RETIREMENT DAY ONE:
Normally, on a Monday, I would be rolling into work some time around now. I would get a start on sorting through letters to the editor, attend a management meeting at 10, followed by a story meeting with our city editor and reporters. Mid to late morning, I would look at the advertising placements with our “Traffic” department and decide whether to move anything around or possibly to add or subtract pages.
Then I’d go back to lining up the Opinion pages, and get a start on writing my column for the Tuesday edition. Three columns a week. Did that for a long time; before that, a column a week for decades.
The phone would ring — the people at the other end would be looking for some publicity for an upcoming event, or they’d be angry about a story we’d published, or they’d have a problem with government or a cause they hoped we’d take up for them, or want us to cover a meeting or a protest or an anniversary or a speech or….
So the day would go, until our second story meeting of the day late in the afternoon, when the other editors and I would discuss what we had been covering during the day, and what was coming out of the wire services, and which stories we should choose and which pages to put them on.
And then I’d help out with copy editing.
And none of that is happening today. Friday was my last day on the job. Today, being my first day not on the job, is my first real day retired. All last week, I was treated royally, honoured at a reception, taken out for lunch a couple of times, toasted by staff in our boardroom. Many, many wonderful cards and emails from people I’ve come to know, and quite a few I’ve never met.
One of the gifts I was presented with is what is called The Mel Rothenburger Journalism Bursary, a $500 award for a TRU journalism student in need of financial assistance. It is to be presented, in my name, by The Daily News and Glacier Media Group and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.
In Saturday’s Armchair Mayor column, my last as editor of The Daily News, I wrote about some of the young journalists we had working for us this summer, and how they reminded me of me when I started in newspapers.
One of the things I’ll miss most about my job, of course, is the people I’ve worked with and the people I’ve come to know in the community. I’m going to find ways not to lose touch.
There’s also a loss of identity. I’m no longer the Editor of the local daily newspaper. When I introduce myself to someone, I’m just Mel. I’ll find new ways to identify myself.
And, obviously, new things to do that don’t involve meetings and copy editing and figuring out stories for reporters and editors to work on. I spent part of my morning today on the phone with Robin at Johnson’s Ground Water Services figuring out how to get the float in our water settling tank working again so I can get water in the house.
Getting that done was pretty rewarding. But I’ve got a lot of other things to do today, so I’ve got to get moving.