By Dosi Cotroneo
It is a sad day indeed when one must face one’s fate, albeit, reluctantly, unhappily, and helplessly. In this age of “downsizing”, “corporate takeovers”, and “restructuring”, I thought I was one of the lucky ones who would grow old and gray sitting at my laptop bashing out yet another community news story. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
The phone call arrived at exactly 11:14 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10 and although I had been expecting it, the ever-positive, ever-hopeful, ever-naïve part of me refused to believe it. Oh sure, the entire EMC Ottawa newsroom had been wiped out in recent weeks, due to a big corporate buy out, but I truly believed, down to my core, that the fact that I had been “the village reporter” for over a decade, I would be immune to any changes.
Why, I was one of the pioneers among my peers, at least as far as I was concerned. I had the luxury of working from the comfort of home, as a contract employee; certainly this meant I would not be affected. I was the face of my small historic town community newspaper, a trusted voice, a smiling face, that would show up at every possible community event, regardless of size or stature. In my books, the community newspaper belonged to the residents of the community and I never saw past that. I was simply the messenger, in the guise of a scribe, relaying the opinions of young or old, from kindergarten students excited at their first opportunity to have their photo appear in the newspaper, to the Mayor coming to town for a milestone event. Big or small, I took pride in being there. I loved hustling my way through the crowds (even if there were only five or five hundred residents in attendance), camera in tow, pencil over my ear, reporter pad in hand, ready to scoop a quote, always on the lookout for the next “news breaking” story.
This was no easy feat in the sleepy rural towns of South Ottawa. At times, the latest breaking story had to do with a broken water main, a traffic situation, or a championship high school sports event. I felt like Lois Lane, when at the very first sound of sirens, I was off and running, chasing some emergency vehicle, hoping to arrive on the scene of an exciting news story. Sadly, there were too many times where I found myself at the scene of a fatal crash, where the community lost one of their beloved young residents. These stories were the most
difficult to write, yet they deserved a voice and had to be told, regardless of emotion.
As hard as it is for me to imagine myself doing anything else but write, I have no choice but to look ahead. A wise man once said, “when one door closes, another opens” and maybe it was his brother that said, “variety is the spice of life.” With these positive words in mind, I am excited at what the future holds, what the next door will open up to, and how I must embrace and not fear it.
Perhaps it was a woman who once said, “the only constant in life is change.” Perhaps I will soon find myself immersed in some new-found line of work, where the pay is handsome, the hours pass quickly, and I look forward to every shift. Yes, perhaps I will find myself arranging soft, supple, aromatic Italian leather stilettos from pumps to sandals, boot to loafers, purses and wallets, in large store windows, ready to wait on my next customer. Perhaps I will be offered an enormous employee discount, and perhaps I can spend all of my waking
hours arranging shoes, trying on shoes, recommending shoes, purchasing shoes, hiding shoes, and finally, writing about shoes. Yes, perhaps.
In the meantime, I’m truly grateful for being a part of this community newspaper – Il Postino. Thanks Marcus.