This column, the 128th that I’ve written for the Prince Albert Daily Herald, will also be the last.
Your new editor, Darryl Mills, took the reins today and agreed to give me a chance to say goodbye.
Two months ago I marked my 25th anniversary working at a daily newspaper. I have been worn down by the daily grind, but it’s not the key factor in my finding a new job.
I’ve written often, and recently, about how little time we truly have and I’m acutely aware of that fact. At 48, I want to try other things.
Since you may hear different versions of the story surrounding my departure, here’s what happened.
In June, I was informally offered a job in Winnipeg and told the Daily Herald’s owners about it, suggesting they begin a search for my replacement. I offered to stay until that person arrived.
A couple of days later, the person I was replacing in Winnipeg changed their mind, leaving me in a bad spot.
I had a brief romance with another Manitoba employer before accepting a job in Saskatoon.
We had hoped to move closer to home but the Saskatoon opportunity was just too amazing to pass up. It offers me an opportunity to flex a different creative muscle.
It will be a new chapter in my remarkably lucky life.
I will always be thankful for my time here in Prince Albert. I’ve grown as a person and a journalist and that’s given me the confidence to try something I might not have considered even three years ago.
I’ve chronicled here before about how people warned me not to come to Prince Albert but it quickly became home. Trust me when I say that you’ll be sending an enthusiastic ambassador out into the world.
While I’ve had my fair share of grumpy phone calls, that’s not what I’ll choose to remember. Instead, I’ll smile thinking about the people who would come up to me and ask if I was Perry.
When I told them I was, they would invariably tell me how much they enjoyed the paper. And I would always tell them what a terrific group of people I had doing the writing.
That’s the group that Darryl inherits.
He comes to the job with a wealth of experience in Alberta. While I’m not sure he’ll be foolhardy enough to walk around town in a Blue Bombers shirt like I did on multiple occasions, I trust your next Manitoba editor will never succumb to Rider Pride either. (At least that will be my advice. And yes, I know the score of last Thursday’s game.)
He will take time to grow into this job -- we all do -- but Darryl will succeed. Please give him the same chance to flourish that you gave me.
And please make him feel as welcome in Prince Albert as you did with me 30 months ago.
I leave with no regrets.
While there are things that I could have done differently, I would rather dwell on the positives. I worked as hard as I could with a great team to put out an interesting community paper, all the while battling a bully in the city. We were alone in fighting that battle with honour and the community’s interests in mind; I’m satisfied with the result.
I’ve had a special relationship with everybody who has written for the Daily Herald but I want to start by singling out two because they were here for almost the whole time I was.
Dave Leaderhouse briefly held my job before I arrived and helped me to settle in. He worked incredibly hard bringing our sports coverage back to life and I was forever grateful for his contributions.
He also left the Daily Herald recently to do other things, and we miss him on a daily basis.
I have a good friend in Dave.
And secondly, Tyler Clarke made me look really smart every day.
He never slowed down, knocking off three or four stories a day, always in good humour.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times someone would come up to me or write me an email that told me how impressed they were with him. I always agreed.
He was one of the many talented people I’ve worked with here during the last couple of years.
The current newsroom is a prime example.
Matt Gardner is a pure writer who spins every story into gold. Jodi Schellenberg is our farm girl with the big laugh and the sensational work ethic.
Andrew Schopp is the soft-spoken sportswriter with a flair for deadline stories. He was recently joined in the department by hometown product Kristen McEwen, who interned here a couple of summers ago while in university.
Other interns over the last couple of years included Braden Dupuis, Kevin Hampton, Eric Bell, Derek Cornet and Jason Kerr.
The full-time staff who moved on include Keely Dakin, Ian Cowie and Alex DiPietro.
Former group publisher Rob Clark, publisher John Morash, former advertising director Mitzi Munro, IT superstar Terry Munro and Circulation boss Lorraine Brassard were all incredibly helpful in my time here.
It’s a small close-knit building so everyone who works here will be missed.
I’m not going to start naming people in the community because I would have to omit too many to allow the column to fit the space. Let me say instead that I came upon a great many folks in this city who offered me their friendship and support and none of them will be forgotten.
I’m not a big guy for goodbyes so we didn’t advertise my departure. John Morash asked about doing something special and I begged him not to.
I’m a guy who likes to slip out the side door when nobody’s looking. Forgive me for that if you’re upset that I didn’t say goodbye in person.
Since we’re living in our house in the city until we sell it, I will be around for a while and I’m happy with that fact. This city made a profound impression on me.
When I started this job on Feb. 27, 2012, I was worried but I looked at it as a grand adventure.
It paid off in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
I made the choice early on not to name my beautiful wife in the column because I wanted her to have some privacy. But Mrs. Bergson -- her first name is Maria -- would also like to thank the people she met here who were so kind when we were invited to functions.
The citizen of the year ceremony in February when we were led in by a piper and sat at the front table stands out. We got home that night saying it was something that would never happen again so we truly appreciate the one time that it did.
I’ll end this column nearly the same way that I finished the first one on March 5, 2012. Just one word changes.
Goodbye Prince Albert.
Perry Bergson was the Daily Herald’s managing editor. Darryl Mills can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 306-765-1302