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When print was king

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

I often think fondly of my days as a journalist. I trained as a journalist in a post-degree program and wrote for weekly newspapers in the UK and southwestern Ontario. It was the late ‘90s, early 2000s, and a good deal of what I wrote then – all of it, actually – is no longer on the internet.

For the past dozen years, I worked for a local municipality, and one of the projects in my portfolio for all of those years was a 12-page, then four-page, publication for the general public. It comprised a large portion of my work, but it underwent a name change and the municipality introduced a new website; only the new iteration was carried over to the new website. A few issues of the publication are available online elsewhere.

You can see this creates some challenges when you’re trying to get back into writing freelance. Editors want to see links to your work, and when the links aren’t there, you are an unknown.

I discovered some floppy discs a few years ago. I had to explain to my kids what they were. I’d saved a good deal of my writing on these, and although they were written in WordPerfect (remember that?!), a friend converted them to Word for me. I’ve spent the past couple of days going through some of those – the most memorable interviews, reviews of concerts, festivals and theatre performances I’d attended as an arts editor for the Irish World 1998-2001. Those were the days.

How easy it was to write a 1,200-word feature interview then! I knew the questions to ask, I took amazing photographs of the subject (yeah, they’re not digital, either), and I loved the work. It shows in my writing.

As importantly, I’m honoring the joy of the work I did then by posting some of those interviews and reviews here. At least there will be an online presence of some sort. And just maybe you’ll be interested in reading some 20-year-old stories from back in the day when print was still king.

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