiwanis Club which scheduled a media event to announce a major donation, as well to the Knights of Meaford, who held a public skate to celebrate the completion of their first GMHL season, both events I had planned to attend but found myself unable to do so, I thank you for your understanding.

The TMI team deserves my acknowledgement as well, as they all stepped up to make everything run as smoothly as possible in spite of the shortened time to get the paper to press. So to Susanne, Rhonda, Jennifer, Lynn, and Caleb – thank you – “stuff” happens, but we still get it done.

The fact that “stuff” can happen doesn’t mean that “stuff” has to ruin your week – especially when you are surrounded by a community like Meaford.

It also helps to be prepared when “stuff” does happen. I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been – I should really have two computers on the go with synched files in order to not be at the mercy of the most recent backup which wasn’t as recent as it should have been.

So what have I learned this week?

1 – “Stuff” happens, but somehow, we always seem to find a way to get things done.

2 – It takes a village to produce a community newspaper.

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