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If you've got something nice to say...

It shouldn't be surprising that journalism is a pretty thankless job, but there are people out there who make it better
Marc Kitteringham's little book of nice things people have said to him.

It shouldn't be surprising that journalism feels like a pretty thankless job.

Starting from the top, there is the whole idea that the "media" is this big terrible monolith that is definitely out to get and ruin the lives of everyone. Anytime people even casually have a throwaway comment about how bad the "media" is I get a bad taste in my mouth, since almost all of the people I have met and work with in the media are actually super kind and dedicated to making their communities a better place. Then there are politicians and other influential people at all levels who deride the "media," which just perpetuates the same cycle. 

As thankless as journalism feels, there definitely are a bunch of people out there who are truly thankful for what we do. The rest of this column is going to be about them.

I have worked in journalism since 2017 when I started on Salt Spring Island. I moved up to Campbell River in 2020, and since August of that year, I've kept a little black notebook on my desk. Every time I get some good feedback from someone about a story I've written, a column I've published or even just some of the work I've done in the community I write it down. This little 60-page booklet is almost full (I've been writing very small) and every time I feel a bit down I'll flip to a random page and get a little hit of appreciation.

I'll give some examples. but I won't name any names because the people here didn't agree to me sharing their names.

For example, after I wrote about getting evicted back in 2020, someone wrote that "your story is one that is far too common, I wish you all the luck in finding a safe place to call home."

In November, in response to a story I wrote about creating a civilian climate corps in 2021, someone wrote that it "spoke volumes of common sense," and that it "is worth of serious consideration and represents a call to action by all levels of government ... please convey my thanks to Mr. Kitteringham for raising the banner of hope for a better future."

I get some feedback in person too, and while I don't often get the words down verbatim, some of the real conversations I have are the most impactful ones. For example, at an event I was told that someone "wishes there were more people like you," and that "I don't always get the Mirror, but when I do I look for you."

Another favourite is "I don't want to miss a chance to tell you have much your progressive viewpoint is important to this town. It may sometimes feel like a lone voice, but we love to hear it."

Then, from who might be my biggest fan, I got a letter on Feb. 8, 2023 saying that the person enjoys my columns, and that they "think you are destined for great things, and expect to see you nationally soon."

While I don't expect to get on the national stage any time soon, I appreciate the thought!

I'm not sure what the future holds. All I know is that journalists, like me, are just trying to do the best they can for their community. They want to give the people the information they need in order to make their community the best place it can be. A lot of times, it feels pretty thankless. But every now and again, I'm proven wrong.

This is a pretty timely column for me too, as it is a way for me to introduce myself to the Comox Valley. Though I've lived here for years, I am starting as an interim reporter with the Comox Valley Record and will be making the full transition to this paper very soon. Starting at a new community takes a bit of learning, but I'm looking forward to getting to know the people of Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland and the surrounding areas and doing what I can to make

Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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