17 years at The Times have gone by far too quickly

Despite many technological changes, the work we do is very important for our community.

It is with both a sense of sadness and excitement that I pass on the news that I will be retiring from my position as Times editor at the end of this month.

I have held this position for almost 17 years — far longer than I had initially anticipated. There are two reasons — the terrific people I work with at The Times, and all the amazing people in Langley whom we are privileged to write about and photograph each week.

The community newspaper business is very different from most media businesses. Our job is to present news and information to our readers which helps them get to know this community and its goings-on,. Most is information that is just not easily available to them elsewhere.

Some people think there is no need for  print media any longer, given the advances in technology. There is no shortage of information on the internet, and it is easier than ever to get at, with new mobile devices coming out all the time.

However, I challenge them to check out what they can find out about Langley — particularly day-to-day news and community information — without trolling through a massive  number of websites,  perhaps picking up one or two items on each.

The simple reason is that Google, Facebook, Twitter and the others can’t really be bothered with Langley.

The same mostly holds true for the traditional media. Most of the “local”

outlets are based in Vancouver. There are no radio stations closer than downtown Vancouver (CJJC is long gone from Langley), and TV stations have their limitations.

There are some talented Langley residents doing great jobs at larger media outlets, notably Michele Brunoro of CTV News and Ted Field of Global BC. Yet there is only so much Langley coverage they can do. They have other fish to fry.

The Times is a great one-stop source of local information — online  and in print. In addition to news, community, sports and entertainment coverage, there are notices about community events, plenty of local advertising and more information than any one of us can possibly absorb.

Long before the internet was a factor, this held true for community newspapers and it still does. The biggest difference is that our content is now updated far more frequently, is shared via Facebook and Twitter and is easily available to anyone across the world with an interest in Langley.

A letter to the editor about a Langley RCMP officer who stopped to have “circle time” on a Murrayville street reached more than 160,000 people via our Facebook page last week, and many more saw it via The Times’ website.

The work Times’ staff do is evolving and changing as new methods of communication are developed. However, I am very positive that the editorial staff members, very committed to gathering news about this community, will continue to do a great job for readers. They’ll be backed up by publisher Jean Hincks and all the other people (including our carriers) who make this newspaper the “go-to” source for information.

It’s been a privilege to be involved in that work. I look forward to continuing my commitment to this community.