Moving on with lots of memories

Penticton Western News reporter Simone Blais is moving on to a new career after many years as a journalist.

Simone Blais is a reporter for the Penticton Western News

Simone Blais is a reporter for the Penticton Western News

They say nowadays people change careers every seven years. Evidently I’m long overdue.

At the end of Friday, I will join the ranks of those who call themselves recovering journalists. I count my blessings that I have been fortunate enough to carve out such a career in newspapers. It truly has been a great ride.

So many of you have offered me kind and encouraging words in the last two weeks, congratulating me on assuming the communications position for the City of Penticton. To them I offer my thanks; the vote of confidence is greatly appreciated.

I suppose there is always someone who rains on the proverbial parade, so perhaps I should have steeled myself upon hearing a question about whether there was more to my relationship with the city than what appeared on the pages of this newspaper.

This is foreign territory for me; 14 years have gone by without one question about my motivation. Perhaps they don’t understand how often journalists shift over to communications, which most regard as a natural progression.

Rather than let something smolder, perhaps it’s best to douse the innuendo before it picks up steam. I would not have written one single story differently since my arrival in August. Throughout my career, I’ve been pretty stubborn about reporting news that is balanced and fair, and was never willing to budge on those points. That meant immediately absenting myself from covering City Hall, to avoid any real or perceived conflicts.

Being part of the fifth estate is a great responsibility, and I always worked incredibly hard to live up to reader expectations.

Nora Ephron wrote an essay called Journalism: A Love Story, and explained in an interview that there was no better profession for those who are young. You get access to high-profile politicians, business leaders and inspirational figures, and nothing beats the rush when it is all shiny and new.

The years tick on, though. For each uplifting story you write, five appear with heavy loads to bear. Things like cancer, accidents and needless violence claim so many, and I have too often found myself holding the hands of bereaved family members while lending an ear to the pain. Their loss permeates the soul, and to this day, I carry them with me wherever I go.

I hope you all understand my quiet dismay when I heard how a select, misinformed few took the news of my departure. This change is not about some nefarious collusion or hijacking editorial neutrality.

It is about what awaits me at home at the end of the day: three other mouths that need feeding. Two mouths are small — apart from their growing appetites. One of those mouths will likely need braces. And each one deserves as much of my heart that I can afford to give.

Journalism and I have had a wonderful love story; but for now, the narrative must change.

I offer thanks to you all for reading my work and look forward to having our paths crossing again as the next tale unfolds.

Simone Blais is a reporter at the Penticton Western News  whose last day is Friday.

Just Posted

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Rune on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read