The real 2016 year-in-review, 2017 look-ahead

It’s 2017 somewhere now… so might as well write the traditional look-back/look-ahead post.

My favourite thing this week has been watching people anthropomorphize 2016 and blame it for everything that went wrong, and then watching pedants remind them that a year is not sentient or capable of independent thought and action, so it’s foolish to blame it for anything.

Still… we are definitely coming to the end of a sub-par 365 day stretch in human history and somebody’s got to own it: Blame 2016, blame Mercury in retrograde, blame Putin, the DNC’s permeable firewalls, Nigel Farage, or our failure to offer the appropriate sacrifices to Odin.

2016 certainly got off to an uncertain start for me. I ended 2015 by walking away from a 10-year stretch as news director at a local radio station and wondering if there was much point in continuing in media.

It’s a tough – borderline impossible – freelance market. Broadcast and print newsrooms have been shrinking. Trust in journalism is at a low ebb. The pay is marginal. A guy staring 50 in the face would have done well to get out.

But, as they say in those old spy movies “just when I thought I could get out, they pulled me back in.”

Changes at my erstwhile competition – the Coast Reporter newspaper – offered an opening for regular work and a chance to produce a new podcast for them. I decided to give it a chance. Our podcast is still finding its place in the local media landscape, but it’s getting there, and it’s turned out to be a fun way to put my broadcasting experience to use. I’ve also discovered that my journalistic mojo wasn’t as depleted as I thought. I still miss the coaching and on-air roles that were part of my old job, but all-in-all it’s been a good year.

Top: My first Coast Reporter front page story from 2016.               Bottom: Getting ready to record Coast Beat

Good enough, in fact, that 2017 will see me in a slightly expanded role at the Coast Reporter. I’ve agreed to come aboard full-time, and train to be able to stand-in as editor when needed. I’ll also have a little more time to devote to the Coast Beat podcast (which returns from the holiday break in the first week of January – look for it at iTunes or Soundcloud).

And, as a bonus, I’ll get to cover at least one more provincial election… and it’s shaping up to be an interesting race here in Powell River – Sunshine Coast.

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