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The Summer of My Amazing Luck

August 11, 2009

I call today’s post that because that’s how I feel.

(Plus it’s the title of a book I’ve never read by an author I find interesting, so it naturally popped into my head.)

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I feel truly lucky to be getting paid to write stories this summer at the Edmonton Journal. And not just any stories, but things thousands of people read and scrutinize. And not just in any time and place, but in one of the most difficult economic climates for journalists and in a truly interesting city.

Journal writer Jamie Hall often says we have one of the best jobs in the world.

One of the great pleasures of this summer has been to work with truly amazing people who do very important work. I’m lucky enough to get to bounce stuff off of them and learn from them. I’m also amazed and hopeful when I see how some of my fellow reporters bring scrutiny to their respective fields.

Whether it’s the usual stunts pulled by Alberta Health or just the government in general, the real-life drama and dreariness of the courtroom, the environment beat, or the weird and wonderful world of Edmonton crime, these folks do amazing work.

I was especially impressed by David Staples’ 31-piece serialized work, “Web of Lies,” (here’s part one of 31!) on the Mayerthorpe RCMP tragedy and the subsequent sting to pull down Dennis Cheeseman and Shawn Hennessey. Better than fiction, handled with care, and raises all kinds of questions about what goes into murder.

Perhaps my favourite piece this summer has been Jodie Sinnema’s Father’s Day edition of “In their own words” which tells the story of how she lost her father at sea. It took real courage and vulnerability to write this piece. I’ve been fortunate enough to sit across from Jodie and see how she works hard to tell the crucial stories of the health care beat.

Like I say, I’m a lucky guy.

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