COLUMN: Perry Bergson — Jan. 27, 2014

Perry
Perry Bergson
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Perry Bergson

You’re reading the 100th column I’ve written for the Prince Albert Daily Herald.

It’s now 700 days since I started my job as managing editor on Feb. 27, 2012. One month today I’ll celebrate two years here.

And I will celebrate.

A lot of my spare time in recent years has been spent testing my own limits. It’s a natural part of my character to achieve one goal and then to see if I could have pushed further or faster.

My bride would tell you that it’s out-and-out stubbornness; I go and go and go. It’s helped me to two Ironman finish lines and it’s helped me in this job.

The hours that I work here might have surprised me prior to the move. The love for photography that I’ve rediscovered wouldn’t have.

The affection that I almost immediately felt for Prince Albert would have surprised me. The speed at which I made a really great bunch of friends wouldn’t have.

I’m glad that I didn’t take the job thinking it was an easy one. I have days where it’s all sunshine and rainbows and then I’ll have days where a fulfilling career in janitorial seems like a big step up.

It can get a little overwhelming as the phone rings and the email floods in and the visitors walk through the door and my newsroom colleagues have issues that I need to help solve. I no longer believe in multitasking; you can do one thing at a time really well or three things at a time poorly. It’s one of many lessons I’ve learned as a first-time manager.

There have been a lot of lessons, some of which I could have guessed the answer to. I’m better with people than I am with paperwork because the former fascinates me and the latter bores me.

Early on I struggled with criticism levelled at myself and my younger colleagues; now I’ve become strangely numb to it. I guess that’s what a campaign in the community to put us out of business does to you.

You stop listening and caring about what the most relentlessly negative people among us think. You’ll never change an egg-sucking dog so it’s silly to worry when they bark.

I’m proud of a lot of what we’ve done over the time those 100 columns were written.

Dave Leaderhouse has done a tremendous job providing the city with its most complete sports coverage. With Andrew Schopp now on board, a good thing has gotten even better.

It’s a theme I can repeat over and over. Nobody does it better at City Hall than Tyler Clarke. Nobody covers health in the city better than Jodi Schellenberg. Nobody writes a better profile than Matt Gardner. A succession of interns in the last year from Kevin Hampson to Eric Bell to Jason Kerr have all stepped in and done wonderful work.

And nobody covers arts and entertainment better than our whole team.

I’m generally not one to toot my own horn but I have no compunctions about talking up the people around me.

We’ve accomplished some things that I’m very, very proud of. It feels like the wind is just starting to fill our sails and even some of our critics in the community are noticing.

Just wait.

In my usual fashion, it’s time to circle back to the place where I started 500 words ago.

I’m my own harshest critic so I find most of the 100 columns I’ve written here almost unreadable. Like wine, they seem to get a bit better with time. I guess the vintage remains a bit fresh for my tastes.

The columns that I like the best are invariably the most personal, and that makes them the hardest to write. I don’t like to make my friends unwilling participants in my weekly offering; I’ve never provided my beautiful wife’s name because she’s entitled to some degree of privacy.

When I was in Brandon I wrote a bi-weekly column for many years. Even at that rate, I struggled at times for ideas.

The thought of writing a weekly column here in Prince Albert -- with each of them posted on the Internet and available to its global audience -- was quite frankly daunting.

Some weeks I’ve done better than others. In my 11th column here I mused about my relationship with my father and finished the column with the best, most complete six words I’ve written.

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing my wife and dog and what they mean to me.

I’ve tried to write the column about my mom but it just never comes out right. I am my dad; that’s easy. Capturing the essence of the other most important relationship in my 48 years has been fruitless.

I came close when I suggested that I’m home when I’m with them but I neglected to mention that it doesn’t matter where we are.

If my wife and folks are there, I’m home.

And that still didn’t give my mom the singular credit for helping develop big parts of who I am.

I guess it will have to keep for another day.

The trite thing to finish with is the declaration that I’ll write another column like this when I hit No. 200.

It’s a silly thing to do. I may not be here to write it and you may not be there to read it.

So instead, here’s my wish after 100 columns; may whatever lies ahead ultimately turn out right for all of us.

 

• • •

 

We’ll close this 100th column with a nod to two of my friends.

For reasons I described earlier, they won’t be named.

Both are facing unimaginable challenges with good humour and a stiff upper lip, to use an old expression.

In their quietest moments it can’t be as easy.

If it was in my power to help -- and it isn’t in either case -- they would be at the front of my list.

Here’s wishing the best of everything for two great people.

Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Brandon

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